Couples fighting - how to stop the rows

Part 1, Part 2

In the first part of this article we looked at ways to stop the arguments and fights in a couple relationship. I so want you to be able to restore the balance to your relationship, so here are some ways to help you get started with that.


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10 tips that stop couples arguing

Couple relaxed listening to each other
  1. Invite your partner to help you to both get the best out of the ‘chat’
  2. Give your partner plenty of time to express him or herself
  3. Avoid interrupting at all costs!  Interrupting your partner is sure to lead to an argument
  4. Listen out for underlying emotional needs that haven’t been met.  When you’ve been married or in a relationship for some time, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the fact that you both need to have your essential emotional needs met in balance
  5. Ask questions in a neutral tone of voice and avoid making assumptions
  6. Remember: listening does not imply that you’re agreeing!
  7. Repeat what you think you’ve heard in your own words
  8. Summarise to check that you have understood as much as possible
  9. Ask how the other’s solution will solve the problem without arguments
  10. Ask and ensure that the person allows you to do the same - offer solutions that will prevent you arguing as a couple

Listen Carefully... L.O.V.E.

Learn – in order to learn, listen

Observe – observe the other person's body language

Verify – clarify information

Empathise – Keep your heart open at all times*

Are you absolutely sure you're right?

Of course you're absolutely sure you're right!

But are you really?

Just watch this video - you'll be shocked and amazed...

Stop arguing and focus on finding a positive solution

  • Be specific and focus on a particular issue. Don’t drift into other issues as this will just complicate the matter at hand
  • Don’t confuse things by talking about other people and events
  • If you really need to refer to associated events then be brief!
  • Refer to only a couple of examples of those events to illustrate your point if necessary
  • Turn complaints into wishes. This is one of the best ways to stop disagreements turning into fights
  • Talk about how you can each contribute to a positive outcome (each of you can make a choice about what you can do to help)
  • Accept that sometimes you’re not going to agree. There’s no point in repeating the same arguments
  • As a couple it’s so important to learn to compromise.  Learn to enjoy giving - without a direct expectation for something in return - rather than controlling
  • Surprise and spoil your partner every now and then - with a special meal, a gift or a little love note tucked in a pocket or bag
  • Refrain from communication spoilers (see my page: Anger Management Tips)

How to compromise and stop arguments

  • Firstly, ensure you both have equal time to explain your points of view (this is a ground rule!)
  • Accept that you can’t have it all your own way
  • Say what you’re willing to give up
  • Brainstorm together for ideas neither of you had even considered - make it fun and who knows what you can come up with!

How to conclude the negotiations

  • Confirm what each of you is responsible for to ensure a successful outcome
  • Discuss the best way to remind each other of agreements, without pressure and arguments 
  • Be clear together what the consequences are for non-committal
  • Set a date and time when you can ‘revisit’ the subject (I call it a ‘board meeting' when I work with couples)

Not a good time to discuss anything

There are times when it’s just not a good idea to discuss anything contentious, and these are when:

  • one or both of you are under the influence of alcohol - an absolute 'no, no'
  • one or both of you are about to go out
  • you’re driving
  • there are other people around
  • your children can overhear (though they need not be protected from well-argued disagreements!) Find out the do's and don'ts on my page Children In The Middle of Conflict
  • you’re tired, hungry or ill
  • you feel particularly stressed
  • it’s a 'special' days (birthdays, Christmas, etc) - the memory of a negative event is likely to hang around much longer
  • you really already know that there is a better time!

Time to seek help?

If the fights and the arguments are consuming your whole relationship, it might be time to seek some help. Carry on reading for advice on finding help to stop the arguing.

Alternatively, think about taking a relationship test to see what's really going wrong and what your next step should be.

Are you both constantly angry?

Sometimes it’s difficult to reach a compromise. In this instance, the person who is not as affected by the issue at hand can choose to ‘invest’ in the relationship. He or she can let their partner ‘have it their way’. They may lose the battle, but in turn this may win the war and help to save the marriage or relationship.

If the two of you define yourselves as a constantly angry couple, it’s probably time to seek some help. Counselling can really help you gain some perspective, and also learn strategies to stop you arguing so much.

Or if counselling doesn’t appeal to you, check out my page How to Save Your Marriage/Relationship where you'll find my review of Dr Lee Baucom's method. Trust me when I say it helps to stop questioning your relationship compatibility and truly commit yourself.

Is it time to end the relationship?

Maybe you’ve been thinking about ending your relationship.  Maybe you’re worried that you won't be able to carry on and that things will never change.

Just to reassure you – I’ve seen plenty of couples go through those stages and come out the other end - with or without help.  It can be really worthwhile to just hang on in there, when you really love your partner. The bad times don’t have to last for ever.

Of course, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you really need to consider very carefully what you’re getting out of it, and whether it’s perhaps time to leave.

two arguing birds

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Related Articles

How to Apologise Gracefully
How to Spot the Warning Signs of a Break-up
How to Deal with Criticism without Losing Your Temper
Take These Steps to Improve Your Communication Skills
How to Deal with A Birth Trauma
How to End a Relationship
How to Overcome Your Anger Problems

Part 1, Part 2

References

*British Association of Anger Management. Anger Management Therapy: Keep Your Cool Kit. Via BAAM

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Elly Prior

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