No matter how happy you might be in your relationship, fights are unavoidable. Disagreements happen and every person loses his or her temper once in a while. Despite this inevitability, a fight does not have to develop into anything serious if both parties involved can be mature about it. One of the biggest skills to learn in a relationship is conflict management- learning how to resolve arguments in a civil manner.
Here are a few steps to work on with your significant other.
1. Listen. This may seem self-explanatory, but many people have trouble with it. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking about what you want to say and waiting for your turn to talk instead of actively listening to your partner. If both people don’t feel heard, there won’t be any satisfactory compromise.
2. Consider your partner’s point. Obviously, everyone thinks they have the right opinion. However, you shouldn’t just shut down and not think about things from your partner’s point of view. If you think carefully, you might come to realize that he or she is actually right.
3. Don’t be stubborn. One of the biggest problems my boyfriend and I have is that we both constantly feel the need to be right. Ever since we’ve learned to stop caring about who’s right, we’ve gotten along much better. It doesn’t really matter if you told him yesterday to take the trash out or not. It needs to get done either way, so just find a way to get it done. There’s no use arguing about it.
4. Come to a compromise. Sometimes, there’s no clear answer about who’s right. The only way to come to a resolution is through compromise. If you both want to do different activities, let one person pick what to do and the other pick where to eat. If neither of you wants to take the trash out, have one do it while the other makes dinner. If all else fails, flip a coin.
5. Have a “time-out.” My boyfriend and I have two different “signals.” If one of us snaps at the other for no real reason, the other will put a hand on the snapper’s shoulder. The person that snapped realizes his or her action, and can try to calm down. We also have a time-out signal. If a fight starts that seems to be escalating, one of us will do the signal. We then take 30 seconds to break and calm down before rationally talking about the problem. If the fight still can’t be talked about calmly, we take a 10 minute break in separate rooms. Sometimes, a little time to think and get over anger is all a couple needs.