Written By: Levita Galinsky
Do you know how to properly manage a healthy argument in your marriage or relationship? Conflict is a natural occurrence within any relationship, and is even healthy on occasion. However, if you do not have the appropriate tools available at your disposal to help guide your verbal disagreements in a constructive manner, you might be one of those couples to argue about the same issue for years to come. This is even without ever truly understanding what the argument is even about. Therefore, look on below for ways you can have a productively healthy argument:
Avoid passive-aggressive behavior
When some people start arguing, there are certain instincts that come to play that we should try to control. Some might refrain from getting involved too emotionally (those afraid of confrontation), while others might begin the blame-game (hence the beginning of the passive-aggressive behavior). It’s easy to be passive-aggressive because it takes the person out of taking responsibility for their actions and even gets them out of dealing with the argument at hand. The first major step to having a healthy argument in your relationship is to be there in the moment without pointing fingers at someone else. It takes courage to want to listen to one another with an open heart and honest emotions. Stylist.co.uk adds that, “Passive aggression will only end up escalating the anger and upset felt by your partner and is a damaging strategy in the long-run.”
How to stop an argument from escalating
To have a healthy dispute, you would need to understand that escalating words. Those are specific words that quickly alter the complete state of the argument and take you off the tracks of progress and resolution. This is the first step to truly realizing how to maintain your conflict and keep it balanced without pushing each other’s buttons out of insecurity. As you are each other’s behavior catalyst, remember that you affect each other’s outbursts. You can both actually help each other calm down before the argument goes haywire. Use humor when appropriate, hold hands or add a gentle touch to his/her shoulder to ease tension, and listen and respond compassionately.
Learn to apologize appropriately
In the heat of the moment, things can be said that can lead to repeatedly viscous cycles when the argument is not validated accordingly. A simple disagreement can quickly be taken out of context; verbal attacks are common in relationships when there is less of an understanding of each other and of the way to communicate effectively. For instance, certain condescending words can make people feel inferior and therefore makes the argument ambiguous and inhibits the overall progression of said argument. Let’s take the phrase, “I’m Sorry.” If you say, “I’m sorry if you feel that way”, you are not taking responsibility for your actions. In essence, you put the blame on how someone is feeling instead of owning up to your actions. This holds you back from ever really dealing with the issue at hand. In addition, if you want to deal with an argument in your relationship in a healthy way, learn to apologize when you are wrong.
Be emotionally honest and use assertive communication
Having a full-on argument puts one in a vulnerable state. Many try to put emotional blame on others so they don’t come off as wrong or weak. Instead, try owning up to your emotions and be direct with your actual thoughts on the matter. Assertive communication will create a stable argument where both of you can maintain the conflict and resolve it more effectively. Don’t use phrases like “You never listen to me” or “What’s wrong with you”? Instead, utilize kindness to express your thoughts. Explain why you are hurt and take responsibility for your feelings upfront. In time you will see this will really help your communication habits during arguments or even regular conversations.
Have a discussion after you both cool down
Often times we are emotionally heated when we get into arguments. Consider taking a breather until both parties have cooled off enough to be civil and calm. Therefore, the first step is to realize that you are too emotionally unavailable to enter into an intelligent conversation. So once you have reached that point, separate and write down your feelings during this time. This is a productive method of getting out all that needs to be out in a positive manner without saying something you might regret to the person in that moment of rage. In 24 hours (or less, depending on when you have both cooled down), feel free to both revisit the issue from a less emotionally charged place.
A healthy argument in your relationship can be maintained through stability with time and effort. For effective ways to settle your relationship disputes in a productive manner, remember these tips: honesty, open communication, subtle kindness, and removal of the blame-game. Once both parties are fully open to learning about themselves as well as each other, there is ample room for growth and conflict resolution. Encourage healthy conflicts once you have the appropriate tools to deal with them.