It can be so easy these days to lose our way chasing toddlers, doing dishes, worrying about how the next bill is going to get paid, keeping track of your teenager, making dinner, getting to work on time, sifting through the onslaught of information on social media, oh and don’t forget to set some time aside for self care too!!! ALL of these things and soooo much more consume our every day life and in the midst of all of this it can be EXTRA easy for misunderstandings to happen. Exhaustion sets in, patience wears thin, the days get away from us, you haven’t slept good in days, you’re feeling the stress and fights can just simply BUST out.
Arguments are inevitable in every relationship whether you have 1 child or 5 kids, live in suburbia or the hills, have a 4000 square foot house or live with your parents, and even if you have been married for one year or celebrating your 25th anniversary. No matter how much you love your partner, your soul mate, your companion, your best friend… You are still 2 different people with differing backgrounds and different opinions. There are bound to be times when ideas will be challenged, views will be different and your relationship will be tested.
Have you considered HOW you “fight” or confront these things that cause conflicts in your relationship? Believe it or not, you can still disagree, argue and even struggle within a conversation in an effective manner. In fact, we want to talk about some ways you can be intentional about these disagreements and manage conflict in a healthy way in your relationship.
Only Discuss One Disagreement at a Time: If you realize that you are going through a laundry list of items that are causing issues in your relationship, consider writing them down and discuss one thing at a time. Otherwise you are going to end up lost in a conversation with too many loose ends. Take it one step at a time and try to stay on topic. This will also help you to pin point what may actually be causing strife.
Try to Find the Root Issue: Usually we fight about the silliest of things that may not even be the cause of the argument. There is most like a bigger underlying issue at hand that continues to breed endless arguments. So, it is very important to evaluate before bringing something up by simply asking yourself “What exactly am I troubled with”.
When You Feel Yourself Getting Heated – Take a Break: Sometimes it is best to give yourself a break. Try to slow down, clear your mind, take some breaths and re group. Even if it is for 5 or 10 minutes, this is the best way to keep your emotions in check and hopefully prevent yourself from doing or saying something that you may regret later.
Pick a Time and a Place: If it seems like every little thing is causing a fight, tensions are high and communication is constantly misfiring… It may be time to set a specific time and place (preferably a private place) so that you can be prepared to connect and have a serious discussion about what is going on.
Try Your Best to Find a Solution: This doesn’t mean one conversation has to solve everything, but try your best to work towards a positive working solution with each argument. Even if you cannot settle it after all of your efforts, work together towards finding a resolution. This may mean you need some outside help for a different perspective and that is OK. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted source or do research together or even find a therapist that can present a completely unbiased opinion.
Don’t Insult or Name Call: When you do this, you are assaulting the character of your loved one and diminishing WHO they are instead of focusing on WHAT is happening to cause a problem. Let’s not dip down into the dirty trenches of calling someone lazy or stupid, when we can simply share with them “It bothers me when you _____” This addresses the behavior instead of their character.
Don’t Let it Drag on For Days at a Time: If you know that there is an issue that needs to be tackled, or someones feelings have gotten hurt, don’t let it stew for days on end. This will only cause it to become larger and larger and you may end up having multiple things to discuss verses addressing what is actually bothering you.
Try Not to Argue on an Empty Stomach: I know I know, this seems silly… but honestly being HANGRY is the worst time ever to decide to have one of these serious discussions. For the love of all that is holy, make sure you have eaten and also that you are well rested. You want to make the best effort to be your best self when tackling am issue with your loved one.
Don’t Play the Blame Game: At least not if you want to have a constructive conversation! This will likely place your partner on the defense and will then bring elements into the discussion that will cause a battle back and forth. You’ll be facing an opponent instead of a partner. Try to use phrases like “It feels like we are less important to you when your focus is on work instead of the family” instead of “You only care about your job and not about your family”.