So, we fight. It’s not very often and it’s not what I imagined it would be like. The longer we’re together, the better we’re able to work together. Here are some tips I think are pro. Try incorporating them into your next disagreement or serious conversation.
1. Pull A Goof
You’ll have to time the pause right for your fight, but there’s nothing to bring a couple closer together than a gentle eyebrow wiggle in the middle of a tense moment. Play this card wrong (or too often) and you’ll be accused of being unable to have a serious relationship talk. Don’t avoid difficult subjects with humor, but use them as a playing card when you want to remember that you and your partner are actually fighting together, not against one another.
2. Say “You’re Right”
Or “I didn’t say that the best way I could have” or “I said some things I did mean and some things I didn’t mean.” When you’re angry you often get defensive. If you don’t get defensive, you probably get some other emotion that doesn’t feel too hot. Whatever that emotion is can lead you to say some things that aren’t strictly true. You have to learn when to say you’re right. You don’t want to be right all the time, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the heat of it. Sometimes you should want your partner to be right, because it means they were able to see something you didn’t. That’s what a partnership is.
3. Ask Your Partner What They Mean
When you don’t quite understand what your partner is saying, ask them what they mean by repeating it back to them. In therapy this is called mirroring. Repeat what they said back to you word for word. When they hear it coming out of your mouth, they might realize that they didn’t quite phrase it exactly right. It might give them the opportunity to add more clarifying details. Be sure you don’t put words into your partners mouth, which I can at times be guilty of accidentally doing. Sometimes saying the same thing in a different way can help both partners come to an understanding about what you’re actually talking about. Best way to fix a misunderstanding in a relationship? Communicate.
Did you end a fight and things don’t feel totally 100% okey dokey yet? The cool down period is a good time to think about how your partner is feeling. At the end of a fight you’re fully feeling your own emotions. You might feel hot, you might be crying, you’re probably pretty emotional. Consider after a breath where your partner was coming from and approach the conversation a second time with as much understanding as you can muster. Not all arguments find light after one conversation.
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