We all know that conflicts with our partners are unavoidable, but learning how to argue respectfully strengthens a relationship. It’s natural during fights to want to resort to ranting and verbal abuse, but this only causes resentment, invites retaliation, and in the end makes matters even worse.
Here are some useful tips to follow on how to argue respectfully with your husband or partner, and hopefully, prevent the argument from culminating in a major breach.
- Keep the conflict specific:Stick to the original issue, and do not magnify or distort the problem.
- Modulate your voice and watch your body language:Quiet assertiveness makes your point a lot more effective than screaming. Don’t raise your voice.
- Be relaxed and calm while dealing with the problem:The more you badger the less willing will your partner be to cooperate. Be patient with your husband or partner if they have a personality that tries to avoid dealing with specific problems.
- The silent treatment achieves nothing:The silent treatment is a form of social sanction that consists of ignoring a particular individual, and neither speaking to that person nor responding to his or her words. This is disrespectful and should be avoided, since it will only worsen the situation.
- Don’t hit below the belt:It will not help to assassinate your partner’s character, call him names, concentrate on his flaws or damage his ego.
- Never dig up past incidents:Do not confuse the present issue by bringing up past incidents. Deal with the particular subject in hand.
- Avoid circular arguments:If you’ve had the same argument over and over, arguing about it again isn’t going to change anything. Admit, together, that the argument’s going nowhere and try to come up with new solutions. Why it hadn’t worked before is not as important as coming up with something new that might work. Brainstorm until you find a compromise or alternative that works.
- Do not involve your partner’s family:Even if your partner can’t stand his parents or some members of his family, bringing them up is a side topic that will serve no purpose. It will only make the argument tougher and harder to resolve. Just don’t go there.
- Do not cause unnecessary insecurity by threatening to leave:
- During a heated argument is not the right time to threaten to leave your partner.
- Stick to your values and your boundaries:Don’t give in on things that you care passionately about and don’t, under any circumstances, condone unacceptable behaviour such as physical or emotional abuse.
- Consider counselling if the argument with your partner cannot be resolved without being disrespectful:There are some situations that demand counselling. Before getting to the point of splitting up for good, consider counselling.
- Maintain respect:Never ever disrespect your spouse’s caste, creed, clan, or religion. This type of criticism or disrespect can cause irreversible damage.