Conflict is a virtually inevitable part of any relationship and it’s unavoidable. Arguments will occur, voices will be elevated, feelings will be hurt and tears will be shed from time to time. Every relationship is subject to conflict, but it’s how you stay connected with your spouse throughout it and how you come out after that’s most important.
Here are 10 steps to help you stay connected to your significant other during an argument.
- Inform your partner that you need a few minutes to yourself. This helps you process the argument and might help prevent you from saying something out of frustration or anger. Removing yourself for a few minutes also helps you cool down and think about you might handle the situation.
- There are two sides to every argument. Listen to your spouse’s side of the argument. Every conflict has two sides, and it’s important to listen to each side in order to lead a healthy discussion. If you automatically assume your spouse is at fault, a health resolution is not in the near future, and they’ll feel like you don’t care about their side or their feelings.
- Have compassion for your spouse and yourself. It’s important to take into consideration how your spouse is feeling. Also, take note of your own feelings. By focusing on compassion and each other’s feelings, you’re less likely to lash out. How is what you’re saying or what lead to the argument possibly affecting your spouse? How is it affecting you? How is it affecting your relationship?
- Focus on what you feel that you need (in that moment). Also think about how important it truly is to come out of the argument as the “winner”. Is it more important to win the argument or collectively have a civil discussion to work through the argument with your significant other. Ask yourself these questions.
- Am I overreacting? Am I going to make things worse?
- Is this something to truly get upset about?
- Is my need reasonable or am I being unreasonable?
- What does my spouse need?
- Accept when you’re wrong. We all have shortcomings, and sometimes we will be called out on them. Accept that you were angry, resentful and spoke out of frustration, and move on. Sometimes what you said or did is truly the cause behind the argument. Acknowledging it and expressing how sorry you are goes a long way.
- Choose how you react. Carefully think through your response before opening your mouth. Is your response hurtful or it it something that will work towards a resolution? Are you being considerate and carrying in your response?
- Try not to raise your voice. This is surely easier said than done, but by staying calm you are less likely to lash out and you’ll be able to clearly express your your side and your opinion. Raising voices leads to yelling, possible name calling or worse.
- Don’t leave. Sometimes it’s easier to walk away when an argument occurs because avoiding the conflict makes more sense than addressing it. It’s so incredibly important to stay and talk through the conflict with your spouse. By walking away, you’re telling your spouse that their concerns do not matter and that you have zero interest in resolving the conflict.
- Don’t rehash old arguments. When you’re having an argument, it’s common to rehash old ones that possibly went on without a resolution or those that help build a cause against your spouse. Stay in the moment. Focus on the argument and issue at hand. If you’re constantly bringing up “old dirt” then you’re less likely to reach a resolution.
- Don’t go to bed angry. I’m a firm believer that going to bed angry with an argument unresolved is the worst thing you can do to your spouse and your relationship. Sometimes arguments will take a while to resolve, but by resolving them you’re able to go to bed at peace with each other and start the next day on a fresh note.
Conflict is unavoidable, but there are healthy ways to work through a conflict that enables you and your spouse to come out of it happy and content. Looking to spice up your relationship a bit? Here are 10 Things Happy Couples Do Every Day.