Tips, Tricks, and Advice

How to Have Healthier Arguments

Getting into arguments with your significant other (or anyone for that matter) is never an enjoyable time. Those arguments become even less enjoyable when one (or both) people become more focused on “being right” or “winning” the argument. It may just be me, but I’ve found that “fighting fair” in arguments is one of the hardest things to master. Emotions run high and it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters.

Here are a few ways you can clean up your fights. We want to improve the quality of them and get them more about resolving the issue and not about being the winner.

Leave out “Always” or “Never”

Yes, it can seem like the other person “always” goes out without you or they “never” take out the trash. Whatever the case may be, “always” and “never” are very extreme words. They’re also pretty combative and puts the other person on the defensive.

When I’m in an argument and someone tells me that I never or always do something, it becomes more about proving that point wrong. It can also turn into pointing out things that the other person always or never does.

Try to express yourself in a different, nicer way. “I feel like I’ve *taken the trash out a lot this week*.” Then, you can even offer a solution, ask them if they can help more, ask if anything has been keeping them distracted. Maybe there’s an underlying issue or thing going on and they just genuinely didn’t notice or they did notice and they really appreciated your extra help.

*Insert your own annoyance or feeling here*

Listen

I don’t mean listen to respond. Genuinely hear what the other person has to say. If you’re focused on something your partner says and your constructing your response, then you’re not listening. How are you supposed to grow and move forward if you’re only having half a conversation? There’s also a chance that the other person will realize what you’re doing and start doing the same thing. If you want to be heard, you also have to do some hearing.

The next time you find yourself drafting your response. Stop, breathe, and focus. Focus on their words and find the emotions that they are trying to convey to you. Then, when it is your time to talk, try to summarize what they said first, before you move onto what you wanted to say. It lets them know you were listening. Plus, maybe they didn’t properly communicate something. It gives them a chance to clarify.

No Interrupting

While you’re listening to your partner, let them get their whole entire thought out.

The reasoning here is pretty much the same as listening. So, I won’t go too deep into this. It’s just important enough that I think it should get it’s own category.

Focus

I’m going to keep this one short, because it should be obvious. Stay focused on what you two are talking about. Do not scroll through your phone. Do not channel surf. It’s disrespectful. Stay focused on the other person.

The exception: you have kids and one of them needs your attention. I would also, tentatively, accept work calls as an exception. However, that would have to be something you and your partner were comfortable with.

One at a Time

Are you guys arguing (or disagreeing) about how the housework isn’t fairly split up? Keep it focused on that. It can be easy to latch onto one thing and start arguing on that and then another and another, and the next thing you know you’ve forgotten what you were initially disagreeing about.

Resolve your current issue first. If you still want to work on different things once that’s resolved, then go for it. Just stick to one thing at a time.

No Name Calling or Belittling

Keep it respectful. Don’t call your partner mean names or belittle the things they do. This can be a range of things. Let’s rattle off a few examples:

  • “You only do…”
  • “Bitch/asshole/stupid/idiot” etc.
  • “I do…” (generally proclaiming everything you do and the few things your partner does. Very closely related to “You only do”)
  • “What do you actually do?”
  • “You have it easy”
  • “You couldn’t do what I do”
  • “You’re a bad parent”

It’s so easy to destroy someone with words. Don’t do it. You can tell someone negative (and not constructive) once and they will remember it more than all the times that you told them how wonderful they are. Don’t mess up all the positive things you and the other person have because you’re angry now.

Take a Breath

If you feel like you’re getting to a point where you’re not being productive, then take a break from the conversation. Take a few minutes and just collect yourself. Don’t just leave without saying anything. Tell your partner that you need a minute to calm down. Tell them you want to continue your conversation, but at this very moment you are too angry (or whatever it is you’re feeling) and that you want to cool down so you can remain productive in your conversation. This way you can come back in with a cool head and be able to work together to resolve your problems.


These tips seem easy, but they will take work from both you and your partner to keep your arguments healthy and productive. Don’t get discouraged and keep at it. It really makes a huge difference. Just remember that you’re a team and you’re bound to have disagreements in the future. Anything that you both can do to make those disagreements easier will strengthen and grow your relationship.

Let me know what you think in the comments! What tips do you have for people trying to improve the quality of their arguments?

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17 thoughts on “How to Have Healthier Arguments”

  1. One of the hardest things for me is when my spouse walks away during a conversation that’s important to me. I realize he needs to be in the right mindset to have an important discussion, but somehow it seems as though we are often out of synch on when those conversations should happen. I think it would be helpful to couples to identify a time and place when they can each plan to discuss any topic important to them – and be confident that they will have their spouse’s undivided attention. Maybe a standing weekly “meeting”? I’ve never been able to make it happen, but I hope this idea may help someone else.
    Joan Senio
    My Best Friend Adeline
    https://kindness-compassion-and-coaching.com

    Like

  2. God these tips sound so useful and I definitely want to show the bit about not going on your phone to my SO! Thank for sharing these and fingers crossed I can put them more into action next time.

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  3. Thank you for this blog, this is super helpful as I hate arguing and by doing all of your don’t arguments can go on for weeks. By doing it this way the argument will be much more positive and productive. Thank you, keep up the good work ☺️

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  4. This really puts things into perspective! This can also be implemented in all areas of life, not just romantic relationships. Thank you for the informative post.

    Mariam
    bossbabechroniclesblog.com

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  5. This is so helpful and has excellent points. Arguing is healthy, it’s part of being in a relationship. Bottling things up is never good but arguing shouldn’t have to always be bad either. There is a healthier way to argue without be-litting each other etc, and you’ve proven that here.

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  6. This is so true! I know I am so guilty of trying to think of my next talking point verses just listening to what my husband has to say. Sometimes, when I listen, he actually has a valid argument! It makes me wonder how many times I could have changed my mind but didn’t out of stubbornness or the fact I wasn’t actually listening. This is a great reminder to take a breath and listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am completely the same way! It’s the major one I have to work on. We will both get there! At least now we’re both on the lookout for us doing it.
      Thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. I took one look at this and knew I had to read!

    I think it is healthy to argue and even more important to encourage everyone in a family to share their thoughts and opinions, and love your positive approach to this. Some amazing conversations can take place when people can argue without turning ugly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad! I was hoping people would have that kind of reaction to this piece.

      Yes! I hope we can all learn to communicate our differences in a healthy manner. We really could accomplish so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This post has some really great points. I hate the belittling part the most. I have seen people doing this so many times it’s just sad– sometimes even to people they absolutely love and adore. You never know what your words would do to that person. Words hold the power to change a person– literally. I think we should choose our words really carefully when we are emotional.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. Its devastating to be on the receiving end of these “what not to do’s” and yes all of us are guilty of doing some of them at some point. Some of us reflect and grow and sadly others co tinue this cycle of behaviour!

      Liked by 1 person

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