Do you want to stop contempt from creeping into your relationship or marriage? Especially contempt from continuous arguments you may be having with your partner?
Happy couples have some surprising ways of defusing arguments that you would never think of.
For example, happy couples often engage the following 3 points in order to de-escalate an argument and then find a solution for what they were arguing about:
- During the argument, they carefully listen to the points that the other partner brings up
- They then finish the argument quickly (frequently using distractions and diversions)
- And then secretly resolve to address their partner’s issues without drawing further attention to it.
The underlying issue in the argument is addressed and resolved. This method is very different from the tactics used by less harmonious couples, who often end up in shouting matches which make things worse rather than better. Such shouting matches lead to a build-up of contempt in the relationship. Which is ultimately a relationship killer.
Partners in a happy relationship don’t have shouting matches and “go for the throat” like this …and the result is that they not only tend to resolve the issues at hand, but they avoid the buildup of contempt in their relationship. The arguments create no long term damage.
The “Win At Any Cost” Approach
Research has shown that partners in happy relationships are able to keep a much higher ratio of positive to negative statements even in the heat of an argument.
They always make a point of softening criticisms by interspersing a healthy amount of positivity in what they say.
Couples in unhappy relationships, however, behave very differently. Partners in these relationships usually only make one positive statement for every criticism when they argue (in fact, the number is closer to 0.8 affirmative comments for each negative remark.)
So, how are happy partners able to stay so positive like this even when they are arguing?
Well, it comes down to their underlying mentality. You see, partners in a happy relationship are not trying to “win at any cost” when they argue. They don’t fall into the deadly trap of deliberately hurting their partner in the heat of the moment.
Unhappy partners, on the other hand, are constantly doing this, and over time they cause long-lasting harm to their relationship as they develop contempt for each other. The result is that it won’t be long before your partner doesn’t respect you.
Looking At The “Win At Any Cost” Mentality More Closely
Here is an example to clarify what happens.
Imagine a relationship in which the woman is bothered by the fact that her partner won’t clean up after himself after he eats.
Let’s look at the way this type of argument might play out in a happy relationship versus an unhappy relationship:
The woman says something like “I really appreciate the hard work you do every day, but I get annoyed whenever you leave dirty cutlery and dishes lying around after you eat.
It means that I have to work harder once the food is dried onto the dishes. Would you mind washing your dishes after you use them?”