Are you wondering how to stop fighting with your partner? Has the frequency and the intensity of your fighting grown over time? Do you want to end all your relationship troubles, so that you can find your way back to each other?
Conflict. We all have it.
We get angry with our mothers, our friends, our bosses, and our kids. It is our partners, those we have chosen to love and cherish for a lifetime, with whom we seem to get the angriest. And this conflict, this anger, with our partners can be very destructive and get in the way of living the life of our dreams.
There are ways to get through conflict, however, and it is way easier than one would think.
1. Carefully choose the time to talk.
This is key.
If you talk to your partner when you are angry you will say things that you might not mean and end up contributing to your relationship troubles. Words said in the heat of the moment tend to cause a lot of pain and are not necessarily accurate.
Try to wait at least 2 hours after an argument, before speaking up. This will give you the chance to calm down and speak more clearly. If you can talk calmly about exactly what you are upset about, then you will be more likely to be able to work it out and not let the quarrel escalate.
Also, don’t pick a stressful time to talk, like during bedtime or just after work. Try to pick a time when you are both calm and can approach the conversation with good energy instead of bad. I know a calm time can be hard to find, but when properly motivated you can find it.
2. Do not attack.
This is very important and something that many of us do without thinking. And it gets us nowhere.
Let’s say that your partner is always getting home from work late. Instead of saying “You are always late. Why do you have to be such a jerk?” try saying “It makes me sad when you are always home late from work. I work hard to get us all together for a family dinner and I really miss it when you aren’t there.”
Look carefully at the difference here. If you use the first example your partner will immediately get on the defensive and the conversation will be over before it begins.
In the second example, you are sharing how you FEEL and no one can argue with how you FEEL. And how you feel is the truth.
What is not the truth is that your partner is a jerk for coming home late.
3. Make sure they know you are listening.
This is very hard to do and can feel very contrived, but it is a vital part of listening and being heard.
It’s called a reflective response and can help you solve a lot of your relationship troubles.
In the case of the example above, with the partner who didn’t come home in time for dinner, the perfect response for them to say would be: “I am sorry that my being late for dinner made you so sad.” With that statement, you know that your partner has understood what you are trying to say and that might deflate the argument.
The worst thing that you can do is to yell back at them or storm out, not letting them speak and get their feelings out. Because if you do that, the issue will come up again. Over and over and over.
4. Try to remember that we are all only human.
We all make mistakes. More often than not our troublesome actions are not a reflection of our feelings about someone, but are the result of a variety of things (time, motivation, energy level, distractions) that all work together and create a situation that isn’t ideal.