Updated: Sep 10, 2019
If you're in a relationship, you can vouch for the fact that fights happen. Whether they're big or small, when you spend so much time with someone, disagreements are inevitable. You can spend every day with a person but feel like they're a stranger when it comes to communication. This doesn’t mean your relationship is not salvageable, however, there are ways to turn the fight into a productive conversation.
What Brought Us to this Point?
When conflict happens there has to be a trigger for it. Maybe somebody was bothered by something, and their attempts to voice it resulted in an argument. That criticism was not perceived well by their partner, and the conversation turned into a fight.
When conflict erupts, it can escalate so quickly that nobody has a chance to think or reason. Hostility can quickly take over, leading to name-calling or yelling. This is why it can be good for the couple to take a step back and ask themselves, "What got us to this point?"
I bring this up because a bad argument can bring out the worst in people. When you’re both riled up you might say really harsh things you can’t take back. Also, the topic you were arguing over may get lost as other arguments are rehashed.
One of you may bring up a situation that happened two years ago, while the other partner is trying to talk about what originally started the fight. The argument is then about winning, not finding a solution.
Once the situation turns hostile, permanent damage is far more likely. When you’re seeing red, you’re much less likely to think about how your words impact your partner. Hurtful insults are tossed around, and past mistakes, which were agreed to be let go, are revisited.
When a state of extreme anger takes over, it’s human nature to let go of that sensitivity one would normally have for their partner. In the end, even if the fight does result in the couple finding a solution, both will carry the pain from the attacks targeted at them. As a result, ammunition for the next hostile argument is given, creating a vicious cycle.
Collect Your Thoughts
Your head is spinning, you feel the rage building up in your body, and you are about to rattle off 25 different things to put your partner in their place. This is when you should make the choice to walk away and collect your thoughts.
Now, I am not suggesting locking yourself in a room and pretending the problem isn't there. What I am suggesting is walking away, giving yourself a chance to calm down, and approaching the situation with a new attitude.
Taking a step back from the situation gives you an opportunity to express your concerns in a healthy way. When you both feel comfortable and have calmed down enough to re-enter the discussion, try again. You will find the energy in the room has changed greatly, and you will be glad you didn’t react in the heat of the moment.
There is a lot of debate around walking away in a situation. Some feel it can be healthy to release your frustrations candidly. I do agree that sometimes yelling happens, regardless of what you do to avoid it. However, this should not become a habit in your relationship.
As romantic partners, your goal should be to support and love each other. If big arguments become a habit in your relationship, the line between healthy arguing and toxicity can be blurred quickly.
How Do We Avoid Blowing Up Again?
Something that is extremely important when communicating with your partner, and I cannot stress this enough, is to learn to look at the situation from their point of view. Too often we are so stubborn and set on "winning" an argument. When you love a person, how can a winner be decided if one person is hurting?
Communicating with a partner should not be seen from a winning or losing standpoint. All too often conflict comes from a lack of understanding on one or both sides. As a result, both become upset when their feelings are not being understood.
This is by no means an easy task. It will take patience and work. It is human nature to be passionate about our own thoughts and beliefs, and to not take it lightly if we feel that is challenged.
We spend so much time with our significant other in our lifetime, they are going to strike a nerve nobody else can. This is why it is so important to try to understand their perspective. Why did they express that feeling? Why do they consistently make that snide remark? Why are they being quiet lately? Why are they ignoring my requests?
Asking questions rather than talking at each other opens up that line of communication we all want. Understanding how your partner thinks will make your bond stronger. Think about it, you’re taking a dive into their brain to understand their deepest feelings!
An open line of communication will create a sense of safety for both of you. That’s what we all want in a relationship right?
So, next time you feel your rage building up towards your partner, I urge you to stop and think. View the big picture instead of a fight that is happening right now. The more you practice this, the closer you will become with your partner.