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These 10 rules of arguing can save your relationship

Posted April 4

Don’t run away from conflict in your relationship. Arguments give you an opportunity to understand how your partner thinks and feels. It’s a chance for two people to bring together their differences, search for compromise and continue to fall more in love.

Set a goal to find a compromise or at least achieve a better understanding by the end of an argument. Remember: arguments involve only words, never anything physical. f you follow these rules, you will find that your arguments end with insightful and healing discussions:

1. Figure out why you are upset

Take time to analyze your feelings and thoughts. Don’t try to read your partner’s mind. When you understand what makes you upset you can clearly explain your feelings and thoughts.

Never camouflage the issue that is upsetting you. Don’t blame his cooking skills when what really angered you was that he forgot your anniversary.

2. Avoid angry language

Never insult your significant other during heated arguments. Those insults are emotional knifes that stab the heart of your relationship. Sometimes these wounds can only be healed with time and professional help.

Don’t use absolutes like “always” and “never.” Monitor the tone of your voice. When you control the volume and tone of your voice, the argument will be more comfortable and less confrontational. Your partner will be more willing to share their feelings — making it possible for you to be more understanding.

3. Be open

Even if you feel like you haven’t done anything wrong, be open to what your partner is saying. You might have done something unintentionally that hurt your spouse. If you start to get defensive, take a deep breath and listen.

When it is your turn to talk use the word “I” instead of “you.” Instead of, “If you had just asked me” say “If I had just explained it better, maybe it would have made more sense.” This allows you to take responsibility for your part of the argument and give your partner the chance to take responsibility for their part.

Never stonewall an argument. It will just make things worse. Open yourself up and give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

4. Never threaten divorce

The phrase “maybe we should just get a divorce,” should never be said during an argument. Yes, you might be upset, yes, it might seem like your relationship is ending, but now isn’t the time to present an ultimatum. Even if a divorce is being considered, this is the worst time to make that decision. Emotions are high and things are said that are regretted later. The fact that you consider divorce means you are giving up on your relationship and you are not willing to work through the hard times with your partner. Don't give up.

5. Stay in the present

Keep the argument focused on one issue at a time and only deal with things that are happening now, not in the past.

When you are upset, use and ask for specific examples and avoid generalities. This will help you better understand what makes you and your significant other upset.

6. Take turns speaking

Listen to each other and give the other person an equal amount of time to talk. Sometimes using a timer to track and limit each person’s speaking time is helpful. While it is your turn to talk, focus your discussion on how you feel and why you to feel that way. Then listen as your partner does the same thing. This shows that you respect and love your partner.

7. Use time-outs

If things get too heated agree to separate, calm down and then come back together at a specific time. Sometimes you just need to get a hold of your thoughts and feelings. If needed, agree to talk the next day and go to sleep. The next morning your mind will be clearer and you will be less likely to say hurtful things.

8. Find common ground

As you listen, find things that you can agree on. Look for different ways to compromise. Make concessions for different situations and strive to find peace. It’s all about what’s right for your relationship, not who’s right.

9. Be willing to apologize first

Never wait to apologize. Even if you don’t know what is wrong be willing to say sorry. Always forgive your partner. When you are humble it’s a lot easier to be open and understanding.

10 Remind them of your love

The most important thing you can do is say “I love you” before, during and after the argument. Let them know you love them by gently touching them on the arm, hugging them and reassuring them that you aren’t leaving.

Since solving your arguments leads to compromise and understanding, all relationships (romantic or not) can benefit from these rules. Arguments can lead to a stronger and healthier relationship when you are both willing to work through your problems with love and patience.

Stacie Simpson is a journalism student. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.

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