As a therapist, I have observed that many of the couples who begin to discuss their arguments almost do it with a sense of shame — as if there is something wrong with conflict. Simply look around in our world today and one will see that no issue is without conflict — whether it be politics, government, or even a disagreement in business dealings.
Why should our relationships be any different? Why is there so much shame around normal disputes? What if there were ways to be better prepared for the next argument with your partner?
Read on for 5 ways to have a HEALTHY argument:
1. Set your intention.
Be mindful about why you are having the argument in the first place. Do you want to just prove your point? Are you riled up about the situation? Is it really worth the argument?
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2. Know your limits.
Boxing matches have a ring around the center of the action for a reason. Know when you are going too far during an argument and realize when it is time to take a step back and cool down before things get too far.
3. Prevention is key.
Don’t go around in circles with your partner. Think: What was the tipping point that set me up into this argument, and how can I prevent getting here next time? The whole point of an argument is to make sure whatever made you upset in the first place doesn’t happen again, so have a talk with yourself about whether this one is totally worth your time.
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4. Realize you’re not the only one that can get hurt.
Passion is a great thing, but it can also cause a lot of tension in your relationship. Make sure you’re being fair. But know that arguing is a GOOD thing — in fact, if you never argue, you probably need to examine that aspect of your relationship, and soon.
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5. Use humor.
Nothing sets me off like being told that I’m cute when I’m upset — people don’t want to be dismissed if they are legitimately angry. However, just realizing that someday, you will both look back on this moment and laugh is a good way to know your priorities.
You’re with your partner for a reason. Go back to those reasons. It’s not because you found a love for their conflict style — it’s because of the qualities that make up their character. Focus on those traits, and it is hard to even get, or stay angry for long.