Couple Advice: When The Going Gets Tough
The words, the action, the argument.
Although fighting is an inevitable part of a relationship, I realized after an argument with my partner that I had forgotten how to fight, especially after spending a few years as a single woman. If the person I was dating and I got in a fight, it was easy to dismiss – and if the fight was big enough, it was easy to break up.
But fighting within the confines of a committed relationship brings about a whole new set of rules and a necessary dose of patience. In an effort to keep the fights clean and to ensure you learn from them, follow these tips when the going gets tough.
1. Don’t shoot from the hip - Prior to digging in to the heart of an issue, take time to really think about why you or why your partner is upset. Don’t just hit the ground running. Write down the problem for yourself, gain perspective, and realize why you’re upset. Once you have that figured out, it will be easier to have an adult conversation about what’s bothering you. When you haven’t spent an appropriate amount of time reflecting on why you’re upset, it’s easy to bring up things that actually don’t matter to your relationship and may result in hurt feelings.
2. No double-dipping – This argument is about today’s issue only. Do not re-hash old arguments or a problem from months ago that you never addressed when it bothered you. Stay focused on the issue at hand and resist the urge to refer back to a prior disagreement.
3. Find a cure for your post-argument hangover – Even after the “I’m sorry” has been issued, the sinking feeling from a fight can last for days. Take your partner to a romantic dinner, give him a massage, or take a hike together. Do something that both of you enjoy doing together so you can remember why you love your partner and you can both get back to being yourselves again.
Arguing with your mate is an inevitable part of being a couple; however, a disagreement, when properly handled, can result in positive growth within the confines of your relationship. When the going gets tough, the strong couples learn a new lesson and become better for each other because of it.