“Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right.” – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
Do you and your partner argue about the same issues without resolution? Are you in a cycle of blame where you have chronic arguments that go nowhere? Most couples do have recurring disputes and if they are not careful they may end up on a merry-go-round of conflict.
In our practice when couples present this way, their voices become louder, conversation escalates, dialogue becomes fast and furious and the blame game begins. When each partner tries to prove that he/she is right, nothing good will result. The biggest problem is that no one is being heard and both partners feel invalidated.
It’s vital to remember that you are on the same team and that the goal is to understand each other, not determine who is right or wrong. Here are three ways to get off the arguing merry-go-round.
1) Slow down the conversation. It is critical to have one partner talk at a time and for the other to truly listen for understanding before he/she responds. This takes a conscious and deliberate effort since emotions must remain calm.
2) Identify your own part of the problem. Instead of blaming your partner, each person should identify what he/she is contributing to the chronic conflict to keep it going and what he/she can do to work towards resolution.
3) Don’t engage your partner’s anger. It really does take “two to tango.” So if one person escalates and the other doesn’t, the conversation will remain calm. It is not easy to bite your tongue but as they say, “the person with the most scars on their tongue wins.”
The true test of the relationship is at these most difficult times. That is the “work” of the relationship.
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To your relationship,
Lori & Bob Hollander
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