5. Stop caring about ‘winning’.
When couples get into big arguments, their egos can get in the way of a resolution. Sometimes a dispute of minuscule proportions will continue for hours because each partner wants to ‘win’ the argument and prove the other person wrong. Of course, this only makes matters worse.
Remember, harsh fighting is a lose-lose scenario for a marriage. You will ultimately be happier if you back down or just agree to disagree. Trying to win the argument will only make reconciliation harder.
6. Watch your body language and tone.
Confrontations that become destructive are most frequently about triggering each other. Our brains often pay more attention to the nonverbal, tone, facial expression than the actual words. Shouting and screaming, an aggressive, standoffish stance or refusing to talk can do just as much damage as harsh words spoken. Sometimes, without even noticing, a person will raise their voice or have a belligerent tone.
Pay attention to how you hold yourself, and speak in a softer, calmer, and more neutral voice. Whatever the nature of the discussion, maintaining a friendly attitude will indicate that you do not want the argument to escalate.
Share and discuss these techniques with each other. The two of you will probably still get into arguments, but at least you will have a method for minimizing unnecessary escalations or insults and resolve it without lingering bad feelings.
Bringing empathy for your partner and curiosity towards their views and feelings will also go a long way. If you find that you keep engaging in repeated, negative patterns of fighting, professional guidance from a couple therapist is always available to get you on the right track.
I’m Dr. Marni Feuerman, a highly trained couple therapist in South Florida. If you and your partner need help with communication problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
No relationship is immune from friction and arguments, and neither should they be. When you argue with your partner once in a while, it means you still care about each other. But always work on handling and defusing your arguments in a healthy way, and make sure that no matter what happens, you never resort to ad hominem attacks. Your relationship does not depend on arguments; however, how you argue with each other can decide the fate of your relationship.