Healthy Arguments Speak Volumes About Your Relationship- By Reshma
How To Have Healthy Arguments With Your Partner
Conflict is unavoidable. Regardless of how long you have been married or known each other or get along, you are never going to be on the same page with your partner all the time. Maybe the debate isn’t something that you look forward to, but as long as it is done right, a little bickering can go a long way in the relationship. Our beliefs and ways of being, contradict powerfully with our loved ones all the time. People differ. Ideologies differ. Opinions differ. But for all the grief that fights cause, you can learn a lot from them, because it gives you a deep insight into who you are as a person and the life experience patterns that play out within you.
Paying attention, listening to your loved one’s ideas while expressing your own is not only needed, but also very respectful. The way you handle yourself in the face of anger and argument shows your level of calm, patience and the quality of your energy states.
Even if one of you feels subdued into silence, or doesn’t feel safe enough to express freely, it can harbour emotional distance, dissatisfaction and resentment. Slow burn.
Of course, daily disagreements are bound to happen. Topics also might vary from couple to couple. But the key is how to keep the quarrels healthy. No matter how stressful and tiring the argument may be, when you are able to approach your partner with an open heart filled with compassion, the battle is half won.
It’s not about ‘winning’.
When you start arguing for the sake of arguing, or just to win it or prove your partner wrong, then it becomes nothing short of a television debate. This is a no-no. No matter how tempting it may be to correct your partner and feel like a know-it-all, and to convince that your position is right, you have to realise that both sides of the argument are equitable and fair. That the argument is clearly about resolving an issue and moving forward as a team. So please don’t be quick to judge your partner. If they raise a concern, then surely it is important to them and needs your attention, even if you may have twenty other things on priority.
The next time you argue, try repeating back what you heard your partner said. This is about listening and comprehending. (In that particular order). Repeating back or ‘reflection’ conveys that you have understood your loved one’s feelings, and acknowledged their point. This keeps any room for misunderstanding at bay. It would be wiser to say, “I understand this is important to you. But this is just to make sure I’ve completely understood what you are saying before I explain my point of view too. I hear you and how it makes you feel. If you think I’m wrong about my understanding about your feelings please explain and help me better understand.”
Allow your partner to express fully and freely before being eager to counter with your version of the issue. This is called active listening, and shows that you are intelligent and really care about wanting to understand their side of the story as well.
Ask questions without fear.
Misunderstandings and miscommunication are the one of the main reasons that couples suffer in relationships. If you can ask the right questions in a respectful way, it means that you are invested in the conversation. This also prevents jumping-to-conclusions or brushing parts of the issue under the carpet or just plain assumptions. Asking questions also conveys trust and confidence to be able to engage in discussions about other important things with each other in the future.
Meet halfway please.
Meet halfway. This is another goal. Instead of throwing in the towel and shutting your mind down because you are tired. Even when you have reached a stand-off and find it hopeless to continue the argument, please push yourselves. A half-done argument leaves both people high and dry. And only if you can delve deeper into the problem at hand you will be better able to understand what compromise means and how much it takes. Make a pros-cons list. Explain the reasons behind it. See what page you both are on. These make conflict more meaningful rather than a waste of time and energy.
Open your mind.
Meditation teaches us this: You are what you think. This also translates into your relationship dynamic. If your heart races or starts pumping at the thought of disagreeing or flexing your intellectual muscles at your partner, it is high time to change that to being open minded and accepting. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and know that if you want to carry out your love affair for life, then communication is all that you have got. With communication, you create openness, closeness and honesty.
Without communication, the relationship will be unsustainable.
Aim for the issue, not the person.
If you find that you are getting carried away in the argument and resorting to blaming, shaming and finger-pointing your partner, bring your awareness to it right away. Stay focused on the complication at hand. The goal is to solve the problem. Not to character assassinate.
Many a time conflict is fuelled by unspoken needs that are disguised by aggression, disconnect or confrontational attitude. If you can arrive at conflict with acceptance and love in your heart, by setting aside judgement and blame, you can pave the foundation for reaching a collective resolution.
By Reshma Raju
Certified Women’s Health Coach (USA)
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