The most important thing for a good relationship is to learn how to argue peaceably.
Disagreements are a part of human nature and though they can be tiring at times, if they are handled properly they can be settled with no long-term damage to a relationship. Almost always, it is not topic of the argument but lack of any ground rules that make things spiral out of control.
First and foremost is the way you approach an argument, an argument occurs when two people have differing opinions on a topic, each believing that they are right. Unfortunately people approach the argument looking for control or for staking their claim to be right rather than looking for a resolution where all parties are heard and opinions debated. Remember this is a relationship not a full body contact sport like wrestling where there has to be a clear winner.
Some specific points to follow are:
Privacy matters: No arguing in public, the argument is between the two of you and that is where it remains.
The past is the past: We all have made mistakes; an argument is not the right time to bring them up. Keep the argument relevant – old grudges should be left out.
Do not make it personal: Stay focused on the topic — you have an issue, so sort it out – do not start on personal traits, if it is relevant to the topic, then approach it in a different manner that shows how you are affected by it rather than exclaim the personality trait over and over.
Listen to the other: Make an effort and listen to what your partner is trying to say – sure you might think that it has all been said before and you know what it is all about but you really might not have a clue. Besides, it lets the other person vent their feelings; and perhaps that it what is really required.
Graceful exits: The ending of an argument is critical to a relationship, notice if your partner is trying to end the argument and accept it – It could be in the form of a joke in the middle of an argument or an action such as walking back into an argument they just ran out on.
Importance scale: People disagree all the time; is everything you disagree about that important to you that you need to get mad all the time or is it something that you can let slide and leave it for the important stuff.
Watch the clock: It is an argument not a war – there has to be a time limit. If you feel that you are going around in circles, let it go and cool down. Come back to it another time.
Communication is the key in any relationship and it is the lack of it that causes friction. People tend not to speak up when something small upsets them, not wanting to create issues over something small. But these small things lead to a build-up in resentment, which could then be triggered by a small incident to boil over and cause your partner to face the full wrath of your fury.
At this point the other person is wondering what was so important that it caused all this to happen and blames you back for getting mad all the time. So next time do not let things build up and explode – Talk people; talk to each other.
- Reema Chadha,
A Business Development Manager at MDG, Kuwait, is a prolific blogger now writing for The Times Kuwait.