Conflict doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. Here are 5 ways to keep your love alive even when you’re fighting.
Fighting doesn’t have to dissolve your union. In fact, conflict is a healthy part of any relationship (especially if arguments can be both peaceful and pleasant). But unless you’re careful, you can easily fall into the traps that threaten your romance. When you and your darling are in conflict, here are five ways you can keep your love alive even when you’re fighting:
1. Focused fighting
Fights can go awry when you stray off topic. If an issue arises, stay focused on that issue. Avoid bringing up other burning annoyances until the present problem has been adequately addressed. It may be tempting to drudge up every little conflict you’ve experienced at once, but nothing will get resolved this way. Piling on the problems will just muddy the waters and make the real issues unclear. Organizing and prioritizing relationship struggles helps resolve them in order of importance, and will help de-escalate anxiety, frustration and help encourage connectedness through conflict.
2. Win the war
In an argument, many people forget they are attempting to solve a problem, and instead put all of their energy into winning the argument. You may best your mate’s verbal abilities or convince the room your opinion is right, but ultimately if your issue isn’t resolved, you’ve wasted your own energy and time – additionally, you’ve most likely damaged your relationship by discouraging your partner from coming to and communicating with you in a healthy way. Instead of winning the battle, you should both be working toward winning the war. When you’ve conquered the problem and both come out understanding the other’s perspective, you’ve won.
3. Fight with kindness
Remind your partner you love and care for them while you’re fighting. Assure them you are not attacking them or their beliefs, and that you respect and value their opinions (even if they differ from yours) – remember, it’s OK to have opposing views. Even when your partner’s ideas clash against yours, that doesn’t mean someone must be demonized or made wrong. When you argue, don’t hurl their thoughts at them like a dagger or flippantly toss their feelings aside to make your own point. Sarcasm and condescension have no place in loving and healthy conflict. Instead, communicate with care and fight with kindness.
4. Listen more than you talk
Listening is the crux of communication. Feeling heard is often half the battle. When your partner feels heard they are much more likely to fully hear what you have to say. When you both listen, you both can express your side in a much more complete and respectful way. Two people screeching at each other means no one is heard and everyone feels neglected. Once one side backs off and gives the other the floor, the same respect should be offered in return.
If you can’t seem to get your point across even after you’ve made the effort to listen better, you’re dealing with a partner who needs further guidance. Interrupting, hearing without listening and walking away are communication tactics that neglect the speaker, and they will never resolve the issue at hand. Work together to avoid these negative tactics so you both can be heard.
5. Fight fair
Playing “who can hurt the other the most” is a great way to ruin a relationship. Fighting fair means combining all of the previous techniques and adding respect and appreciation. Intentionally damaging your partner’s self-esteem or making threatening gestures or comments is completely unacceptable and can be enough to end the relationship.
If you can’t control yourself in conflict then therapy and anger management might be in order. However, endangering the physical or emotional safety or integrity of your mate is not an option. Find a better way to diffuse your frustration and protect your partner from your impulses.
It’s difficult, but healthy conflict can be achieved, and each partner can have their needs met even when things aren’t perfectly peachy. Remember to treat your mate and your relationship as something you want to keep long after you’re addressing your issues.