You’re in the heat of the moment…you’ve told your partner three times over why they’re wrong and they still don’t get it. They need to listen to you and apologize because it is their responsibility to, right? Wrong. You love and respect your partner, so let’s talk about getting through an argument without fighting, because fighting is ugly. You have a beautiful relationship, so let’s keep it that way!
DO take a little pace around the house if you’re really angry or upset. Take some deep breaths and figure out why you are upset. Remind yourself you love him or her and you want to try to understand them. This doesn’t mean you have to, but you are reminding yourself to try.
DON’T start blasting them with your angry emotions, by yelling or sobbing. Throwing your emotions at your partner isn’t going to help them understand how you’re feeling; it will only confuse or upset them. Being too emotional will sabotage your attempt to communicate. Use your words instead.
DO think carefully about what you are trying to say. Remember that it’s ok to take long pauses to sort your feelings out or put your thoughts together in your mind, before speaking. When you talk, constantly keep your goal in mind. Your goal is to come to an agreement or even if you don’t agree, you want to respect and hear each others feelings out.
DON’T just start blabbing away if you don’t know what you’re feeling. Don’t belittle him or her. If you do that, you will start going in circles trying to find where you started. You will be confused and so will your love.
DO realize its fine to let go. You don’t have to stand you’re ground at all times. This is not a battle; its only a conversation so relax. Ask yourself what started this, why you feel the way you do and what the main core of your feelings really is. Dig deep. Are you angry about the thing that’s bothering you now, or is there something deeper, perhaps an unresolved issue still lingering? Things of the past can cause bitterness.
DON’T dig your heels in and refuse to be flexible. It isn’t fair to always cling to your opinion. Lighten up. Your argument is only going to be as serious as you choose to make it. Don’t complicate things for yourself.
DO take turns talking and listening. Its very important to show your partner the respect they deserve and they deserve to be able to speak. Don’t interrupt; give your full undivided attention. Really pay attention to what they’re trying to convey.
DON’T pretend to listen, but really be thinking of your next argument. This moment isn’t for you, its his or her turn to tell their feelings. You care, right? So listen to them.
DO keep your argument time to a limit. If you are both going in circles, then agree to disagree, or meet each other halfway. Don’t keep going on a negative coaster which will only drag you down if you keep going. Say what you need to say, respect each other’s views and give each other a hug.
DON’T keep the disagreement going on and on. If you need to, cut it short. Tell your partner you love them and don’t wish to argue. If they agree then stop but sometimes they still have things to say. This usually happens when they feel you don’t understand their side. So listen to what they have to say, tell them you love and respect the way they feel and will try to be more understanding. Then kiss, make up and agree on the fact you love each other.
Be sure you pick and choose the things you really want to get upset about carefully. You need to learn to let go of the things that really don’t matter. Life is short. Keep in mind the question, ‘Will this matter tomorrow? In a few days? In a week?’ If not, then you are frustrated over something that isn’t that big of a deal, so let it go. Life and love is about being happy and valuing the positive in your partner. As we go on in relationships and get comfortable, its easy to criticize. So the real solution is to condition yourself to remember what they truly mean to you. Kevin Bacon’s advice on marriage is, “Keep your fights clean and your sex dirty.” (imbd.com) I heartily agree.