Even if you are both committed to working on yourselves and the relationship, there will always be times when emotions are running high and tempers get flared. The vast majority of times an argument is purely a misunderstanding that turns into a clash of 2 egos – our need to be right.
This can lead to blaming, complaining, accusing, demanding, resenting and doubting. When things escalate further into an all out battle, name calling often happens, leading to further hurt on both sides. There’s a big difference between disagreeing, arguing and fighting. I’ve done the latter in past relationships and learned from the mistakes.
The closer you are to someone, the easier it is to bruise or be bruised. If you fight all the time, your Love will eventually die a death. One or both of you will end up suppressing feelings because you can’t face another argument.
You will end up punishing them by withholding love, either consciously or subconsciously, which will keep the peace for a while, but ultimately result in disconnection. So here are a few tips to avoid having raised voices and a full on fight with your significant other, thus avoiding future hurt and giving the relationship the best chance to flourish: Most disagreements turn into arguments because we refuse to understand the others’ point of view, merely because of the way we are being approached.
If we work hard to make each other feel understood, despite the fact that we may not agree, then we can show them that they are respected and validated. Try to understand how you are not giving your significant other what they need and work out the steps that you need to take to meet their needs. Develop good communication skills and use loving and respectful communication. Work out each others’ Love language – how both yourself and your partner need to be shown Love. According to the book: “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, the 5 different Love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation.
- Quality Time.
- Receiving Gifts.
- Acts of service.
- Physical touch.
We all have one of these needs as a primary and others as secondary needs, but we are most likely to give our partner what we want to receive ourselves. If their upbringing is different to your own though, it is very possible that the way you need to be loved is different from their needs and all your efforts may be shooting an arrow wide of its target.
By reading the book and testing each other for primary and secondary needs, we can work towards a goal of giving the love our partner needs, whilst enabling our partner to show us the love we need. If you can create a space between your ego and your deeper sense of self, through Mindful awareness (Mindfulness) then you are in a far better position to keep things fair and factual and be kind. Being kind in an argument does not mean being a pushover, it means being direct about what you want, whilst watching how you verbalise your intentions.
This means taking a moment to think about your words before you spit them out. The wrong choice of words can cause hurt feelings, which may not only flare things up in the moment, but cause hurt for days, weeks, or even years into the future (if your relationship gets this far). If the disagreement begins to get heated, think about taking a time out and setting aside a mutually beneficial time in the near future to talk about it. This is good on 2 levels:
- It can show your partner that you validate their feelings, by making the situation important enough to devote future time to it.
- It allows the emotion behind the argument to die down. We all say or feel things in the heat of the moment and then regret them often minutes or hours later. Scheduling a time in the future to talk about things means that you are both more likely to look at the facts and ask yourself the question: “Am I being fair”.
Many of us crave a bit of drama in our relationships, even if we don’t realise we are doing it. Creating drama serves the purpose of constantly testing how someone feels about us, by doing or saying things for a reaction.
It can be very destructive and, if you feel you are a person who constantly craves drama, then it may be worth looking into your past and how your core beliefs (abandonment, mistrust, disconnection) are affecting the way you communicate now.
Try reading: “Love Me, Don’t Leave Me” by Michelle Skeen, which offers powerful insights into overcoming your core beliefs and “Overcoming the self-fulfilling cycle of mistrust, clinginess and heartbreak and start building lasting, trusting relationships”.
In a healthy relationship, you should aim to eliminate drama and pettiness wherever possible and avoid the temptation to pick on small faults or actions. When you can be mindful enough to realise that we are all different and that it is OK for 2 people to have a different opinion on a subject, then it will help greatly.
It is the job of the ego to try and force your opinion on someone else, or change their opinion to match yours. This is how most people live, but it’s not OK. Pick your battles. Take space and time to think if the problem really is a problem, or if you need to learn to be more patient, open minded and accepting of your partner’s differences.
It’s OK to be different and, having a woman in your life who is strong, independent and has her own opinions is a good thing; if you both embrace these differences and keep an open mind, it can only help by bringing growth to both of you.
If the thing you are arguing about becomes a sticking point, it can really help to keep a journal, or write things down. By journaling your open thoughts and feelings for your eyes only, it is usually possible to work out if you are being unreasonable, either once you have written the words down, or by looking at them later when the emotions have died down. It also helps to diffuse your emotions simply by getting them out there. If journaling isn’t your bag, then maybe try a tip from “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray. Writing Love letters to your partner, whether you give them to her or not, can be very cathartic. Structuring the letters by giving reasons why you are angry, sad, fearful and regretful, followed by expressing your Love and putting into words the response that you hope to get, allows you to:
- Get the understanding you need.
- It gives your partner necessary feedback in a loving and respectful way.
- It motivates change in a relationship.
- It creates intimacy and passion.
- It teaches your partner what is important to you and how successfully to support you.
- It helps couples to start talking again when communication breaks down.
- It teaches us how to hear negative feelings in a safe way.
In conclusion; Work out ways to understand your partner, stay mindful and show respect, take a time out if needed, eliminate drama, pick your battles and, if all else fails, write it down. Always remember this: Over time, people will forget your words and may even forget your actions, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.