Arguing is a sign that you care enough about each other, and your relationship, to want to be on the same page and resolve differences. And it’s also a way to express yourself and your needs, and be open and honest with your partner.
What’s important is learning how to argue in a healthy way, that helps you resolve things and grow closer together; instead of creating more tension and friction. Screaming and shouting is never a good idea, and will only make things worse. So, how do you handle disagreements like an adult?
Relationship Advice for Couples who Argue But Want to do Better
Take a time-out before jumping into an argument
Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the heat of the moment, and blurt out something you’ll regret ten minutes later. This is easily done when reacting to something your partner has literally just said or done. So pause. Take a breath. Calm yourself down first. Maybe go for a walk. Pick this up later when you’re feeling more rational and you’ve had a chance to collect your thoughts.
Think about the best way to tackle this situation, and how you want to respond in a sensitive and caring way to your partner.
Communicate openly, but with love and respect
This is what we need to learn, both as individuals and in a relationship of any kind.
It’s scary saying how we really feel and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, but this is the only way our partner can know what we need, and show up for us in the way we need them to. At the other end of the scale, it’s crucial we’re not hurting our partner in the process.
That means laying down some ground rules for when you do have a disagreement. Here are some solid ones:
- Don’t interrupt each other
- Listen and be receptive
- Speak lovingly to and about each other
Try and see each other’s point of view
Even when you’re arguing, it can really help to try and see where the other person is coming from. The reality is, we’re all different people; some of us more so than others. We won’t always see eye to eye, and that’s okay.
If you’re not on the same page when it comes to the big things, like commitment or kids, that can be difficult to work through. But the smaller things are much simpler to navigate.
Say something to your partner like, “I know you see things differently to the way I do, but I appreciate that you’re trying to see my perspective, and I want you to know I’m trying my best to see yours.”
At the end of the day, you’re meant to be a team, so be a team.
Get to the root of your arguments
Sometimes, couples argue over small, insignificant things. You know what I’m talking about. Like when he always leaves the toilet seat up, or when she leaves her clothes lying all over the bedroom.
Often, this is just the surface of the real problem. Perhaps your partner feels like they’re not being listened to or heard by you. Or maybe you feel like you’re not being supported enough in your relationship.
If you seem to keep arguing about the same, small things, it’s worth asking yourself if there’s more to it. What’s the real issue? Is it the thing you’re arguing about, or is there something else in the relationship that needs tending to?
Be considered with how you say things
When you’re saying how you feel, use the word “I” instead of “you.” This will prevent your partner from feeling attacked or blamed; plus, you’ll be taking responsibility for how you feel.
Instead of “you don’t listen to me,” say, “I feel like I’m not being heard.”
And instead of focusing on what your partner isn’t doing, or what they’re doing wrong, tell them what they can do to help you, or ask them to do something.
Instead of “you never clean up,” say, “I feel stressed that the house is so messy; can you spend ten minutes today cleaning up?”
Learn the right way to apologize
Sometimes you will need to apologize to each other, and how you do this is what matters most. Because different people want different things from an apology. Some of us want a grand gesture, while some of us want a simple and heartfelt “I’m so sorry I hurt you, and I’ll never do that again.”
If you’re not sure what means the most to your partner in times like these, ask them so you know for next time, and can apologize in the most meaningful way.
When it comes to relationship advice for couples who argue, but still love each other, it’s worth remembering that arguments are normal. They will happen. But it’s how you choose to act when they do that matters.