Arguments can feel like a chokehold, squeezing the life and love out of a relationship. Of course, every couple argues from time to time — but problem comes when you can’t stop arguing.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There are three steps that relationship coaches teach couples to turn their arguments into productive discussions.
Step One: Hear, Validate, and Empathize with Your Partner
When we come to our partner with a concern, we first and foremost want to be heard. But if you are on the other side of the discussion, all you might hear is your partner’s dissatisfaction. A relationship coach can help you break down what your partner is saying so that you can hear and validate your partner — even when it’s hard.
How can you validate something that you might not agree with at first? By empathizing with your partner and putting yourself in their shoes. This isn’t always easy to do in the heat of the moment. Relationship coaches can help you move through this process in a safe and healing space.
Step Two: Express Needs Without Emotional Baggage
Arguments don’t always arise from new or recent needs — often they come from issues that have been frustrating one or both of you for a while, but you’ve avoided dealing with. We are often afraid to share our deepest desires or needs due to fear, shame, or other negative emotions. But sometimes, those negative emotions cannot be repressed.
A relationship counselor can help you recognize those negative emotions and deal with them so that you can express your needs and desires without emotional baggage.
You deserve to be heard and validated by your partner. As he or she learns these skills, eliminating fear and shame will be easier than ever.
Step Three: Create an Intentional Dialogue
Arguments begin or continue when we say things out of anger or insecurity. We may not think before we speak, or fail to shape our response into something productive or positive. Taking a minute to step back and assess what you are saying could help you have a dialogue that is intended to create a couple’s answer, rather than talking back and forth at each other.
Relationship coaches can help define what an intentional dialogue is and help you create one when you have an issue or a concern. Putting intention behind your words will decrease the risk of a heated argument and increase the chance of coming to an agreement sooner.
If you want to learn how to fight fair and reduce arguments, contact relationship coaches Norene Gonsiewski or Tim Higdon at Rock Solid Relationship Solutions.