So you’ve had a fight. We’ve all been there. In any relationship there will be disagreements, some are small and some can feel like you are on the verge of ending things. No matter the size, however, having a fight with the person you love isn’t any fun.
Not only is fighting with your partner not fun, it can also take a toll on your health. Arguing and fighting is stressful and has physical consequences such as raising our blood pressure and increasing cortisol levels, a hormone associated with weight gain. So although we won’t be able to prevent disagreements in a relationship, we should probably try to resolve them as quickly as possible.
Which means knowing the best ways to end a fight with your spouse or partner is crucial. Below are a few techniques that can help effectively diffuse tension and bring your fight to an end.
1. Create some space. When you are in the heat of the moment this can be hard to do. You have a point to make, they have a point to make, you want to be right, they want to be right, and all you can think about is making sure they know how you feel. Often loudly.
This doesn’t result in a positive outcome, however. As you feel things ramping up and the anger increasing, make a point to take a breather. If your partner isn’t of the same mindset on this, explain to them that you aren’t avoiding the topic, but that you want each of you to calm down so that you can talk logically. Depending upon the topic you may have to do this a couple of times before you can effectively get through things.
2. Bite your tongue and listen. You each want to be heard, but after you have taken some time and then come back together to discuss things, you will need to actually listen to your partner’s point of view – no matter how much you disagree with it. Talking over each other will only escalate things and bring the anger back to the surface. Keep in mind that you will have your turn too and that they will need to allow you to be heard as well.
3. Be prepared to compromise. Sometimes you just won’t get your way, and that can be okay. After you take your break to calm down and before you resume talking, put some thought into what you want to see as the outcome – and what you’ll accept. You’ll need to make sure you are open to hearing what your partner is saying and allow in your own mind for the possibility they might be right, or that there might be a solution that is different than the one you want. Being open to this will make you a better listener and more receptive to compromise. The good news about compromise is that it shows your partner that you are willing to meet them halfway, at least on certain issues. This willingness will bring you closer as a couple.
4. Talk gently and touch. You aren’t arguing with someone you hate, you are arguing with someone you love. Cruel words, harsh tones and oppositional body language don’t belong here. Even though you may be angry, remember that the person on the other side of this argument is your partner and neither one of you is trying to sink your relationship. Use calm and respectful words as you discuss things, even if it means you have to think hard about what those words are before you speak. And when it makes sense, reach out and touch. Just a touch to the hand or shoulder can reduce the adversarial nature of things for both of you.
You can’t avoid fights in a relationship. No matter how much you love someone you will eventually disagree. The most important part of the any fight is the way you fight and how you resolve it. Doing it properly can actually bring you closer as a couple and build the respect you have for one another.
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