After the honeymoon faze is over, and especially after you’ve moved in with each other, unless you’re dating a clone (highly unadvisable), some issues will cause you to disagree.
Generally speaking, it’s the small stuff that can lead to big arguments; fighting over whose turn it is to do the dishes, pay the electrical bill, clean the toilet, and feed the dog. Of course, sometimes there are big things to fight about too: like how to handle the in-laws, how to balance time spent at the office and time spent with your partner, how to conquer past relationships, and how to work through current ones forming outside the partnership. While most people would rather drive a knife through their hand than sit down with their partner and have a real conversation every time they disagree, working through issues together can actually strengthen your relationship.
But first you have to survive the fight.
In order to help you navigate your way to make-up instead of break-up, here are 5 great techniques to defuse an argument that is getting out of control:
1. Get to the root of the argument
The worse thing any couple can do is argue in circles; circles have no end and neither will your conversation. Take the time to get to the root of what’s really going on. The best way to do this is to separate for a while and focus on what is really bothering you. Write down what you’re angry about and then re-read what you’ve put on paper. If you find yourself rambling in run-on sentences, chances are good your partner will have a tough time figuring out what exactly you’re trying to say. Find the link between your frustrations so you can target the issue that needs addressing and discuss that with your significant other instead of overloading them with fringe.
2. Listen to what your partner has to say
As tempting as it may be to jump in when your partner is talking, it is vital that you let them finish what they have to say. Not only does this help maintain respect between the parties involved, it also allows each person to fully express themselves. Women in particular need to feel as if what they are saying is actually being heard. Don’t just shake your head in dismissal and then strike to make your next point. It is important for each person to listen to and address the concerns of their partner. Then and only then, can you work together to quell concerns or solve problems that arise.
3. Don’t make things personal
Avoid directing personal attacks at your partner. Keep in mind who you’re talking to at all times; after all, this is someone you are hoping to build a future with and the last thing you want is a rocky foundation. While it can be difficult at times to avoid hurtful statements when things get hot, avoid saying things that either of you will regret later on. Once you’ve made up and you find yourself head over heels in love again, you’ll be happy you did.
4. Remain in the present
For the same reasons it is important to avoid personal attacks during a fight, it is vital that you and your partner avoid generalizations, and stay in the present. Too often couples choose to address one argument by bringing up another, making sweeping statements that bring up past arguments, past relationships or past fights that have little to nothing to do with the issue at hand. If the root cause of the argument continues to repeat itself, maybe it’s time to reconsider your long term compatibility instead of rehashing the same fight time and time, and time again.
5. Don’t walk away
The best advice any couple can get is never ever go to bed angry. It may sound cliché but in all honesty, some clichés exist for a reason and this is one of them. The point here is that no matter how frustrated you get with your partner, do not walk away from an argument and leave things unresolved. The process may be tiring and at some point you may want to start throwing inanimate objects around the room or scream into a pillow just to let off some steam.
Scream if you have to, punch a wall if you really must or stomp around the apartment just to sound mad, but make a point of sitting back down and working things out.
If you’re struggling to stay involved in an argument that has no foreseeable end in sight, just remember that the end really does justifies the means, and sometimes having a reason to make-up can make the whole fight worthwhile.