Fighting for Your Relationship: Strengthening Your Bond When You Disagree

A fight may seem like the last thing that you want in your relationship with that one special someone; however, arguments aren’t always a bad thing in the long run. While you should never seek to fight for the sake of fighting, a tiff can actually serve to strengthen your relationship—but only if you fight right. Here are five tips for turning your arguments into assets for your bond.

Fight fair. This means no name calling or belittling, no matter how tempted you may be to swing below the belt. For a fight to be productive rather than permanently scarring, it’s important to fight like grown-ups, and this means focusing on the issue at hand rather than attacking your partner.

Don’t get historical. No, that wasn’t a misspelling of “hysterical” (though being hysterical usually isn’t a good idea, either). Not getting historical refers to refraining from bringing up the past when you’re fighting about the present. When you’re angry, it’s easy to dredge up the other person’s every past mistake; however, this rarely (if ever) has a positive outcome. Stay on topic, and keep the past in the past.

Listen! Even if you’re normally a great listener, chances are, your listening skills go out the window when you’re in the midst of an argument. However, keeping your ears and mind open during a fight is vital if you want your disagreement to lead to a solution that strengthens your bond. Do your best to hear the other person’s side of the story first, and fight the urge to interrupt when you disagree. And, don’t just listen with your ears—listen with your heart and mind as well, and take time to truly consider what the other person has said before you respond.

Keep it between the two of you. Yes, there may be times when you need an impartial third party to step in and mediate; however, in most cases it’s best to keep your arguments to yourselves. This means refraining from fighting on front of friends and family.

Sleep on it—with a few conditions. You’re likely heard that you shouldn’t let the sun go down on your anger. While there is certainly a lot of wisdom in not going to bed angry, going to bed before an issue is resolved may actually help you come to a resolution and see one another’s viewpoints more clearly, as it allows you approach them with fresh minds. The key is to agree to disagree before turning in, assure one another of your love (remember love isn’t just a feeling—it’s a choice!) and be sure that you address the issue rather than leaving it unresolved.

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