It’s not the fight, it’s how you fight that decides how far your relationship will go. The way you end up fighting with your spouse largely determines your relationship and its future. Happy marriages are not all about sex, love and money. They are more about compassion, understanding and a ton of mutual respect. Happy couples have fights too, but when they do, they choose their words carefully — the words are directed at the issue, and not at each other’s character or being.
No matter how long you have been married or how long you have known each other, no two people can agree on everything all the time. Even couples who get along very well with each other differ on many aspects when it comes to marital equations and other issues.
Personally speaking, I had known my husband for 5 years before we got married and, I won’t lie, sometimes it seems like we do not agree on anything! Whether it is the monetary goals, or the weekend dinner, we seem to argue about almost everything. Sometimes, those mundane everyday arguments take the shape of nasty fights; that’s why we laid down some ground rules so as to not hurt each other with piercing words. And it works, we fight, we argue, we debate, but we do not cross the line.
Okay, honestly, mostly stay within the line.
8 Healthy Ways To Argue With Your Spouse
While we were drafting the rulebook for fighting with your spouse, we decided to focus our anger on the problem, not on each other; this helped us direct our arguments to staying within the drawn up boundaries.
For instance, in a furious argument, you may tell your spouse that you are upset at what has happened, but you should not cross the line by saying, “This is because of how you have been raised.”
So here are 8 ways to argue and fight the right way with your spouse.
1. Practice listening patiently and without interrupting
Listening is an art, a skill that is developed by practice. And when you listen to someone, make sure to comprehend the words too. Just like you listened intently on your first date, make it a point to listen carefully to your spouse without putting words into his or her mouth. Do not interrupt, though you should ask questions when the other one is done talking. Interruptions can quickly turn every conversation into an argument.
Most people win half of an argument by listening to the other person; this is simply because being heard makes a person feel valued and respected. And this feeling translates into being understood. What else does a furious person need to calm down?
2. Do not brush issues under the carpet
Every couple has uncomfortable topics that they know will give rise to arguments. But instead of sweeping them under the rug, they address them, discuss them and avoid bigger dramas.
Your biological clock is ticking and you want to talk about when to have kids, while your man wishes to focus on savings now – that alone is enough fodder for a big battle. But that does not mean you postpone discussing these issues and keep on growing frustrated and simmering with resentment within.
You need to talk, fight, reason and conclude.
Just because an issue is going to get debated, they do not run away from it, pretending all is well. Happy couples address their problems, conclude with a solution and never run away from engaging in healthy arguments.
3. No name calling ever. Period.
This is my husband’s first rule of fighting with your spouse. No matter how angry or upset he is, I have never seen him say anything nasty to me or anyone else. As much as I appreciate this in him, I feel cheesed off at myself because I can get down to name-calling even with a sales guy. Yes, yes, it’s a flaw and I am trying to improve in that area!
I have consciously tried to imbibe this habit, over the years, and have felt it avoid unnecessary hurt and friction. Name-calling simply diverts one from the subject at hand, and it is nasty, disrespectful and somewhat high school-ish to resort to shifting blame and calling names. The effect of name-calling in a relationship is simply corrosive, damaging and scarring.
So, no name-calling. PERIOD.
4. The past is past. Let it stay there
It is important to not let things such as old mistakes and past relationships affect the present.
As a couple who had been dating for 5 long years, we did know a great deal about each other’s past. That also meant we could easily point fingers at each other, in an attempt to distract the other person from the issue in hand. When during an argument my husband said that I have always been confused, given the multiple switches in my career, it hurt. And when I broke down, he apologized, and we made it a rule to never refer to anything that we might have done in the past. It is irrelevant, hurtful and demeaning.
5. Acknowledge each other’s’ feelings
While arguing, give each other the benefit of doubt and acknowledge the anger, frustration, anguish or disappointment. For a productive conversation, you need to drop your gun and open your heart. Whatever feelings your spouse may have, you should acknowledge them, accept them, think about them and then conclude positively.
Do not be someone who only talks about himself, his feelings and his expectations.
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6. Do not assume, ask
The easiest thing to do is assume, conclude and then feel bitter. But is that right? I often used to get irked because my husband would ask me tens of questions over just one thing. Later, I learned that he gets his clarity from asking questions.
When questions are asked respectfully, in the right way, and are answered productively, many misunderstandings can be avoided. This is exactly how healthy fighting works. Happy, healthy relationships are characterized by open conversations, questions and arguments. Not assumptions.
And the secret to having healthy arguments is clearing misunderstandings if any; not fostering them.
7. Remember, it is not about winning
We have always been taught to win, to prove that we are right. But marriage is a different game altogether. In a marriage, the right way to fight with your spouse means you need to focus on the issue at hand and work on it together, not trying to prove anyone right or wrong. Get rid of the mental scorecard and make it about resolving issues, not being right or wrong. Resort to healthy fighting instead of trying to win all the time.
8. In the end, remember you are in it as a team
No matter how heated the argument gets, you need to remember that together you are one team and have the same goal. That’s the right way to fight with your partner. Whether it is regarding your savings, your child’s education, or a move to another city, you are in everything together as one. Do not weigh pros and cons individually or place yourself higher than your spouse – that’s a deal-breaker.
No matter what the challenge or the storm, as long as you love and support each other, you will emerge victorious every time. Come what may, real happiness is when a couple shines through the odds holding hands and taking on the challenges of life as one.
How It Helps In Relationship To Argue In A Healthy Way
In a relationship, fighting with your spouse now and then is more than normal. In fact, it is often said that a complete lack of arguments is far more dangerous than having frequent fights. Human beings are emotional creatures. Each of us has our own needs and wants from life. We are also, all brought up in different ways. This means that each of us have different expectations about love, various kinds of love languages and completely separate views on how someone should show that they care.
So, it is okay to be disgruntled now and then with your partner — especially if they don’t meet your expectations or wants. But what is not okay is keeping it all to yourself and letting the negative feelings simmer and crack the relationship from the inside. It is far better to communicate your feelings to your partner, even if they do get defensive and it turns into an argument. The right way to fight is to be respectful of the other person throughout the argument. Letting it all out will not only help you deal with your feelings, but allow your partner to see that you are upset and why or how, what they did or said hurt you.
Basically, it helps to engage in healthy fighting in a relationship now and again. But it is also important to keep it healthy instead of letting it turn into a toxic scream-fest. Here are the different ways in which arguing in a healthy manner in a relationship can actually help the relationship:
Related Reading: 15 Signs Of Relationship Compatibility Between You And Your Partner
1. It lets your partner understand you better
No one is a telepath. Sometimes your partner makes mistakes because they honestly don’t know what you want. So, it is important to let your spouse know what’s up and what they did wrong so they know what to do, what not to, and why it matters to you.
Also, even when you are fighting with spouse, make sure that you listen and try to understand their side of things when they actually tell you why they did or said what they said. Once you talk or argue it out respectfully, even if it means fighting with your spouse, know that it will inspire a better understanding of each other, help build loyalty, and make the relationship healthier in general.
2. It tells your partner that you care
Choosing to give your partner the silent treatment instead of telling them why you are upset will never help. Explain the situation to them instead of just simmering in ager silently. Even if it does turn into a fight with husband, it will still mean that you care enough to try and fix things.
A little bit of healthy fighting never hurt anyone. Remember, the silent treatment and quiet, simmering anger offers no solution. But a healthy argument does. In a relationship, it is important to remember that your bond and your partner are way more important than some petty problem. If the problem becomes more important to you, so much so that you stop communicating with your partner, it basically means that you do not care enough for them to fix things anymore.
3. You can deal with the problems together instead of letting them build
Every relationship problem, every obstacle, every mistake can be fixed as long as you try to face them together. For that, your partner needs to know what’s up. Healthy arguments in a relationship are great at letting you address such issues. Once you have said (or yelled) your piece, there will come a point when you can begin to address the issue instead of sweeping it all under the mattress again till the issues turn way too big to handle.
4. It helps you grow as a couple
Once you have communicated your feelings and solved the problems together after the fight with husband, it will lead to a better understanding of each other. After fighting with partner, you will know the things they like and the things that hurt them. Healthy arguments in a relationship will also help you know how to respectfully communicate with each other without letting it get toxic. This will help you build a stronger, more mature bond with each other — one that allows you to be more open, vulnerable and honest with each other without getting defensive or fearing that you will get judged for your feelings and mistakes.
5. It stops you from making bad decisions
If you keep avoiding conflict even though there are obvious problems, there will come a time when it will all start to go out of hand. That is the moment when arguments will start to turn toxic. If you let your negative feelings build, all for the sake of avoiding fighting with spouse, know that those feelings won’t simply slide away.
They will weaken the foundation of your relationship from the inside till you cannot look beyond the problems anymore. It will make you care less about the relationship and your partner, and may inspire you to make terrible decisions, from engaging in extramarital affairs to breaking off your relationship entirely.
Thus, no matter how small or silly the issue may seem, know that it is better to communicate with your partner now instead of constantly trying to avoid conflict. The complete lack of arguments is not a sign of a healthy relationship. Open communication is. Yes, even if it means fighting with partner. So what if it turns into an argument now and then? As long as you are both willing to be respectful towards each other and deal with the problems together, healthy arguments in a relationship will help you emerge from the fights stronger and as much in love with each other as ever.
When arguing with your spouse, it is important to be respectful. Just because you are angry, it doesn’t make it okay to be disrespectful towards each other. In your anger, don’t forget to listen. Assuming things is one of the worst things you can do. Ask them about things instead and trust what they have to say. Try to get to the bottom of the issues without trying to just dodge confrontations. And finally, remember not to keep bringing up the past.
Arguments are okay as long as there is some point to them. If you want to diffuse the tension so you can both discuss the problems at hand like adults, begin by listening to their side. Try not to raise your voice when you answer, no matter how angry you are. It will just turn into a scream-fest. Don’t dredge up unrelated matters. Instead, focus on the present. Try to see the problems through his eyes and lead with answers that begin with “I understand your point but here is how it looks to me…” If you refuse to raise your voice and continue discussing the matter rationally with him, he will calm down soon enough and you will be able to get to the bottom of the issue together without tearing each others’ throats out.
Begin by addressing and acknowledging the core issues. If you keep finding yourselves in the middle of silly arguments that make no sense, try to understand where the tension is actually arising from. Are there deeper problems at work here? Is it trust issues? Insecurity? Are you not able to forgive something your partner did or said? It is important to openly communicate about these feelings with each other while addressing such issues without getting defensive. Remember, if you get defensive, it will just lead to another argument. Talk it out like mature, respectful adults instead. While the process can be a tad intense, as long as you both value each other and the relationship more than some random issue — big or small, you will both be okay by the end of it.