There comes a time in every couple’s relationship where disputes will take place. A topic is put on the table, opposite opinions are expressed, tension begins to rise and now each party is becoming defensive and listening only to respond with a rebuttal and not to understand what the other person is trying to communicate.
Just like change, disagreements are inevitable and will arise as more viewpoints are shared between partners, but that doesn’t mean that these moments of opposition have to be nasty and damaging.
Effective communication can defuse any hostile situation or clear up discrepancies that may have crept into your relationship dynamic, and by following a few simple rules you will be able to move from yelling and screaming into a space of healthy communication.
Approach your partner calmly.
Disagreements can often turn into arguments that can be loud and aggressive. Before approaching your partner with topics that may be “hot button topics” (those issues that may hit close to home or below the belt), take the time to calm down, center your energy and plan out what you will say in a respectful and relaxed manner.
Approaching your partner aggressively is counterproductive toward the ultimate goal of resolving your issues. Your partner will immediately turn on the defense mode, shut down in their listening and seek to hit you where it hurts. Be calm, be positive and avoid using degrading or demeaning language. Also, be mindful of your tone of voice and the levels of your voice. Sometimes it’s not about what you say, but more so about how it is delivered.
Use active listening.
It is typical for people within an argument to be quick to speak to get their point across, but in order for the issues to get resolved and to fully have an understanding of your partner’s point of view you must listen actively. Don’t dismiss what your partner has to say simply so that you can respond with a rebuttal. Take your time to completely listen to your partner to understand his/her stance in the argument and give them the floor to get their thoughts completely out.
Write down your thoughts.
When listening to your partner, you will have thoughts or responses to certain points within the conversation. Instead of interjecting and interrupting your partner, write down your thoughts and talking points on a sheet of paper to keep your thoughts in order for when you have the floor to speak. Doing things in this way will force you to listen actively and will help you sort out your thoughts logically instead of responding out of straight emotion that could lead the conversation down a path of heated debate.
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