Every couple will have disagreements. There will be arguments and problems in every relationship. The question isn’t will there but what will you do when there IS an argument. One of the ways that successful couples continue to be successful year after year is that they learn to argue and disagree fairly.
Here are several rules that you can use in your own relationships that will keep them from being damaged over time. Whether it’s a relationship with your mother, sister, boss or partner – these rules just WORK.
1. No Name Calling: Avoid any name calling, insults or put downs. Using swear words in the conversation, even when they aren’t aimed at the individual, can quickly cause the conversation to spiral downhill. It is important that you respect yourself and your partner – and name calling doesn’t indicate any kind of respect for anyone. There are rules in sports, at work, in polite society and even between friends. This is just one of those rules you should follow for a healthy relationship. The same goes true for raising your voice. No yelling when you aren’t name calling. Yelling only increases the level of anger in either your partner or yourself.
2. Don’t Blame. Blaming doesn’t accomplish anything positive. Instead, it causes your partner to become defensive, angry and will escalate any disagreement. Blaming won’t help either of you find a resolution to the problem. Your best option is to stay focused on the here and now; the problem at hand is big enough without blaming your partner for past wrongdoings. Focus on finding a solution to the issue and not finding fault.
3. Talk about yourself and not your partner. Be the expert of your own self and the expert of what your partner may or may not have done wrong. Analyze what you may have done wrong and how you could be better in your relationship instead of what your partner did wrong or could do to make it up to you. You don’t know what’s going on in your partner’s head, and unless you are willing to listen, you never will.
4. You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. Let your partner get out all of their injuries and hurt feelings. Once they do you should HEAR what they said so you can evaluate how you may have been a party to the problem and how you both can fix it together. Too often we are more concerned with getting out own thoughts and feelings heard and we don’t hear what the other person is actually saying. Stay present while they are talking. Don’t go into your head and plan your next point in the argument.
5. Time out works at any age. Any time you feel the conversation is getting out of control one or the other of you should call a time out. Go to your separate corners and cool off before returning for round two. When you have a cooler head, you’re better able to find a resolution than to damage the relationship.
6. NEVER get physical or forceful and don’t allow your partner to either. Anyone who gets physical during an argument is not a safe person to be around. If that person is you then it’s time to get professional help. Physical force has no place in any home.