Arguments are a common part of relationships. No two people will always agree about everything. It is normal for partners to occasionally experience anger or dissatisfaction when things are not going their way. However, when arguments happen frequently, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of repetitive behavior. Avoid creating a negative pattern with your loved ones by following these 7 tips.
- Express Your Feelings When You are not Angry.
If something about your partner’s behavior bothers you, speak up. When feelings build into anger, an argument is sure to follow. Continually worrying over a problem in your mind is likely to exaggerate your feelings. Whether you have been upset over an incident for days or weeks, your partner has no way to know unless you express how you feel through productive conversation.
Maintaining control over your emotions makes the difference between a discussion and an argument. When a situation floods your body with stress, you will quickly become unable to maintain control which can lead to yelling or insults. If you are the type to anger quickly, consider telling your partner you need a time-out before your temper takes control. Walking away to get your emotions under control is a benefit to both partners.
- Always Avoid Abuse
Verbal or physical abuse should never take place in any relationship. Do not engage in any type of violence. Abuse comes in many forms and shouldn’t be tolerated. Violence may occur in the form of verbal threats or insults, damage to property, or physical harm. Refrain from slamming doors throwing things, or violent displays of temper. Never hit or kick your partner. Do not threaten violence even if you do not intend to follow through.
If either partner becomes this angry during an argument, it is time to leave until things cool down. Fear should never be used as a way to maintain a relationship. Anytime bodily harm occurs, file a police report. If you plan to stay in a relationship where physical abuse has taken place, both partners should immediately seek therapy. Boundaries must be established to ensure violence does not become a pattern.
- Don’t Make Ultimatums
Arguments happen. Most arguments are not a reason to end a relationship. During a heated argument, it is easy to say things you don’t mean. Threatening your relationship each time something goes wrong can undermine the importance of your true feelings. It is also a method of control to force your partner to cave to your desires.
Both partners must be comfortable with the fact that every discussion does not mean the relationship is crumbling. Constantly worrying about the uncertainty of the future can lead to anxiety and depression which further erodes relationships. A strong relationship means both partners are thinking of a future together.
- Avoid Criticizing Your Partner
Critical comments quickly dissolve a constructive discussion into a fault-finding argument. Criticism is an attack on your partner which suggests the problem is their character instead of the current conflict. Do not allow your anger to build into critical feelings about the one you love. Aggressive language can cause long-term damage even if neither partner truly means it.
Critical comments often lead to rehashing past differences. It is important to leave the past where it is. Bringing up old arguments shows you are still harboring resentment or unresolved feelings. Making your partner feel like you have been angry for a long period of time can cast doubt on the strength of your relationship. Love does not mean that both partners must always have the same opinions. Celebrate each other’s differences.
- Don’t Interrupt
Interrupting your partner is a signal that you are not really listening. When you are forming rapid-fire responses, you are not able to give your full attention to your partner’s feelings. Taking the time to really listen to the issue can show you the true nature of the problem. Additionally, interruptions can control what someone else is saying. If one partner always steps in to control the conversation, the true conflicts cannot be resolved.
Don’t take advantage of this rule. When you have made your point, be quiet. Repeating the same complaints can be counter-productive and hurtful. If you must have the last word, make it an apology.
- Seek Another Opinion
If arguments are occurring regularly, and neither partner knows how to break the cycle, it is time to seek help. An impartial observer can see the whole relationship and help both partners learn coping skills for better conversation. Often when months or years of resentment are allowed to build, couples cannot see the real conflicts and emotions that are holding them back. A certified counselor can help to guide relationships back onto the right track. View here to see some professional therapy options.
Learning to apologize can be the most useful tool in ending an argument and avoiding future ones.
A true apology takes more than saying the words “I’m sorry.” It’s easy to apologize in a condescending way that suggests your partner’s feelings were misguided. However, when you take responsibility for your hurtful actions, defenses are lowered, and new trust is built.
When your partner is the one to make the apology, accept it so you can both move on. It is important for both partners to understand that mistakes are forgivable. Holding on to the past is a sure way to breed future arguments.
Relationship, communication, and conflict habits are shaped by many factors. Everyone learns from the environment they were in as a child. Participating in any long-term relationship molds the way partners communicate with each other and the roles they conform to. Don’t fall into a negative pattern because you haven’t tried new methods. It is important to question the negative consequences of repeated problem behavior and learn to create new strategies to improve present relationships.