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Relationships (They’re Complicated) 


 

Insights
February 15, 2015
Relationships (They’re Complicated) Month
 

Five Ways to Have a Healthy Argument

“Many relationships would be better if both partners reminded themselves that they are on the same side.”    ― www.gomobiletherapy.com

February may be the month officially dedicated to romance, but that doesn’t mean it’s one that’s exempt from potential arguments with your partner. The truth is, some disagreements are not only inevitable, in the long run, they can also strengthen our bonds of intimacy. But there are healthy ways of arguing—and destructive ones, too. Many of us are already fairly adept at the latter.

The next time you find yourself entering the ring with your partner, both gloves on—take a step back and ask, “Is it worth hurting this person, just so I can be right?”

Here are 5 Additional Ways to Have a Healthy Argument:

  1. Timing is everything. One of the things we talk about in therapy is knowing how to ask respectfully for exactly what you want, then make compromises where necessary. But timing is equally important. If you’ve got a beef with your partner, don’t bring it up when he’s tired, or not feeling well, or has just opened your tax bill. Ask in advance for a scheduled time that works for both of you to discuss what’s bothering you.
     
  2. Location, location, location. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we’ll launch into a diatribe against our partner in the worst possible place, such as the middle of the living room—in front of the whole family. Or, in the car—during a rainy rush hour. Failing to choose a location where you’ll be safe and comfortable to discuss things calmly sets everyone up for heightened emotions. Instead, sit down on the couch together when you’re alone, or meet in the kitchen over a cup of tea.
     
  3. Stick to the facts of that one issue. If you need to, write down the issue at hand and up to three points relating to it. Don’t pull in old grievances from years past, or completely unrelated gripes. For example, if your partner consistently forgets to call or text you when she’s running late—that is what you want to discuss with her. Reminding her that she also loses things frequently, and doesn’t help enough with the laundry, are off-limits during your scheduled healthy argument time.
     
  4. Try listening more than talking. Just as your feelings are important enough to share, so are your partner’s. Let them respond to your comments and do your best to say very little—just letting them know they’ve been heard.
     
  5. Ask for help when needed. If your relationship is fairly solid but things tend to go haywire when tempers flare, it’s a good enough reason to consider seeking professional help from a therapist. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-term thing, but you might pick up additional tips for fighting fairly that will be highly beneficial to your relationship.