Here Is What You Need To Know About Fighting In A Relationship (How To Fight Constructively?)
A relationship is not supposed to be a battle. It isn’t war. Yet some of us are guilty of arguing with our partner in such a way that anyone would think winning the argument was as important as life or death.
There is screaming, shouting, and a tantrum or two. There are threats, demands, sulking. There may even be insult and objects launched across the room before one of you storms out dramatically.
Arguments happen in any relationship. Even those relationships where the couple has been together for fifty years will have had their fair share of arguments. There will always be disagreements.
The thing is that your arguments can be a lot less heated. They don’t have to always explode like a firecracker. Communication is key to a healthy, lasting relationship, and excellent communication skills come in real handy whenever you’re fighting with your partner. It’s a life skill that can simmer things down after they’re reached boiling point, helping you both to come to your senses and hear each other out before reaching a mutual, satisfying resolution.
If you’re having communication problems and are tired of the endless, noisy fights that leave you feeling disheartened, here is what you need to know about fighting constructively:
Don’t Stock Your Issues Up
You know what stockpiling is? Stockpiling is what we do when we stock lots of, um, stock up. It happens in business, especially in retail. But when you stockpile the issues you have with your partner (as opposed to getting them out on the shop floor and talking about them), they just build and build until you explode.
And when that happens, you say things that have no bearing on today’s situation. You end up bringing up something that happened months ago. And this is when arguments become problematic.
Don’t stockpile. Air any issues you have immediately – or dump them. DON’T sit on them for months on end before bringing them into an argument today.
There are many ways we communicate with people, and the tone of our voice indicates our mood. It can quickly change our own state (if you raise your voice, you automatically feel powerful. If you begin to shout, you really do start to feel tense and angry), but it can also change the other persons state.
If you start shouting at your partner, what state do you think they’ll fall into? It all depends on the situation at the time and the context. But what’s for sure is that they will change state. Perhaps they’ll be alarmed and grow meek. Maybe they’ll even be a bit frightened. Or perhaps they’ll react the opposite way and mimic your behaviour, joining you for a shouting match.
Both responses are not ideal. To ensure that you guys argue constructively, try not to raise your voice.
Have you ever had one of those arguments where you’re basically just waiting for your partner to stop talking so that you can jump in? They’ve already been talking for a minute and you’re checking your watch wondering when in the heck they’re going to shut up. You’ve really got something to say and you don’t to forget what it is, so you’re not really listening to them – you’re instead mulling over your retort.
When it comes time for you to talk, you launch into a spiel that pretty much ignores everything they’ve just said.
Many times we don’t properly listen to our partners when we’re arguing with them. We’re too absorbed in our own side of the argument to hear them out. We’ve got something to say, we’re right, and we want to say it.
Not listening to your partner just leads to misunderstandings, more accusations, and a total dead-end.
Listening can be hard, especially when you’re upset. To help, you could both try paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing is when you REALLY listen to what your partner has to say, before briefly summing it up in your own words. In this way, you get the chance to properly digest and actually understand their side of the argument.
And if your summary contains mistakes, they will correct you.
Take A Time Out
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I said it in the heat of the moment.”
Sound familiar? We’re all guilty of saying things out loud in the heat of the moment. When an argument is reaching its crescendo and our backs are up, we’re guilty of saying things we soon regret.
We wouldn’t say these hurtful things if we took a time out to calm down. If you feel that the argument is getting out of hand, tell your partner that you need to get some fresh air.
This is a pattern-breaking technique. Basically, when we feel ourselves ready to explode with anger and vitriol, we need to find something that breaks the pattern. In an argument, the best thing to do is to remove yourself from the conflict. Otherwise, you may say something that you regret.
Fight At The Right Time
Do arguments just happen spontaneously? Not likely. Often, they happen because one of us brought something up that’s on our mind.
“Honey, this morning I asked you nicely to take the cat litter out. Once again, I’ve come home from work and it’s still there.”
If this is a contentious issue, it could lead to an argument. But the argument could be a whole lot worse if you bring the issue up at a really bad time. A bad time might be when your partner is tired or stressed from work. Or perhaps they are busy working on something.
Always try to bring up any issues you have at a good time. Make sure you both have the time to talk about it, and try to catch your partner when they seem to be in good spirits. Arguing while one of you is cranky or doesn’t have much time is only going to end in tears.