You and your special someone are out together enjoying good food or a concert. Sounds blissful, right? Not so much if an arguments breaks out between the two of you. A date can quickly be ruined when one of you unintentionally offends the other one or you disagree about an important issue. If the conflict isn’t resolved in a satisfying manner, your relationship might be in jeopardy too!
Arguments happen in just about every love relationship or marriage. If you expect to never bicker with your partner this is not only unrealistic, it’ll set you up for tension and pain.
Some people do anything and everything they can to avoid any form of conflict in their relationship. This puts a lot of strain on you to always say “yes” and put on a happy face when inside you feel otherwise. It also puts a lot of strain on relationship trust and connection. Those annoyances, irritations and disagreements don’t magically disappear. When you push down your true feelings and opinions, you build up resentment and distance– lots of distance.
Of course, constant and nasty quarreling will also put strain on your relationship, especially if the way you each communicate when you argue fuels the negativity and angry emotions.
The very best way to keep your relationship healthy, loving and close is to acknowledge the disagreement and address it. Find a way to resolve the argument before it can grow bigger and out of control.
DON’T be passive aggressive.
SITUATION: You and your partner are at odds about whether or not to purchase a new car together. This would be a big step and you need to pool your money to make it happen. After many heated conversations, you still don’t agree and so you turn to quieter, passive aggressive tactics. You “show” your partner how strongly you feel by refusing to bathe or brush your teeth. This is your way of sending the message that you’re not pleased and won’t give up what you want.
EFFECT: Still no decision on the new car and you’ve put even more distance between the two of you. Be honest about how you feel and your plan for moving forward in ways that your partner can hear. No game playing or manipulation is necessary.
DO see beyond your “side.”
SITUATION: What to do with free time is a tense topic in your relationship. You and your partner both have jobs that keep you plenty busy and when there’s a window of available time, you want to spend it together. Your partner loves you and wants to be with you, but treasures alone time too. You feel angry, hurt and unimportant while your partner feels defensive, resentful and smothered. Neither of you will budge from your “side” on this argument.
EFFECT: Zero communication is going on. When you each refuse to listen and try to understand where the other one is coming from, you’re going to remain far apart and with no resolution. You’ll also waste precious time that could be spent together and alone. Make a shift and start seeing your partner as on the same “team” as you. Meet the challenge and find an answer that works for you both– together.
DO literally listen.
SITUATION: Your partner isn’t as emotionally available as you’d like and this drives you crazy. You want to talk feelings, hopes and dreams and it seems that your partner does not and so you resort to analyzing and guessing. This leads to frequent misunderstandings, worry and arguments.
EFFECT: You aren’t any closer to knowing your partner’s feelings, hopes and dreams or getting him or her to open up to you. This type of difference can be frustrating but making up stories to fill in the blanks doesn’t help. When your partner does talk to you (even if it’s not about emotions), literally listen. Slow down your mind and ask yourself, “What are the literal words being communicated here?” Ask questions from a place of curiosity if you’re confused or want to know more.
Have the courage to notice the ways that you react when a disagreement comes up. What pushes your partner further away from you and inflames the argument even more? Which of your words and behaviors allow you to communicate about what you want AND consider what your partner has to say too? Self-observe and try some new ways of responding when an argument erupts.
Ultimately, look for the best solution instead of focusing on whether you’re “losing” or “winning.”