Even the best relationship has its ups and downs (cliche, I know, but true). No matter how strong you and your significant other are, there are bound to be times where you don’t quite see eye-to-eye. Fighting is never fun, but the most important thing to remember during these times is that you’re on the same team, and fighting amongst teammates only weakens your game. Of course, it’s okay (even healthy) to argue when you are consistently coming to productive solutions. However, in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to see the big picture. Follow these 5 tips to fight better, and resolve conflict more quickly.
#1 Maintain physical contact while you fight
Cuddling or holding hands while arguing helps to keep you connected to your partner and reminds both parties of their mutual love. Affectionate physical touch can help to diffuse the situation and bring the focus back onto the relationship rather than who is right/wrong. This works best during minor disagreements and serious conversations. It is not as effective during more intense arguments. NEVER touch your partner in a violent or unloving way.
#2 Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Time Out
Okay, I admit, I am the WORST at this. I hate unresolved conflict. But sometimes when emotions are high, continuing to discuss the issue isn’t productive. Taking some time to practice some self care and cool off can do wonders for your perspective. Rather than focusing on why you’re upset or who said what, focus on giving your brain a break to cool off. Return to the subject when you feel calm and recharged, and you’ll be much more ready to come to a compromise.
#3 Repeat Back for Clarification
Misunderstanding is at the heart of many disagreements. Because different people have different communication styles, phrases that are meant innocently can come across as full-scale attacks. A good way to work around this issue is to repeat what you are understanding your partner to be saying. A good way to phrase this is, “I hear you saying that (paraphrase what you think your partner means), is that correct?” This way, your partner has a chance to explain their context and dispel any unintended subtext that you are perceiving.
#4 Use “I Feel” Rather Than “You _______”
Reducing the direct blame you put on your partner helps to keep them from feeling like they are being attacked. Letting them know that you’re feeling hurt puts the focus on the need for a resolution rather than a “he said she said” battle. Your partner (I hope) does not actively want to hurt you. In a healthy relationship, acknowledging your own feelings and respecting the feelings of your partner lead to quicker and more positive resolution.
#5 Realize That You Fight Because You Care