One of the challenges that Ive faced in my romantic relationships is maintaining the ability to fight fair when standing in the heat of an argument. Like many others, I’ve experienced moments where I become increasingly angry and upset when I feel that Im being lied to or disrespected by someone I deeply love. Life has taught me an important lesson about how to handle myself during these face to face interactions. Ive learned how important it is to choose my words carefully. Its often what we say during a second of frustration that causes our significant other pain that sometimes can’t be forgiven or forgotten. There are ways to argue and express our feelings without resorting to below-the-belt tactics.
NEVER RAISE YOUR VOICE…
Remaining calm and speaking in a soft, conversational tone when you are angry can be extremely difficult. However, you must keep in mind that an argument isn’t won by the person with the loudest voice. It is won by the person with the most compelling argument. I have the ability of drawing people into me by delivering my words with passion. However, most individuals are drawn in to people when they speak in a tone that is soft and steady. Also, remaining calm during an argument doesn’t present your partner with an ‘easy OUT’. They can’t escape the debate by accusing you of ‘yelling too much‘ or ‘talking to them as if they are a child’.
GET YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER ON YOUR SIDE FROM THE BEGINNING…
The easiest way to hold the power during an argument is to initially present the points that hold favor with your significant other. Present issues related to your argument that you already know he/she agrees to. Before telling him you know that he’s flirting with other people on Facebook, simply say, ‘I am sure you agree with me when I say that our relationship wouldn’t work if I was spending quality time with my ex, right?’ You want to play the psychological game of opponent VS. comrade. From the beginning, present questions and ideas that place him in your present position. Force him to see your point of view by having him verbally agree to questions or statements that flip the script.
ASK QUESTIONS & LISTEN
Even in situations when you have solid proof to support your argument or accusations, allow your significant other to explain the WHEN, WHY, WHAT, WHO, HOW. Sometimes, even if they are withholding the entire truth, your partner is more likely to open up if you are giving them an opportunity to give their side of the story. Let him/her feel that you are open to LISTENING to their retelling of the events in question. If not, they will quickly resort to the defense, ‘Damn! why won’t you let me talk?'; ‘Im not talking about this because you aint even listening to what I gotta say.'; ‘Well since you know every damn thing, what’s the point of us even talking about this?’ Don’t give them an opportunity to escape the issues by placing blame upon you.
One of the first mistakes that many of us make when arguing our point or debating an issue is telling the other individual that they are WRONG. This only puts our partner on the defense. In this instance, he/she shuts down and most often stops listening to our concerns. Never discredit your significant other by dismissing their counter argument as being WRONG. Instead, use your facts and evidence to prove the point that they didn’t make the best decision and their actions were indeed WRONG.
DON’T PLAY DIRTY. NO HITTING BELOW THE BELT.
Please don’t resort to name calling or other personal character jabs. Attack the argument, not the person. Personally criticizing someone’s entire character during an argument will also force them to either shut down or retaliate. Once the two of you start verbally going back and forth about one another’s character flaws, the central focus of the argument is lost.
STICK TO THE SUBJECT
Don’t divert the topic. Don’t begin bringing up issues from the past that have absolutely nothing to do with the present argument or issue. You can’t continue to make your significant other feel guilty or responsible for issues that you’ve previously forgiven. Also, don’t allow them to get you entangled in a debate about issues that don’t pertain to the present concerns. Always return to the original topic if the argument begins sailing south. If you begin tapping into other issues, this leaves the initial subject open and unresolved.
KNOW YOUR FACTS
Do not present the issue until you are able to make a very strong argument. Do not state something is true unless you absolutely know it is and can present solid evidence to support the case. The ‘he said-she said-I heard-I was told’ presents a very weak defense. Your significant other will challenge you with, ‘Oh…so now we’re allowing other people to interfere in our relationship?’ Make sure that you are presenting the issue with such solid proof that it leaves them blustering and fumbling over their words. Hold the power by presenting nothing less than the solid truth.
Arguing with the one we love is never a pleasant experience. In fact, we often try to avoid intense discussions for it creates distance, sadness and awkward moments in our relationships. However, couples who are able to create and sustain long term relationships are the ones who aren’t afraid to verbally address their mess. If handled properly, arguments have the ability to bring a couple closer when changes are made by one or both parties. Avoid an argument with your partner if you can. Simply be prepared to fight fairly if they lay an issue on the table and challenge you to explain yourself.
‘To settle an argument, think of what is right; NOT who is right.’