Keeping the fight fair

Anger brings out less than desirable sides of us. Manifestations vary; it could be a war of silence, or it could be dealing with a spousal support lawyer. Anger is truly part of the human experience, and it can go both ways- it could create an avenue for positive transformation or the decline of something we once thought dear. That’s why there’s emphasis of playing fair when in a heated conversation with a partner.

If you’ve noticed your arguments are damaging the relationship, consider making these changes.

Start your statements with “I feel.”

Most have an initial brain freeze with this suggestion. It is likely because we think that it’s their fault we are feeling as we are. However, starting with “I feel” firstly, removes the attack aspect off the table. It shows that, despite what they did, you’re taking ownership of what you’re feeling. It is also notifying them the effect the said words and action had over you. When you remove blame from the argument, you’re giving the other person to choose other avenues to respond and not get stuck with being defensive.

Hold your tongue and listen

When your partner is talking, don’t interrupt. It’s a sign that you’re not listening and immediately leads to communication breakdown. It is the likely reason you’re both having the same argument time and again. When you’re quiet, you have time to notice other things; their body language, how what they are saying makes you feel. It also helps down on you the gravity of what is going on.

Pause and think, and communicate the same

Silence is often mistaken for punishment. It also opens room for misinterpretation. A person can deem you cold, an escapist, a bad listener and someone who downright doesn’t care. However, it could be that you need time to process the information. If you’re in an argument and need to process your thoughts and emotions, say so. Take a few breaths to be calm enough to state that you need time to think. However, don’t just say it, mean it. Equally, don’t drag it out for too long, it will only lead to another argument.

Be okay circling back to a time when you’re both calm

We can’t always assume that our partner will be rational. You might, despite the urge, have to bite your tongue and be the bigger person despite their being wrong. Aim to end the argument as amicably as possible. It might include an apology you might not want to give. It shows that you care about how you made them feel all the same. When you’re both in a calmer and perhaps more loving place, gently lay down your side of the story.

Don’t forget to start with “I feel…”