Arguments are a natural part of any romantic relationship. Whether you’re already married, living together or still dating, there are bound to be times when you and your partner will not see eye to eye with each other on certain matters. During these moments, a fight is sure to ensue and the once peaceful home environment can turn into a warzone. Certainly, we try as much as possible to avoid arguments because it drains us of energy and causes a lot of hurt feelings and emotions. Unresolved arguments also branch out into other issues that could potentially destroy a marriage. Arguments that are handled well, however, can strengthen a partnership and deepen the love and respect that both couples have for each other.
Why Couples Argue
When you decide to share your life with someone, you are essentially committing to share a life together. You love each other and as a result, you decide that you can’t just stand the thought of being far from each other. Thus, you both agree to live under one roof and share your time, your talent and resources with each other. You also both agree to support each other’s dreams and ambitions while at the same time working together to achieve the goals that you now share for your marriage. This may include having children, purchasing a bigger home or even building a business together.
It’s important to understand that when you agree to spend the rest of your life with another person, you are sharing your love, your creativity and your loyalty to your partner. You are not sharing your own self. This is of vital importance: When you give your entire self to the other, you have lost what makes you unique and essential in this world. You have lost the vessel which is capable of giving love and devotion to the other person. In short, you have now become hollow and empty and submissive only to the will of the other. This is not anymore a loving relationship but one marked by domination and submission. One controls, the other submits.
If this is the status of your relationship with your partner, it’s easy to understand why arguments begin. The master wants to continue to dominate the relationship and insists that what he or she says be the final word. Meanwhile, the submissive party may follow at first but over time, will realize that this is not the kind of situation that he or she wants to be in for life. Slavery is contrary to the human spirit and sooner or later, the person will want to get himself or herself back. Arguments start when both don’t budge from their positions—the master who wishes to assert his or her authority and the slave who seeks to be respected and heard. No one wants to lose—they both want to win.
The Art of Arguing
In the context of the love relationship between couples, winning an argument actually means learning how to lose. This may sound like a paradox but it’s actually one of the greatest truths of maintaining a healthy and loving relationship. When you love someone, you always want what the other person wants. You want the other person to be happy as much as you want to be happy. It’s a give-and-take relationship that always has the best interest of the other at heart.
Yet it’s a rarity to find couples who love the same things. After all, opposites do attract, right? There will always be television shows that you both won’t like or food recipes that one will find delicious and the other not. However, if you are willing to give in to your partner’s idiosyncrasies to keep him or her happy, won’t you be happy as well? If you are willing to stand the smell of an exotic cooking in the kitchen simply because your partner wants to eat it for dinner then he or she won’t mind if you will also be cooking the recipe that he or she won’t eat even if it’s the last food on earth. The art of compromise is the key to maintaining a harmonious relationship with your partner. In a love relationship, giving way to what your partner wants makes the relationship work is also a way of winning an argument.
One sure way to lose an argument is to think that you can control your partner. Even if you’re the primary breadwinner in the family, you shouldn’t seek to win an argument by thinking that you can win by controlling your partner. Threatening to withhold funds when you’re already losing the argument is not playing it fair. In the end, this kind of tactic is bound to make you lose big time because it will eventually cause the relationship to suffer. When you try to control the one you love, they’ll eventually seek freedom and that would mean you’ve lost.
Things to Keep in Mind When Arguing with Your Spouse
If controlling someone you love is no good then how should you argue with your spouse, then? Keep these things in mind the moment the cauldron starts to boil:
1. Honesty is still the best policy.
What makes domestic arguments different from all other arguments is the fact that you can always afford to be honest with your partner. You don’t need to shield yourself with lies or pretend you’re strong even if you know you’re not. When you argue with your spouse, you know that your love will give you that opportunity to honestly express your thoughts and feelings. If you’re hurt or angry, say so. Pretending will only ruin a relationship faster than you ever thought possible. To find a solution to that thorn in your relationship requires complete disclosure of all issues at hand. Only then will understanding start to take place.
2. Realize that your partner’s anger is an expression of pain.
When your husband or wife is angry with you and starts yelling and throwing things, you need to respect that anger because it is an expression of his or her pain. You shouldn’t face this head on with anger as well. That would only result to more trouble. Instead, try to be quiet and once your partner has taken hold of his or her emotions then you can say that he or she is obviously upset and hurt about something. Ask what that pain is behind their anger so that you can understand and address it. When your partner explains why he or she is so angry and make you realize the pain he or she feels then you can both work together to find a solution for it.
3. If you’re the one who got hurt, don’t let anger express your pain.
While number 2 above encourages you to understand where your spouse’s pain is coming from when he or she comes to your screaming, you have to handle your anger better. To win an argument in the midst of your anger means taking time out to process your own anger. Ask yourself: Why am I angry? The most obvious answer to this would be because you got hurt over something that your spouse did. After identifying what caused the pain then honestly communicate this with your partner. Say that you got angry because of what he or she did. This might entail being vulnerable but there is just no other way to win a domestic argument. You have to be honest 100 percent of the way or risk failure in your relationship.
4. Agree to take a time out from each other.
Once you have started to talk about the pain that caused the anger but realize that nothing seems to be working and you’re both starting to get angry again, agree to just distance yourself from each other. You don’t need to settle any misunderstanding right then and there. By taking a time out and giving yourselves and each other the time to think things through and come back to the negotiating table when your heads have cooled, you stand a much higher chance of resolving the issue.
5. Resolve the issue.
Unresolved arguments in the domestic scene can build up and resurface in the future, nastier than ever. Thus, you and your spouse need to make it a point to end any argument with a firm resolution that is acceptable to both parties. If the fight is something as simple about one partner’s habit constantly leaving the towel on the bathroom floor, for example, then the one concerned should resolve not to do so again. The other partner should also not nag about it, especially when the partner just left the towel once or twice after they have already resolved it. Sometimes, winning an argument in the spousal relationship just requires patience on the shortcomings of the other. Even if you gave in, you still end up the winner because you have made the relationship stronger.
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