And Tools To Keep The Peace
Every relationship can benefit from a good fight once in a while. A relationship without conflict is a relationship that lacks depth or honesty, which isn’t conducive to intimacy. This is not to say that all fights are beneficial or necessary. Any man who’s ever had a 5 inch stiletto chucked at his head knows that when things get really ugly, no good can come of it.
Thank god women have bad aim, and thank god your kitchen plates are from Ikea. Besides, broken objects can be replaced, but hurtful words can be irrevocable. Unless you and your woman can learn to communicate in a healthy way, verbal attacks against your partner can damage your relationship beyond repair.
A controlled argument is like a bonfire. It can shed light on feelings you’ve been repressing and can help a couple release some built up tension. When things get heated, emotions get raw and this can be an opportunity for a couple to express their fears, doubts, frustrations and desires. Avoiding confrontation leads to resentment and allowing resentment to grow is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire. Before you know it, you have a wildfire.
So keep calm and argue on. Resist the temptation to get defensive or combative or to stonewall. Be present and respectful and you will come out on the other end of this argument with a better understanding of this person you love. Here are some guidelines on how to keep your arguments productive:
1. Listen and repeat:
There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Listening means you have understood what the other person has said with a clear and open mind. If you are thinking about your response or interrupting your woman while she is talking, then you are not listening.
There is no way to make progress in an argument until it’s clear what you are arguing about. One way to improve communication is to repeat what your partner has just said before responding to her. This confirms that you heard her correctly and gives her a chance to clarify the message before you react to it. It may sound tedious, but it’s far less draining then yelling at each other for hours and getting nowhere.
2. Validate her:
Once you’ve repeated what your woman has said and understood her point clearly, then it is necessary to validate her, regardless of whether you believe she’s right. Validating each other is basically saying “I value you and respect you, even if I don’t necessarily agree with you.” Once you have validated your woman, her need to be understood will be satisfied and she will be open and calm enough to hear your opinions. Often you will find that your argument is not about a disagreement at all but simply a miscommunication that triggered hurt feelings.
3. Don’t try to reason:
Most men argue with logic and reason, while women build their case based on emotions and intuition. Both are valuable viewpoints and very real to each person. While it’s not necessary to eschew reason, it is often a useless tactic when communicating with a woman who is upset. Try to empathize with a woman’s way of processing things, and if you can’t understand her, at least listen and validate. Most importantly, don’t resort to accusing your woman of being unreasonable, crazy, too sensitive or wrong, unless your are trying to get a 9-iron through your windshield.
4. Remember you love her:
What is the point of winning when the reward is being kicked to the curb? Remember, you goal is not to win the argument but to maintain harmony and intimacy with the person you love. And when you can look at your woman during an argument and remember that you love this person, it can defuse a lot of the hostility. It’s easier to be open and empathetic when you are fighting for the sake of making the relationship better. If you argue with the attitude that you are both on the same team and that you are just trying to clarify the rules of the game, then your woman will be inspired to play nice as well. Reassure her that you love her and that you want this to work, and then everybody can win.
5. Know her triggers:
Once you’ve been in a relationship long enough, it will become obvious what your recurring issues are. These primary issues usually stem from you and your partner’s emotional triggers, such as your childhood wounds. You will both have triggers and you will inevitably trigger each other. This emotional baggage is the Achilles heel of any relationship and requires a great deal of care and caution.
If you take the time to understand why some things make your woman so hurt and reactive, then you can prevent a lot of conflict by being protective of her wounds. Humans are vulnerable and flawed creatures, and intimate relationships require work to deal with these imperfections. So make your life easier by putting effort into accommodating each other’s weaknesses, and you will be able to make those big, recurring arguments more healing.
6. Pick your battles:
There will always be things about your woman that will annoy you. But if the good outweighs the bad in your relationship, it may be worthwhile to just let some shit go. Arguments that pertain to your needs and desires are valuable topics to address. But fighting about who washed the dishes last or which movie to watch is simply not worth it. Learn to compromise on the little stuff so when you have a real problem to work out, your woman will be more willing to change.