Phebe Brako-Owusu, LMFT
MARRIAGE MONDAY: Healthy arguments
Not seeing eye-to-eye is a normal part of relationships so arguing with your spouse is not far-fetched. However, arguments can quickly turn into fights if they are not handled in a healthy or intentional manner. If you want to argue in a healthy way with your spouse, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of a fight and make sure that the argument is productive.
Focus on the issue at hand
When you are arguing with your spouse, it can be easy to bring up past issues or things that are not related to the current argument. However, this can make the argument much more complicated and less productive. Instead, try to focus on the specific issue that you are arguing about and keep the conversation centered on that issue.
It is important to listen actively when your spouse is speaking. This means that you should pay attention to what they are saying, try to understand their point of view, and avoid interrupting them. When you listen actively, it shows your spouse that you value their opinion and are willing to consider their perspective.
Avoid blaming or attacking your spouse
When you are arguing, it can be tempting to blame or attack your spouse. However, this will only escalate the argument and make it more difficult to resolve. Instead, focus on your own feelings and use "I" statements to express them. For example, instead of saying "You always do this," try saying "I feel frustrated when this happens."
Take a break if needed
If the argument is getting too heated, it can be helpful to take a break and come back to it later. This can give both you and your spouse time to cool down and think about the issue more calmly. When you come back to the argument, you may be able to approach it with a clearer head and find a resolution more easily.
Look for common ground
Even if you and your spouse have different opinions, there may be some common ground that you can agree on. Look for areas of agreement and build on those as a starting point for resolving the argument. When you focus on common ground, it can help to reduce tension and create a more positive atmosphere for finding a resolution.
Avoid using absolutes
Using absolutes such as "always" or "never" can be unhelpful in an argument and lead to feelings of resentment. These words can make your spouse feel defensive and may not accurately reflect the situation. Instead, focus on specific instances and use more accurate language.
Don't be afraid to apologize
If you have done something wrong, it is important to apologize. This shows your spouse that you take responsibility for your actions and that you value their feelings. A genuine apology can go a long way towards resolving an argument and restoring harmony to your relationship.
To wrap up, arguing with your spouse is a natural part of any relationship. However, by following these tips, you can argue in a healthy way that promotes understanding and resolution. Remember to focus on the issue at hand, listen actively, avoid blaming or attacking your spouse, take a break if needed, look for common ground, avoid using absolutes, and don't be afraid to apologize. By doing so, you can create a more positive and loving relationship with your spouse.