Handling Arguments in Relationships
By Nnagoziem TheVyrus Udensi
Some people claim that arguments are “healthy in relationships” and others state that “you only argue with the people you love”. Whilst these have some truth to them, they are rationalizing the problem from an extrinsic source. The reason why someone would think that arguments are healthy in relationships is because they produce a profound spike of emotions. A heavy third of attraction is based around creating emotional spikes, and negative emotions in a relationship often seem better than neutral or passive emotions.
When someone refers to arguments being healthy, what they actually mean is that the emotional rollercoaster of feeling their partner cares and the bliss of the making-up period is conducive to the relationship as a whole. There are better ways of achieving this though and whilst a strong will and display of emotions is imperative to a long-lasting relationship, you want to always try to make them wholly positive emotions. You don’t have to argue to express your feelings or to have a ‘making-up’ period! As for only arguing with the people you love, this largely depends on an individual’s personality and general self-esteem. People who are largely dependent on their ego tend to argue more often to try and ‘prove their point’. Others may only argue with the ones they love, sometimes purely as an act of passion. Even if this is true, there are far better ways to show you love someone than by arguing with them!
Arguments can often feel like you are fighting a losing battle and that is because you simply cannot win an argument… or rather, if you do ‘win’, it is going to be a rather hollow victory, where your partner simply feels bad or upset, so try wherever possible to avoid any arguments in the first place. This takes effort from both people in the relationship so make sure your communication with your partner is sufficient. A great quote from Dale Carnegie is, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”
What he means by this is that even if you do quash your partner’s viewpoints with logic or authority, they will resent the outcome and not actually change their deep-rooted view anyway. Basically, it is impossible for two people to come out of an argument both feeling pleased. This is where an argument and a discussion vary in definition; an argument is a discussion with emotion or more specifically, negative emotion! The old cliché “let’s agree to disagree” is severely underrated and is generally the best course of action if a discussion is becoming heated and an argument seems unavoidable.
Give your partner enough space to voice his or her concerns.
I'm sure you hate it when people interrupt you; give your partner the same respect -- even if you don't agree with what they are saying.
Make an extra effort to really understand what you partner is trying to say.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know what they are saying, when in fact you may not have a clue. If your partner feels like you understand what they are saying, you'll find a way to end the argument far more quickly.
Don't say something you'll regret later.
Always consider your relationship like a glass. It is sturdy, tough, beautiful and clear when taken care of, but if it is mistreated or mishandled it can end up scratched, cracked or even broken. Take care in choosing the words you say when you are in the heat of the moment.
Don't bring in past woes.
The past is the past... let it stay there. If you dwell on past occurrences, you'll never find a solution for the future your partner will feel less loved and respected, and you will always feel negatively towards your partner. People make mistakes. Give your partner the chance to recover from them, and encourage and support them when they make the right choices.
Learn to compromise.
If you can learn to compromise, you'll find yourself in fewer disagreements. If you don't like something, then agree with your partner to find some middle ground. This also applies the other way. Be willing to come up with alternative solutions for things your partner doesn't like as well!
Realize that no matter what you say, you both may not agree on the issue at hand.
An argument is typically started because you want someone to agree with you about something. You think that the other person must not know all the facts, so you begin to explain it to them. The more your partner still disagrees with you, the more upset you usually get. But, if you realize that sometimes it is best to just let yourselves agree to disagree -- you'll show your partner that you not only respect their opinion, but respect their individuality as well. You never know, maybe later on they (or even you!) might change their mind.
Make a commitment to talk about the situation until it is handled.
It's far too easy to run off and avoid your partner, or give them the silent treatment. Instead, make a commitment right now to each other to respect each other enough to work it out -- even if it takes all night. Nothing is unsolvable when you are working together to truly find a peaceful resolution.
Make your relationship with your partner your first concern when you are in the middle of a disagreement.
This does not mean bend over backwards for them or compromise your integrity. Just keep in mind that the person you are arguing with is your best friend, lover and soul mate. If you both keep that at the forefront of your mind in an argument, it will keep what matters most away from cruel words or intent -- your heart!
Accept your upset and unsettled feelings.
In the wake of a serious argument, both of you are likely to feel anxious and fearful. Will you break up? Will things work out? Rather than becoming clingy, controlling or needy, just accept you both will feel a little bruised and tender after a fight. It's normal to feel upset and unsettled. The key is to simply ride out these feelings and behave normally. As you go on with your life together, the "leftovers" of this fight will fade away.
Analyze the cause of the fight honestly.
Once things are calmer, you should begin to analyze the root of the argument. Did you do anything to contribute to the initial argument or make it worse? Have you had this argument before or is it a new issue? Did you give in simply to have the fight end? Or did you find yourself doggedly defending your position even though you no longer wanted to? If you're revisiting a subject often and argue over it each time, you may need to accept that this issue could be a deal-breaker for you as a couple. However, if you realize after it's all over that the conflict was not very important, you can take steps to eliminate that as a future argument.
Initiate a conversation.
When both of you have cooled off, initiate a time to talk about what happened. Even if it's a brief discussion, this is the only way to move forward. Try to avoid doing this too soon after the argument because feelings still might be raw.
This does NOT mean you are admitting total wrongdoing in the argument, but it's likely you did something to contribute to it. If you apologize, it is highly likely that your spouse will apologize for her actions as well. This is a big step in moving forward. If he/she is not ready to forgive you or end the argument, let him/her know you'll be willing to talk to her whenever he/she's ready. Do not push for an immediate resolve or forgiveness. It will only make your spouse angry and prove to be counter-productive. Take comfort in the fact that he/she will very likely forgive and forget in due time.
Avoid that subject in the future.
If this argument does not come up frequently, then don't go looking for trouble. Once you've determined that you'll never agree on a certain subject, you need to simply accept that. If your spouse tries to bring it up, gently tell him/her that you don't want to have the discussion. All couples fight at some point, but having huge arguments on a consistent basis will ultimately destroy the relationship. Figure out ways as a couple to try and defuse arguments when they occur. Try to adopt a calmer and more thoughtful approach.
Finally, I leave you with one thought on preventing arguments. Let your partner know exactly when something upsets you. I've found that many people tend to not speak up when something bothers them, thinking that it is trivial to mention it. Unfortunately, what happens is after repeated times of not speaking up, some small occurrence happens and it ends up being the straw that broke the camel's back. The other partner, more often than not, has no clue what they are upset about and therefore thinks they are over-reacting. If you find yourself in this situation, deal with each thing as it happens. Don't let things build up until you explode.