Stay focused on the conflict
It’s easy to stray from the real conflict when you fight in a relationship, especially when you’re on the losing side. You may start arguing about how your partner leaves you alone at a party and drag the fight all the way to how your mate doesn’t help with the chores.
But is that really helping you make a point here, or is it just leading to your partner shutting down in frustration? Always stick to what upset you or angered you. It’s easy to focus on one aspect and solve the issue instead of going all over the place.
Remember that this is not a competition
Most of us love to have the last word in an argument, which is a a very unhealthy habit that can make a small discussion, that would otherwise have been over in ten minutes, drag on for days, just so that one of partners can have the last word. An argument, however heated it may be, is not a competition, repeat this to yourself before you say: “Yes, but you said…” in an attempt to get on top of your opponent and stay there, claiming some imaginary victory. A healthy communication is when two loving people look for a compromise and harmony. The true winner in an argument is the one who first finds an intelligent way towards a harmonious resolving of the situation.
Do not use degrading or offensive language
There’s nothing constructive that can come from calling someone you love a degrading name. Insulting your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, will only fan the fire and bring you further from reaching a solution. If possible, make it a point to avoid the use of any profanity at all when addressing him or her. This will only raise tension and tempers. This kind of language threatens your partner’s dignity, which sends the message that you are looking to win an argument. What you really want should be to arrive at a solution together.
Don’t use a low blow on your lover
Sometimes, when all you see is red because you’re on the losing side, the easiest way to hurt your partner is to hit them where it hurts. By talking about how fat or ugly your partner’s become, or how much of a loser they are, you’re definitely tweaking a sensitive nerve and you may even manage to bring your lover to tears. But why should you ever do that? Just to prove that you’re right and your mate’s wrong? If you want to fight fair, always avoid a low blow that can traumatize your partner for a long time.
Always use indoor voices
You need to keep a tab on your tone and the tone of your partner. The point where either one of you resorts to yelling should be precisely the point when step back and regroup. If you cannot explain your point in a clear and calm manner, yelling won’t communicate your point any better. In fact, it will have the opposite effect. Similarly to blaming your partner, yelling only leads to defensiveness, which ultimately ends up becoming counterproductive for everybody. In order to maintain a respectful, be sure to listen to what the other has to say and to wait until he or she finishes before responding. Listening is crucial to healthy arguing.
Listen to each other
Contrary to what most people think, an argument will always help a relationship get better and help both of you understand each other. But that’s only as long as both of you respect each other’s opinions and are willing to listen to each other without cutting across.
You may feel wronged by an accusation or may have a very valid point to retaliate with. But try your best to avoid cutting your partner and listen to what they have to say. Most of the times, a show of frustration is more of a plea hoping to be heard.
Don’t gloat over your wins
When you want to fight fair in a relationship, you should learn to accept an apology with humility. By behaving in a bossy manner or gloating over the fact that your partner apologized to you, you’ll only force your partner into becoming a person who never apologizes because of the way you behave after “winning” a fight.
Learning to apologize and accept apologies with humility are a part of happy relationships. It brings both of you closer as long as either of you don’t lose respect for each other or create an egoistic wall around yourselves.
Do not ever use physical force
Fear should have no place in your dynamic with your partner. A strong relationship must have its base in mutual respect. For this reason, if you or your partner even threatens or senses the possibility that saying something could result in physical harm, you must both address this issue first and foremost. Any physical contact that one uses with the intention of any kind of physical harm to the other qualifies as force.
This one's a personal tip that has just come through years of arguing. If you're going to get in it with another person, prepare yourself for the fact that you might not necessarily be in the right, or that the other person might bring up some extremely valid points. This can be all the difference between a constructive back and forth and an unhelpful fight.
Don’t blame your failures on your partner
Did you get late for work because your partner didn’t wake you up on time? It’s really your own fault. If you wanted to wake up earlier, try and make an effort yourself. Are you constantly frustrated because you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad and not a restaurateur? Do something about it or make the best of the circumstances you have.
Don’t blame someone else for your misfortunes or your shortcomings. If you feel strongly about something, speak about it without losing your cool. It may or may not be either of your faults. Sometimes, it could all just be a big misunderstanding.
Try to be empathetic
This is a tip I actually got from a friend who has just been through relationship counseling. She noted that even though the relationship didn't end up working out, one of the most valuable lessons she learned was the importance of empathy while arguing. Maybe a friend or partner seems like they're over-reacting, but maybe it's because they're insecure. Maybe they seem overly-sensitive, but maybe they've been hurt in the past. When you think of others in these terms it can often be difficult to hold onto anger.
Remember why you’re fighting
Most couples always forget the real reason for the conflict. Always remember that both of you are fighting, not to score points or prove dominance, but only because one of you is hurt and wants to be heard. Never forget that.
If both of you find yourselves fighting over something trivial, remember that by solving it, it’ll help you have a better relationship. Instead of waiting to pounce on your partner with a barrage of accusations, try your best to end it and understand each other’s views at the end of the argument.
Kiss and make up
You may have a lot of differences or arguments in your relationship, but every single one of them can actually bring both of you closer and help either of you understand each other.
As furious as both of you may be, always hug, kiss and make up after a fight even if you couldn’t come to a conclusion. Don’t lock yourself in a room or storm out of the house. It makes things worse for both of you, and you’re only prolonging something that can end in minutes.
Arguing in a constructive and healthy way can be one of the hardest things we ask of ourselves, because it entails extreme self-control and self-awareness. However, being able to turn anger or annoyance into a conversation — as opposed to a fight — can make some of the most important relationships in our lives better and make us happier overall. Making up after a fight shows that both of you respect each other and love each other a lot to let a few small misunderstandings come in the way of the happy romance both of you share.