Stopping couples arguing and fighting

Part 1, Part 2

Have you found lately that you’re struggling with arguments in your relationship?

Are you living with endless rows, shouting, stonewalling and that horrible sense of rejection?

Well, I’m here to help you to get to grips with what’s wrong. My aim is to show you how the two of you can resolve any future disagreements much quicker without inflicting all that pain.

If you're constantly angry with each other, chances are that you're too often feeling unhappy and anxious.

The anger that comes with bickering and arguing sometimes masks the sadness about things going awry. It also comes from the frustration of an old problem rearing it's ugly head yet again.

You or your partner may even question your compatibility. That is, unless you're one of these couples who always bicker and just take it as it comes.  

I’m hoping that the information here and on my other pages will equip you with ways to better communicate about why you become so 'passionate'.

More than anything, I want to reassure you that even though you argue, your relationship may actually be very strong - perhaps even because of the arguments!

Putting your arguments in perspective

If your relationship is really not a bed of roses right now, we better get it sorted...

  1. First of all, when you begin to focus on meeting each other’s essential emotional needs you’re much more likely to be able to ride the waves and calm things down. Have a look at my page on the Human Givens.
  2. Prof John Gottman has done loads of research into what makes a happy, long-lasting relationship or marriage*. According to him, the most important thing is that you have five positive experiences for every negative one. How can you bring that about?
  3. In addition, consider what you could be doing if you weren't arguing! What exciting things could you to do together, instead of wasting your time arguing about things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things?

Always the same pattern?

If you constantly argue, you’re likely to make the same communication mistakes over and over again.

I’m guessing that you’re blaming your partner and can't understand why he or she 'isn't getting it' and why things aren't getting any better.  I accept, though, that he or she may be to blame, but you do need to find another way to get your point heard.

If you continue to react and behave in the same way I’m afraid the outcome isn't going to change either.

You might also want to take a look at my page: Warning Signs of a Breakup.

All those arguments may have led you to consider ending your relationship or marriage.  If so, you might want to get a clearer picture of the situation, and find out for sure if your relationship or marriage has a chance of survival.  My Relationship or Marriage/Relationship Compatibility Test will help you to do just that.

If you suspect that your partner is going to leave you soon, I really want to help you to prepare yourself now, so do visit my page on How to Tempt Your Partner Back.

Alternatively, you can get immediate Confidential Professional Relationship Advice right from my site.

Now... back to how you can improve your communication and assert your points without causing a damaging row...

Things you can do to prepare for a 'good' argument

It helps if your partner knows in advance that you want to discuss something important, or something that you know would normally cause an argument. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Know what you want to achieve in the ideal circumstances
  • Consider alternative solutions or outcomes that you can live with
  • Read up on confirmation bias and attitude polarisation (see Wikipedia links below)
  • Work out beforehand what you want to say
  • Write it down if necessary
  • Think about how you are going to say it
  • Practise responding calmly to any potentially adverse reactions
  • Have a look at my page on Dealing with Criticism 
  • Know what you’re willing to give up – remember: it’s not about 'winning'
  • Make sure you don't have a difficult conversation when you have had some alcohol.

It can be really helpful to decide on a ‘reward’ for after the conversation. Plan something that you’re both looking forward to doing together.  

Conversations about difficult subjects are only a part of your relationship. You can nurture your marriage or relationship by planning new and rewarding activities. (Tip: a new activity increases the level of dopamine - a ‘feel-good’ hormone linked with excitement and energy.) And of course, pay your partner a compliment every day, remind them and yourself why he or she is so special!

If you know you need to talk about something important with your partner, and you think it might turn into a fight, then read on...

Below are some tips to help you have a constructive discussion without it disintegrating into a full-blown argument.

Set the scene for 'fair fighting'

  • Make sure that it’s a good time for both of you.  Couples can turn disagreements into fights simply by picking the wrong time to discuss something contentious
  • Give yourself the best chance of tackling the problems calmly by reading my page on Relationship Communication
  • Familiarise yourself with the importance of nonverbal communication
  • Make sure that you won’t be disturbed – turn off your phones, the TV and the radio etc. 
  • Establish ground rules before you start to ensure a 'fair fight' – for example, agree to stay calm and not to allow shouting, name calling or put-downs etc.
  • Agree to stop or take a break when you fear you are losing control
  • Set a time limit on the conversation - perhaps 20 - 30 minutes

You may not necessarily come to a conclusion, but if you've managed to have a respectful discussion then you’ve been successful.  I recommend that you agree on a time when you can build on your discussion to work out some agreement that would suit you both. 

Continue reading Part 2 for my top 10 tips on How to Stop Arguing...

Part 1, Part 2

Related articles

Free 3-Part Relationship Video Course
Are You Really Compatible?
Fear of Commitment
Pregnant but No Support from Partner
Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Is Your Partner Cheating on You?

References

*Gottman, J., Silver, N. What Makes Marriage Work? Psychology Today, 19 June 2012, via Psychology Today

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