Every couple fight and have an argument, but not every fight has to be the finish of a relationship.
It’s inevitable that couples will argue and fight in a relationship is completely normal and expected.
Arguments happen in every relationship, even in the best ones, but how you argue is that matters.
In long-lasting, happy, and healthy relationships, both partners can use certain strategies to fight properly so they can disagree or express dissatisfaction or even get actually mad without hurting each other.
If your arguments or fights makes you or your partner feeling emotionally battered, bad about yourself, misunderstood, or resentful, then the way you are fighting could hurt your chances of staying together.
In this article, Shivani Misri Sadhoo who is Delhi’s best Marriage Counsellor talks about 5 essential do’s and don’ts for having productive arguments (and a long, happy relationship).
Phrase Your Dissatisfaction As A Complaint Not As A Contempt Or Criticism
When you make a complaint, you describe a certain behavior that you did not like, what you thought it meant, and how it made you feel. Then, you tell what you wish they would do instead.
It is not an assassination of character or an accusation. A complaint paves a way for a conversation about something that disturbed you. It leaves scope for the possibility that your interpretation was wrong and lets the other person clarify what they intended.
Here is an example when complaining: When you looked away from me while I was narrating you a story, I felt like you were not interested, and you thought I was irritating. I wish you had not suddenly look away and done other things while I am talking to you.
The receiver of these words could feel like their attention and opinions are essential.
Now an example of a criticism: You are so irritating when you turn away while I am talking.
Calling your partner irritating is a character assassination because it is not talking about the behavior, it is talking about the person.
Example of contempt: I am tired to death of trying to communicate with you when you keep looking here and there. It is useless. The receiver of this sentence could feel hated, not valued.
Stick To Single, Specific Incident
Never bring in other similar past incidents as evidence of a character flaw or shortcoming. That is not a way of resolving a problem.
Rather, when you are arguing, try to restrict the discussion to just one specific incident. It is more likely to end well because the receiver of the complaint will still feel generally valued and not like he/she has been accused of having a fatal, repeating flaw.
Begin With Hearing And Validating, When Receiving A Complaint
Always begin with at least one compassionate sentence when receiving a complaint. An angry person requires their point to be heard before they can listen.
A successful plan is to show that you understand what the angry person is saying by repeating and validating what they told. You will be surprised how much it actually defuses anger and calms people down.
It does not mean that you agree that their interpretation is right. You still have the right to disagree with your partner’s point of view and present yourself fairly. But, if you want your story to listen as well, then show them you are listening first.
Do Not Criticize Or Demonstrate Contempt
Criticism and contempt are both a form of character assassinations. Criticism is milder, contempt is more hateful. Either of these communicates dislike, disrespect, and is a guaranteed descent into a damaging fight.
If you phrase something as criticism or contempt, it obviously elicits defensiveness or retaliation from your partner. And there is no rerouting that conversation could go in a positive direction.
Do Not Mock Or Impersonate Your Partner Sarcastically
Never ever do this. It absolutely never has a good outcome. And it will make you seem like the bad guy.
Though it may appear like venting off some steam or might seem good to you, it feels extremely disrespectful, ridiculing, and hurtful to your partner.
Mocking or sarcastically impersonating your partner in distress is considered to be the kind of contempt that is a huge predictor of a breakup.