The key to constructive arguments is listening without assigning any blame or shame. This can be done by starting your sentences with I instead of You.
“Communicate how you feel using I-statements. It’s not your partner’s job to read your mind, guess what you’re thinking, or put words into your mouth. These are huge obstacles to open, honest communication and will guarantee resentment, anger, and frustration in the relationship.” — Sharon Rivkin, MA, MFT
8. Appreciate the fact that in any argument, both parties have some valid points.
Whenever we get into an argument, we get into a mindset of proving our point right instead of trying to understand our partner’s perspective. It is important to be open-minded and appreciate the fact that in any argument both the parties have some valid points.
“In order to strengthen your marriage, learn to recognize that most arguments have shared responsibility, that both people have valid points and valid reasons for their feelings.” — Kathy Morelli, LPC
9. Bring fairness back into your relationship
Sometimes we don’t realize that we act selfishly and forget to play fair in our relationships. It is important to be conscious of how we are behaving in our relationships and bring fairness back to the table.
“You may have forgotten about fairness, but now’s the time to bring it back into your relationship. Are you both being fair when it comes to divvying up chores, communicating your needs, expressing dissatisfaction, dealing with finances, parenting, and supporting one another? If not, how can you improve and bring fairness back to the relationship?” — Lisa Steadman, Dating and Relationship
10. Make the relationship your top priority
A relationship can only work if it is on the top of the priority list of both the partners.
“When other things become more important, such as careers, children, and personal pursuits, trouble sets in. Make the relationship with your top priority. When you do, the marriage flourishes.” — Cathy Meyer, CPC, MCC
11. Make your interactions pleasant and comforting
“If your spouse treats you with kindness, gentleness, patience and self-control, it’s easy for you to respond kindly. If you are treated badly, with anger, impatience, etc., it’s difficult to be nice in return. Focus on how you can be a blessing to your spouse and, in turn, you will be blessed and so will your marriage.” — Mack Har
12. Shift your focus to appreciation and let go of criticism or blame, both for yourself & for your partner.
Life can be really beautiful when you shift your focus from criticism to that of gratitude and appreciation.
“Focus on what there is to appreciate about your mate, then honestly and spontaneously express your specific appreciation to them. It’s also good to do this for yourself.” — Judith Joyce, Life Coach
13. Bring back the fine art of dating in your relationship.
“Setting aside a romantic evening on a regular basis can rekindle the magic of a long-term relationship. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just special time for the two of you to remember how and why you first fell in love.” — John Sovec, LMFT
14. Set aside time, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, to check in on your partner
Set aside exclusive time to check on your partner every day (even if it’s for 10 minutes). It will make your partner feel heard and connected.
“No talk about kids, schedules, etc. allowed.” — Mary Kay Aide, MS
15. The best investment for your marriage is to invest in yourself
“So many of my patients say the reason their marriage fell apart is that they became depressed and disinterested in their partner. If you keep working on you, your marriage will stay fresh and vital. Start today by adding a new wedding vow to your list: Promise to take care of yourself so you will continue to age with grace and confidence by your partner’s side.” — Mary Jo Rapini, LPC
16. Relationships are just our mirrors
Learn to appreciate your partner for the fact that your partner is just mirroring back to you, who you are and helping you to grow and evolve.