Everyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows very well that you cannot escape arguments. Sometimes even the most mundane discussions, such as choosing a place for dinner, can quickly escalate into a not so healthy argument. Before you start arguing about whether there’s a way to do it healthily or not, let me stop you right there because there is – not according to me, but science.
How to Become a Healthy Arguer
Forget about the perfect argument template. Such a thing doesn’t exist in relationships. Instead, focus your energy on becoming a healthy arguer that will then help you both have a healthy discussion.
- Show your face: Instead of sending an apology text, make sure you communicate in person. One study found that couples that do this are happier.
- Try meditation: Not necessarily while you argue, but overall. Research says meditation can help us with self-control, which will stop us from using hurtful words in our discussions.
- Focus on today: Leave the past where it is, in the past. Whenever you’re arguing, try to stay with what’s happening now. Research says that when you stay thinking about the past looking for answers, you’re more likely to remain stuck in your situation.
- Let it go: If you’re holding grudges based on what happened, you won’t move past it. Again, leave the past where it belongs – in the past. Holding grudges can manifest physically, making things worse, not better.
Signs of a Healthy Argument
Whenever I argue with my partner, I picture us in our therapists’ office. To me, this forces me to think there’s an intermediary between us watching the whole shebang. Sometimes, I almost hear her asking the right question to steer us towards the right outcome.
Over time, you’ll be able to notice the signs of a good argument versus the characteristics of a toxic conversation. Not to mention, you’ll start developing healthy relationship habits. Both are as important to know as they’re the difference between a relationship that ends and one that thrives and stays together.
There’s a Pause
When an argument gets heated, couples that have healthy discussions are more self-aware and tend to pause for a moment. It’s’s all about being mindful and in the moment. Instead of continuously throwing arguments with no meaning or validation, these types of couples can take a step back.
Try: Asking to stop for a second or to revisit the conversation at another time. Don’t dismiss the talk because it is uncomfortable though, be aware that you’ll revisit the topic when you’re both in a more stable mindset.
There’s No Blaming
When you’re having a fight, name-calling, finger-pointing, and blaming, your partner will not do much for the relationship. Instead of attacking your partner, consider tapping into your empathy skills and make sure you’re coming from a softer place.
Try: Instead of blaming them for something, speak from your heart. Share how their actions made you feel and how you’re feeling right now versus just blaming them for doing something. When you do this, there’s an opportunity for an apology and repair.
There’s a Plan
Well, not a written plan, but an actionable one. A healthy argument shouldn’t end in an apology that shoves everything under the rug and calls it a day. Relationships are hard work, and sometimes that means trying to fulfill the promises you make during arguments.
Try: Revisiting the argument a couple of times to make sure you’re on the same page. Discuss in an open and transparent conversation that specifies what you’re expecting from one another. Making sure you both understand what the next steps are is what will help you repair your relationship and keep moving forward.
A Note from GR8NESS
Listen, relationships are complicated and sometimes can drive us insane. However, when you’re working in harmony, relationships can be a beautiful thing. If you feel as if you’re always arguing – and not in a healthy way – consider bringing up the idea of seeing a couples” counselor.
From experience, I can tell that it won’t be an easy or fun conversation, it might take time for your partner to open up to the idea of a stranger listening to your issues, but in the end, they might see where you’re coming from and give it a try. If they don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek counseling on your own to help you navigate your relationship dynamics better. You got this!