How To Discuss Relationship Problems Without Fighting
You used to be able to discuss everything with your partner, but slowly over time you began to fight more. You know that you are fighting constantly, and now you just want it to stop. You can discuss relationship problems without fighting if you have the keys to working together as a team.
Can’t Have A Conversation Without Fighting?
Some couples argue all the time over little things, and some couples fight over big issues, but the bottom line is that throwing each other under the bus and not caring for and protecting each other leads to disagreements, miscommunications, fights and arguments.
Why does this happen? One reason is that your brain tends to make negative assumptions, and once you mix another person into that, they’re likely to get defensive, sparking a cycle of unproductive arguments.
It’s easy to get caught in that loop of misunderstandings and act short, snippy or critical with each other, creating more arguments and perpetuating the vicious cycle.
How To Communicate With Your Partner Without Fighting
You may feel that this is your partner’s responsibility. You may want your partner to stop arguing with you or just listen, but like I say, “It takes two to tango,” so you will both need to learn some new ways of communicating to connect with each other.
Here’s a list of 7 ways you can discuss relationship problems without fighting:
- Slow Down – Many arguments tend to look like a tennis match or a ping pong game, in which you swing and hit the ball (say something to your partner), and your partner hits the ball (responds). These games are fast, and you may even find them exhilarating, but in the end, both you and your partner will lose. In relationships, you are on the same team and need to slow down to understand each other’s position, feelings and ideas. When you slow down you can: Listen to Understand your partner instead of Listening to Respond.
- Be Present – When you slow down the conversation, it is easier to be present with your partner and listen. Instead of bringing up the past, talk about what you want to see now in your relationship. If you always look in the rearview mirror in the relationship, you will get into an “accident” as you try to move forward.
- Question – Ask questions to facilitate a deeper conversation and for more understanding, such as “Can you tell me more about that?” or “Can you explain that idea more?” You should not ask questions such as “Why did you say that?” or “Isn’t that stupid?” These types of questions are derogatory, labeling and negative.
- Limit Timeframe – Let your partner know how long the conversation will last. Usually, if a conversation lasts too long, one partner may get irritable, impatient and frustrated, which will lead to a fight. Some couples will need to set a timer with the agreed-upon time. The limit to the discussion can be a win for both partners because you can divide the time up and make sure you are both heard.
- Do Not Hold The Floor Too Long – You may start fighting because you are talking for too long and did not give your partner a chance to talk. You need to take turns speaking about the issue. When you talk too much and do not let your partner get a word in edgewise, your partner will shut down and stop listening to you.
- Be Agreeable – Being agreeable and finding something that you can see eye to eye on is essential in relationships. You want to be able to influence your partner in the conversation, and your partner must be able to influence you. If you are stubborn, hardheaded and unwilling to give an inch, then you are choosing to fight. You may need to decide if your opinion is more important than your partner’s opinion, and if that is the case, then you may need to decide how important this relationship is.
- Be Curious – You can decrease problems in your relationship if you are curious about your partner’s feelings and thoughts. Instead of leading with dismissiveness, try to understand. Try to wonder “Why is this so important to my partner? and “Why does my partner have this opinion, value, belief or idea?”
Is It Normal To Fight Every Day?
If you try to address your relationship issues without fighting, but you cannot stop arguing with your partner, you may need to find help from a couples counselor or relationship coach. Some couples fight everyday, but how you fight, such as fighting fairly, will determine the success and satisfaction of your relationship.
You may need and want to discuss your relationship problems without fighting and arguing. You can use these seven tools to begin to start talking and improve your communication with each other.
Additional reading to support your relationship as you explore options for couples therapy and healing:
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont and Florida. She also works with international couples and expats. With her support, you can learn how to discuss relationship problems without fighting through an intensive marriage retreat or couples counseling. Reach out to Lisa for a 20-minute free private consultation today.
Updated: May 16, 2022