Arguments and strife are an inevitable part of all romantic relationships. We all wish they could be avoided, but they cannot. Disagreements will arise between any two people. Sometimes, these disagreements will precipitate larger, more painful clashes, which can be can be very damaging to a relationship. Since squabbles will occur, learning how to mitigate the harm they cause is important. Here are seven ways couples can work past disagreements and quarrels.
- Stay on topic. Focus on the issue at hand, rather than escalating or expanding the argument. Some people use fights over minor issues as a chance to attack their partner’s character. Insults and character assassination will only damage your relationship. Staying on topic makes it more likely you will arrive at a positive solution to the problem. Fights are inevitable — but turning a minor clash into something much bigger is not.
- Talk less and listen more. If a stranger overheard most couples’ arguments, the third party would notice that neither partner really listens to the other. Many arguments would end quickly if either person calmed down and started listening. Major fights are often much ado about nothing, so strive to see things from the other person’s perspective. A little empathy — and a listening ear — can often resolve what seem to be irreconcilable differences.
- Remember that you love each other. A quarrel doesn’t indicate that your significant other doesn’t care about you. In the heat of the moment, people say things they don’t actually mean. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by temporary feelings of anger. Remembering that you both love each other will make it easier to place the argument in context and find a solution.
- Look for agreement. There is almost certainly some aspect of the argument about which you see eye to eye. Defuse the fight by finding these points of agreement. Once you’ve found common ground, you can build toward a larger resolution. Both parties should state their views as clearly and calmly as possible. If the two of you can control your anger, you will probably find you have more in common than you had thought.
- Know when to walk away. Not all conflicts can be happily resolved. Some just have to be forgotten. If it becomes clear that you are not going to find a solution, both of you should agree to walk away and move on. Sometimes, agreeing to disagree is the best answer. So drop the argument and do your best to forget about it — worrying about something that can’t be fixed is pointless.
- Make concessions. One person giving up a little ground will oftentimes lead to a positive outcome. Such a concession will inspire the other partner to grant some leeway as well, and soon a peaceful, happy end to the argument will be found. Compromise is a required part of any relationship, so you can’t be afraid to back down. Don’t let pride get in the way of peace.
- Don’t try to ‘win’ the fight. ‘Winning’ a fight is almost meaningless. You might be able to make stronger arguments, leaving your partner feeling angry and humiliated — but that’s not a real victory. Your partner isn’t your enemy. You shouldn’t want to defeat them. Instead, let your ego go and look for an answer to the problem that will leave you both happier.
Remember, disagreements and differences are a natural, normal part of a healthy relationship. It would be boring if you and your partner had the exact same views on every topic. Deeply held feelings need to be expressed, even if doing so might cause conflict initially. The goal for romantic partners should simply be to disagree in a more loving, positive way.