According to clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Manly, couples argue up to seven times per day on average. This doesn’t mean you should be satisfied with how often you find yourself arguing with your partner, but it should give you hope for your relationship and help you understand that you’re not experiencing anything uncommon. In fact, understanding that you and your partner’s arguing is normal will help you stop fighting in your relationship.
The difference between a couple that argues seven times a day, and a couple that argues once a week, or even less often, is their ability to communicate with each other.
If you want to learn how to stop fighting in your relationship and become the couple that argues less often, these 10 strategies will help you get there. It just takes a little time, patience, and practice.
1. Cool Down Before Trying To Communicate
When we’re on the defense, we’re capable of saying some pretty hurtful things. The reason we do this is to protect our egos and stand up for the way we define ourselves.
If a heated argument is on the rise, one of the best things you can do is just take a few minutes and cool down. This will give you time to gather your thoughts and prepare yourself for a session of effective communication.
If your partner is continuing to argue, explain to them that you’d like to talk about everything when you’re calm and ready to truly hear what they have to say.
2. Avoid The Word 'You'.
If you’re trying to communicate your feelings with your partner, using the word ‘you’ will just keep them on the defense.
Instead of saying “Why do you always do things like that!”, restructure your sentence making yourself the subject: “When I see you doing that, it really makes me upset”.
Even though the word ‘you’ is still in the sentence, the delivery is far less aggressive. This will deliver the information to your partners mind instead of their shield of ego.
3. Address The Conflict Right Away
If your partner says or does something that upsets you, don’t let your anger build up throughout the day. Doing this can cause you to jump to conclusions without seeing the full picture.
Give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and analyze your feelings, then when you’re ready, explain to your partner why you’re upset and how what they said or did makes you feel.
This step can save you from spending your entire day upset for no reason.
4. Never Follow Your Partner Through The Home
When you’re in the middle of an argument and you’ve yet to get your point across, it can be tempting to follow your partner into the other room when they try to create space from the situation. It’s extremely important that you never do this. Taking away your partner’s sense of space and security will make them feel cornered and they may say, or do whatever it takes to get you out of their space.
If your partner walks into the other room while you’re arguing, let them. You will both finish the discussion at a later time. Use that time to reflect and prepare yourself to effectively communicate.
5. Don't Be Disrespectful (Name Calling)
No matter how angry or upset you are, name calling is inexcusable. Disrespecting your partner by calling them names is like taking an axe and chopping away at the pillars of your relationship. If the behavior continues, one day the relationship will come crashing down and there will be no love left to restore it.
If your partner is name calling and you’ve already expressed to them how hurtful it is, but they continue, you should seek relationship counseling immediately. Name calling is verbal abuse and can leave you with long-term emotional damage if it’s not addressed quickly.
6. Analyze Yourself - Why Are You Upset?
Stopping the fighting in your relationship can come from something as simple as a three second thought.
Before you engage your partner with unnecessary conflict, ask yourself why you’re actually upset. It’s normal for us to carry emotion with us throughout the day or for even longer periods of time. There could be conflict going on in the workplace, with your kids, or with your friendships.
Before snapping at your partner for something they’ve said or done, make sure that they’re the one you’re actually upset with. You may be able to avoid a three hour argument with just three seconds of thinking.
7. Acknowledge Your Partner's Feelings
One of the most effective ways you can stop fighting in your relationship is to just acknowledge your partner’s feelings. This doesn’t even mean you have to agree with them. Just saying something like, “I can see why me saying that would upset you”, could defuse their anger instantly!
When you acknowledge your partner’s feelings, they no longer feel the need to get their point across to you, because you’ve just verbally told them that you recognize why they’re upset. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to easily transition into explaining why you’re upset about the situation, or just apologize and call it a day.
8. Never Let Your Friends Get Involved
If you’re arguing with your partner, one of the worst things you can do is get your friends involved. Involving people in your relationship’s conflict creates division between you and your partner. The division created will make your partner feel like you’re no longer on their side, and they may even feel like you’re being disloyal.
Engaging in this behavior even once can create damage and distrust in your relationships.
The exception to this rule is if there has been abusive behavior in the relationship, in which case, you need to involve trusted friends and family to safely remove you from that situation.
9. Communicate In The Morning
While some relationship counselors say you should never go to bed angry, Dr.Samantha Rodman disagrees saying, “When you have a good night’s sleep, you can much more easily see your partner’s position and empathize, which means that making up is finally possible.”
Sometimes your emotions can be blown way out of their normal levels at the end of the day when you’re tired and ready to go to bed.
Instead of trying to stay up all night arguing back and forth with each other, agree to go to bed and talk about everything in the morning. You might just wake up not angry at all.
10. See a Counselor
A lot of people see relationship counselors as a last resort before a divorce, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are couples that have been going to counseling from the very beginning of their relationships that couldn’t be happier. This is because a licensed psychologist is trained well in effective communication strategies and they’re able to help you express how you feel without causing conflict.
A relationship counselor is also an unbiased perspective. This allows them to mediate conflict without their own personal feelings getting in the way.
Avoiding fights in your relationship is challenging to learn and it will take a lot of time, patience, and discipline. These ten strategies must be put into practice on a daily basis and after some time, you will begin to recognize an argument before it happens, effectively communicate through the conflict, and have quick resolution.
Everyone is different which means not all of these strategies may work with your partner, but if you’re in a relationship with someone who truly cares for you, just the effort you put into improving this area of your relationship will make a great difference and draw you even closer together.
- If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, whether you’re a man or a woman, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- Looking for counseling? Here’s a list of some of the best online relationship counseling programs.
- A great book that will help you change the way you approach communication in your relationship: Communication Miracles For Couples.
- Visit our community and share with us some effective strategies you use to stop the fighting in your relationship. Iron Canteen Community