It seems arguments are a big part of most relationships–but they don't have to be. And they shouldn't be.
By the time you're in a full blasted "argument" with your spouse, several things have gone very wrong and you're only making a bad situation worse. You've passed the point of being productive, and now you're just mad or resentful and letting your partner know it.
As with everything else, you need to make a choice: continue to act like a 6th grader and throw your temper tantrum (usually followed by a big pity party) or grow up. Learn that marriage is the place you are supposed to be your best, and the place where the needs of the relationship are more important than your personal needs. As spouses, you should be demonstrating tons of respect, kindness and affection to each other so your relationship is good, and more importantly that you are modeling that behavior for your children...because they WILL copy your behavior…good or bad, and then that's how they'll act in their marriage. Would you want them to act like you do? If not, try this change in your next disagreement and see how it gets to the solutions.
The key to success
Every couple disagrees. It's normal. It's just not possible that any two people think the same way about everything. So when there is that difference, the first thing is to realize that you're not supposed to shove your view down your partner's throat and make sure he or she agrees with you. Agreement is not the point. It should come 2nd after understanding. Both of you have an obligation to be courteous and respectful of the difference, then FIND OUT WHAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND about the other person's view. Couples who have great relationships know it's that missing piece that leads to ultimate agreement.
How many times have you said, "He/she just doesn't get it!" when you argue?
When you've abandoned kindness and are going for the throat, being mean and saying all sorts of damaging things to each other, you're way beyond understanding, and we won't even comment on the maturity level problem. So back up. At the first sign of a difference, slow down and sincerely ask, "I'm genuinely curious why you feel that way. Can you help me understand? Am I missing something?" Now of course this only works if you actually are sincerely asking...and genuinely curious. Put YOUR need to talk about your opinion aside for a second and be interested in finding out what you don't know. So often it's those little pieces of information that make all the difference in finding a great solution.
Talk about SOLUTIONS, not the PROBLEM
Successful (respectful) problem solving is one of the key ingredients to a great marriage. So the other trick to great resolutions is to shift what you talk about. When your focus and attention is all about the problem, you're not in the right place. It's usually pretty evident there is a difference or "problem."As soon as that's obvious, stop talking about the problem and start talking about what to do to fix it. If a sledgehammer crashes through your windshield, you don't want to waste time counting how many pieces of glass there are, measuring the size of the hole, or computing the trajectory of the sledgehammer as it hit your windshield....just go get a new windshield.
For more information about and great advice from Julie Nise, visit her website at www.aimcounselingcenter.com.