Mandy Kloppers

How to manage arguments in your relationship

Knowing how to manage arguments is a key skill for navigating your relationship. Arguments can create untold havoc, especially if you feel alone in your experiences. Many couples argue and sometimes a good argument can clear the air. Productive arguments reset relationships and encourage communication. However, malicious arguments damage relationships beyond repair. So how do you manage arguments that threaten to derail your relationship?

Manage arguments with self-composure

The moment either party begins insulting the other, effective communication has essentially evaporated. If you want to get your point across, it’s vital to keep your focus on getting your point across is a reasonable manner. The moment emotions become entangled, your message becomes diluted and loses its impact. If you feel you will get upset, take a breather. Return to the discussion after you have had some time out.

Stick to the issue

One of the worst things you can do is bring up other issues in the relationship as a way to deflect the blame away. For example, if your partner comments on how you don’t help clear up after dinner, bringing up the time he didn’t clear up a few weeks prior reduces the argument to a tit-for-tat discussion and nothing gets solved. Deal with one issue at a time.

Watch your language

A brilliant way to manage arguments is to be aware of the language you use. When you use words such as “You never do this…..” or “You always do that…” you shut down your partner’s ability to listen. When someone feels attacked they become defensive and stop listening. Instead, get your point across using this format known as assertive script: “When you…(behaviour) eg. ignore me when you get home, I feel… (emotion) sad, so what I would like you to do is…(suggestion) – come and kiss me hello”.

Don’t insult your partner , keep it civil.

Aim for a win-win resolution

It’s damaging to the communication process if you feel the need to win the argument. It’s far more productive to look for a win-win situation where you both get your needs met. Arguments shouldn’t be seen as a process of winning or losing but rather as a chance to air your grievances and find ways to problem-solve the issue. You will feel far more connected to each other if you manage arguments by considering each other’s needs.

Limit interruptions

Successful relationships last because communication is good. This is the number one skill required to navigate issues. If your communication is lacking, you will end up with problems, no doubt about it. Learn to listen well and even repeat back to your partner what you have understood. This avoids any misunderstandings. If you tend to interrupt each other, grab a tennis ball or something similar. The person holding the ball does the talking while the other listens. The ball is swapped to give the other person a chance to talk. This way, interruptions are kept to a minimum.



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