These ideas can really help defuse arguments.
You can get Aleteia inspiration and news in your inbox. Our specially curated newsletter is sent each morning. The best part? It's free.
Most of us would like to know how to prevent arguments — or at least stop them before they gain momentum. Well, there are a few methods that can be used in a relationship to do just that. Here are some ways to avoid a big fight, and how to turn it instead into an open conversation with your spouse or significant other.
Go for a run!
Or for a walk, depending on your physical condition. When you’re upset, you have more tension and energy, and it’s up to you to decide what you do with it and how you release it.
Physical exercise is a much better and healthier way to use that energy than engaging into a fight with your spouse. Additionally running (and exercise overall) create endorphins which make you feel happy. There is a good chance that after a jog your tension will go away and you will be in a much better mood.
Recognize when your spouse is right
There are few more frustrating things than when your spouse totally disagrees with you, or has a point of view 180 degrees different from yours. Next time, before your quarrel gets to a higher emotional level, try to find the aspects on which you both agree and have similar opinions. Then, calmly and with love, discuss the things you disagree about, not only listing them but also talking about why you feel the way you feel.
Why is this so important? The point is that if it’s important enough that you’re willing to fight about it, then you need to support it with reasons – and it will help the other side see and understand your point of view, and vice versa.
Initially, I wanted to call this section “Listen,” but I changed my mind because I think that as a society we are not the best listeners. We think we we’re listening, but in reality, we only think about our next argument, or simply internally roll our eyes, waiting for our spouse to stop talking.
Which is why we must become ACTIVE listeners! That means we must want to understand our spouse, how he or she feels and why they think this way and not another way. Everyone wants to be understood by their spouse; otherwise, even in a marriage, we can feel very lonely. Ask questions. Ask your spouse to talk more about why he feels one way and not another, why he thinks what he thinks. Even if you don’t say much, make sure he feels safe and comfortable when he talks with you, and that he feels that what he is saying is important to you.
A relationship without mutual respect is filled with fear, mutual rivalry, and bitterness. If this state persists for a long time, it will turn into hatred. Respect is the key to a healthy and open relationship and is necessary for the relationship to develop well.
Remember that you’re on the same side
Fight the problem, not each other. Otherwise, the fight will make you feel like enemies. Before the arguments starts, remember that you love each other, and even if you disagree, you are on the same side. Otherwise, from being spouses fighting for each other, you will turn into bitter people fighting against each other.
Basically, if we are physically close to the person we are arguing with, we don’t need to yell and we speak more quietly. Try to get closer to your spouse; in the worst case you will argue less loudly, in the best, you will end up hugging. Nothing calms things down better than physical contact.
Want a happy marriage? Master these 4 virtues
How to rebuild intimacy in a marriage — even during dry spells