How to stop fighting?

Table of Contents

How to Stop Fighting With Your Spouse

Years back, I saw a high-powered, professional couple in San Francisco who went at each other’s throats, verbally speaking, 24/7. Everything turned into an epic battle—whether the issue was eating meals, having sex, planning vacations, spending and saving money, decorating the house, rearing kids, or dealing with in-laws and ex-spouses. When they fought, they would revisit one old hurt after another, and never resolve anything.

Both claimed they were powerless to control their tempers. Then, a distinguished British professor came to stay with them as their house guest for several months, living in a guest room adjacent to their bedroom. “During that time, we never raised our voices,” the wife told me. “We were pretty courteous with each other. Pride, I guess.” They both agreed it was the best several months of their marriage.

I wish I had a distinguished British house guest to loan out to all my readers and therapy clients. But I don’t. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that you are capable of adjusting your behavior. It’s all about motivation and following a couple of rules.

Where to start? The first rule is to make rules for how you as a couple will treat each other—rules you are responsible for following even in the heat of the moment. Like the couple I just described, we often act as if the intensity of our anger gives us license to say or do anything, because, after all, we’re way too furious to be able to stop what’s coming out of our mouth.

Of course, we can stop ourselves and behave better—that is if we have a genuine intention to have a better marriage. If you or your partner can’t keep your anger from getting out of control, it’s important to get professional help.

Begin by sitting down with your partner and coming up with a few rules of your own. These might be, for example, “No yelling or name-calling,“ “No bringing up past grievances during a fight,” and “No bringing up problems at bedtime.” Many couples find it helpful to keep a written copy of the rules in a place where both will see it daily.

The second rule is to take the responsibility to change first and make a sincere effort to keep fighting and negativity from escalating. Instead of waiting for your partner to do the right thing, take the initiative to add a note of humor or calm into a downward-spiraling conflict, or to postpone the exchange to a future time.

It doesn’t matter whether you use humor, or touch, or a simple refusal to participate in a non-productive exchange by saying something like, “If you want me to listen, get out of your debate posture!” The efforts you make to change the tone (or volume) of an increasingly nasty exchange can, over time, save and strengthen your marriage.

Of course, we want our partner to be the one to de-escalate and apologize first, especially if we’re convinced that he “started it” and is the one to blame. We lose sight of the fact that true victory lies in stopping the fight, and then making your point at a calmer time.

Don’t continue to participate in downward spiraling fights that go nowhere and threaten the foundation of friendship and respect on which a good marriage is based. Happy couples are not couples that don’t fight. Rather they’re couples that fight fair, and take responsibility for their own words and actions, no matter how furious they may feel inside.

You’ve heard the saying,”Women are from Venus, men are from Mars.” Sometimes it really feels like men and women were birthed, raised and inhabited completely different planets!

Because of our differences, there are days when it takes every ounce of strength to stop arguing with your husband, doesn’t it?

And what are the arguments about?

Sometimes it’s the little things, but other times it’s more serious decisions that husbands and wives have a very difficult time seeing eye to eye on.

You think your kids should be home-schooled, he wants them in public school.

You think the kids should eat more whole grains, he thinks the kids should enjoy his childhood memories of processed fish sticks and Spaghettios.

Ah, so is the married life!

It takes a committed wife to determine in her heart that she will avoid arguments with her husband.

It takes self-control, prayer and lots of patience. It also takes a listening ear and an understanding heart.

If you truly desire to stop arguing with your husband — or at least keep disagreements at a minimum — then this article will give you a head start with honest, open and heart-to-heart advice.

Let’s put an end to these arguments, shall we?

Oh and if you want to dig DEEPER into your marriage and learn how to re-ignite or just fan the flame of your love for your husband, I’ve got the perfect book for you that has daily marriage challenges!

It’s not a quick-fix, but it’s a dedicated, purposeful decision to love your husband daily — even if he’s a no good, very bad husband!

This brand new ebook also comes with inspiring and super pretty printables that are professionally designed!

And if you want to grab a HUGE kit of marriage resources at no cost to you, you can grab our free marriage kit below!

Hope you enjoy cultivating a happier, spicier and more loving marriage that’s truly a tiny piece of heaven on earth.

Ready to find out EXACTLY how to stop arguing with your husband?

Let’s dig in!

8 Ways to Stop Arguing

  • Listen to your husband. Many times we women have a habit of interrupting our friends, family members and especially our husbands.

    We get excited about something and can’t wait to share it! Other times we are only half-listening to our husbands.

    Even worse are the times when we are so convinced that ww are right that we completely stop listening in order to plan our powerful rebuttal.

    Even if your husband has a contrary opinion, take the time and reallylisten to him.

    Many times my husband has brought out some very good points on touchy subjects that I would have missed if I didn’t simply listen.

  • Don’t assume the worst. Is your husband late coming home from work? Don’t assume he was out doing things he shouldn’t. Hey, maybe he was buying you some flowers — it’s possible!

    Does he want to skip dinner? Don’t be quick to think he doesn’t enjoy your cooking. He really may be too exhausted to eat.

    We women pride ourselves in being mind-readers, but let’s be honest — we CAN’T read other people’s minds — especially our husband’s!

  • Think before you speak. In your other relationships you are probably slower to speak than in your marriage. It’s so easy to just say any and everything that flies into our minds!

    Take time to examine your thoughts before you respond or discuss a sensitive subject with your husband. Once the words are out of your mouth, they will never return.

    Much damage and hurt has been done through cruel, harsh and angry words.

  • Follow the age-old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!” This is a great saying that I teach my kids — but it’s also very applicable to marriage.

    So many arguments would be prevented if we kept our critical remarks to ourselves. Your husband will have enough cold-hearted, negative comments hitting him from relatives and co-workers. He doesn’t need it from you too.

  • Don’t be mad at the same time. My great-uncle told me this bit of advice before I got married. In fact, it was the only bit of advice he gave me about marriage.

    If you focus on staying calm when your husband is angry, it is much more difficult to become engaged in a heated argument.

    On the same hand, when you are growling and snarling, it sure does help if your hubby is in a good mood!

    Remember that bit of advice from a man that was happily married for many years.

    Post that saying on your fridge or your mirror to give you a little reminder every single day!

  • Don’t withhold intimacy. So many wives brag about how they turn their husband’s sexual advances away during arguments. That will definitely not help the situation.

    In fact, if you want to stop arguments before they start, keep intimacy frequent and alive! Pushing your husband away will only harden his heart.

    Real marriages don’t work like the Hallmark and Lifetime movies portray them. Don’t believe me? Check out these lies the romantic movies tell wives.

    Most men don’t chase after a pouting woman.

    Real marriages need two humble, tender-hearted people that share affection constantly.

    Take away the gentle touches, soft kisses and passion, and what do you have left? Two hard-hearted people that are prone to argue.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. He leaves his shoes in the living room. He invites friends over at the most inconvenient times. He forgets special plans. He rarely says “thank you” for home-cooked meals or a clean home.

    So what?

    Those things are really minimal. Instead of focusing on his small misdemeanors, why not focus on his positives?

    Focusing on the small annoyances will only tempt you to open your mouth and start an argument.

    Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

  • Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” Many arguments between a husband and wife involve two wrongs. Yes, maybe one spouse majorly messed up, but the other one may have over-reacted as well.

    If you have done ANYTHING wrong in the situation, be willing to apologize first — before the discussion gets out of hand!

A happy marriage takes hard work! Commit to stop arguing with your husband so you can create a happier home for your family!

A strong marriage creates a solid foundation for a happy home. Love, listen and apologize today for a marriage that is full of wonderful memories!

How do you prevent arguing in your marriage? I would love to hear what works for you on our Facebook page!

Psst! If you’d love more daily challenges for your marriage, home and family, hop on over and check out my ebook 25 Days to a Happier Home!

It’s honest, mom-to-momve advice to help you cultivate a happier home with 25 daily challenges! Be sure to read the reviews to see how other homes were changed!

Arguing, fighting, bickering with your spouse? You’re not alone.

Every married couple argues from time to time.

But when these fights get too frequent or too heated, they can be a one-way ticket to divorce.

Try these 6 simple, effective tips and techniques that will allow you to put to STOP these toxic arguments and ensure they don’t continue to damage or destroy your marriage.

6 Ways To End Arguments With Your Spouse

These 6 tactics I’m about to cover are just a starting point.

Yes, they’re all really helpful in preventing fights with your spouse, so you should start using them immediately… but for most people, this isn’t the only thing that’s contributing to your marriage problems, so you need to address any other issues as well if you want to maintain a happy marriage.

Let’s get started with one of my favorite Dispute Defusing Tactics, which I’ve mentioned in a few previous videos because it’s so effective…

Technique #1: Use The 30-Minute Rule

Angry at your spouse about something?
Ready to flip out and start screaming because of what they did or said?
Or maybe your spouse has started the conflict and you’re ready to fight back….

Well, hold up a second.
Actually, hold up 30 minutes.

Why? Well, I can’t tell you never to get into an argument with your spouse. If you disagree, if you need to stand up for something you believe is important and worth discussing with your spouse, then do it.

But before you do, wait 30 minutes. Don’t do anything special in that time–other than avoid talking about the problem with your spouse–before you begin the discussion.

That 30 minutes will often be enough time to give you some perspective and decide it’s not worth fighting over.

If you do decide to argue, that time will help you cool down and let the emotions settle so you can start the discussion in a civilized, adult manner and prevent things from getting out of hand.

It’s simple tactics like this one that will stop a divorce before it starts.

to evaluate your current situation and find out whether you’ll be able to fix your marriage.

Technique #2: Take a time-out

If you find yourself in a heated argument with your spouse, then the 30-minute rule isn’t really an option… but you can still take action to make sure the fight doesn’t continue to escalate.

If you’re worried that you or your spouse is going to resort to yelling or personal attacks, you’ll need a way to lessen the intensity of an argument.

A time-out is a great solution to this problem.

Basically, you just need to take a short break during a fight with your spouse to calm your nerves.

Don’t just simply walk out of the room without explanation–that might make your partner even angrier.

Instead, tell them that you need to take 10 minutes to think about things and calm down before re-engaging in a more respectful, productive discussion.

Not only will this help to calm your nerves, but this will help to calm your partner’s nerves as well.

Technique #3: Go to bed angry

The classic advice–that you should never go to bed angry at your spouse–is just totally ridiculous.

You don’t need to resolve disagreements with your spouse–that has probably been an issue for years already–in a single evening?

Or you need to stay up until 3 am arguing before you can go to bed?

No, obviously that’s a terrible idea.

Feel free to go to bed even when you’re mad at your partner, or they’re angry at you

Sleeping on things can often make the issue go away by itself, or at least give both sides some perspective and a chance to think things over.

RELATED: Is Your Marriage Over? Top 5 Signs You’re Headed For Divorce

Technique #4: Take responsibility for problems affecting your marriage

Hate being wrong? Too proud to admit you might also be part of the problem? Me too.

Trust me, I understand that it can be very tough to admit that you’re wrong about anything. When you’re in a heated argument, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture or start focusing only on “winning” rather than the real issue at hand… or the affect the argument might have on their partner’s feelings.

Sadly, researchers have proven that the feeling of “being right” or ‘winning’ is never as satisfying as you make it out to be in your mind. And trying to win the argument is often a synonym for trying to hurt your partner.

Instead of trying to win arguments with your spouse, try instead to focus on seeing things from your partner’s perspective.

Aim to come to a positive outcome of some sort, even if that means you need to swallow your pride and “lose.”

When you realize that your partner has a valid concern or that this argument is about something very important to them, you should consider letting them have this victory.

In the free video presentation on my website, I’ll teach you how you can change your spouse’s behaviour without nagging or arguing.

Easier said than done? Yes, but constantly reminding yourself to take a step back and try to see your spouse’s side–and then admit to being wrong or accept a “loss” when it’s necessary to maintain harmony in your marriage–is definitely going to help.

It’s one of the first steps to take if your marriage is in trouble. It could even save your marriage.

Technique #5: Use humour to defuse tension

As I just mentioned, it’s easy to lose yourself in the heat of the moment when you’re arguing with your significant other… and at times things can escalate and become toxic, marriage-threatening fights, even when they initially started over something very minor.

If you’re able to recognize when this is happening in an argument with your partner, humour can be the best way to defuse things and bring back some perspective.

WARNING: You should be careful using this technique when the discussion is about something serious or ongoing… or if you’re fighting over something that’s very important to your spouse… but a lot of the time, a joke or a light-hearted self-deprecating comment and a smile can really calm things down and bring back perspective.

As long as you don’t downplay the issue and make your spouse feel like you’re not taking them seriously, cracking a smile or a joke is a great way to cool things down when arguments get heated.

Technique #6: Spend positive time together

I don’t think this last one needs much explanation, because it’s pretty simple… the more you and your spouse spend time arguing, the more you need to spend quality, enjoyable time together to balance things out.

When you finish a big argument, and things have settled down, suggest something to your spouse that you do something fun together the next evening.

No need to make it a big deal, just make sure you make an effort to share some positive, romantic time with one another.

This will help you both remember what you love about one another so that the next time you argue, you’ll remember to be respectful.

Brad Browning

Brad Browning is widely regarded as the world’s most trusted breakup experts, boasting over 12 years of experience working with clients from around the world. Brad’s #1 best-selling breakup reversal guide, The Ex Factor, has helped more than 100,000 people from 131 countries to re-unite with an ex. Brad is also the author of Mend The Marriage, a comprehensive self-help guide that teaches married couples how to save their dying marriage and prevent divorce. Brad’s YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers and 40 million views, and he has been featured in a number of well-known media outlets and industry journals.

I can’t seem to stop arguing with my partner. What can we do?

Arguments are common in all kinds of relationships. Some degree of conflict can even be healthy, as it means both people are expressing themselves, rather than keeping everything inside and letting emotions fester.

But if you’re arguing all the time, or simple disagreements end up in a hostile silence or screaming match, it can really start to take a toll on things – or even leave you wondering whether you’re all that compatible in the first place.

Learning ways to handle disagreements constructively is crucial in any relationship. We always say: conflict is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

Find out why you’re arguing

It can be useful to think of an argument like an onion. The outer layer is what you’re speaking about, while the deeper layers beneath represent the issues beneath this.

In other words, sometimes what we argue about is only a symptom of what’s going wrong, not the cause.

For example, Sam gets into an argument with his partner about whether they do their fair share of the household chores. On the surface, the argument may seem to be about something small, but it could also tap into wider feelings about how well supported Sam feels in the relationship generally.

It may also remind him of other situations when he has felt let down and unsupported by other people in his life. For Sam’s partner, the argument may tap into deeper worries about how controlling they feel Sam can be.

If you find you and your partner argue frequently, or about the same kinds of things a lot, it can be a good idea to think about what’s really causing the conflict. Are you arguing about what you think you’re arguing about – or are there other things going on the relationship that frustrate or worry you?

You may want to consider other influences too: have there been any recent changes in your lives that may have put extra pressure on either of you? This could be something like a bereavement, starting a new family, moving house, financial problems, work pressures or just a reaching a relationship milestone such as reaching a big birthday.

Maybe you have been spending less quality time together than before? Has there been an incident that one or both of you is struggling to get over? Did you use to argue less? And if so, why do you think that is?

Seeing past your emotions and trying to look at the wider context of the situation can be a great way of getting to the bottom of what’s going on.

Talking it over

From there, it’s a case of talking things over in a calm and constructive manner. This can be really hard when you’re feeling emotional, so you might like to try the following tips:

  • Choose an appropriate time to talk. If you think you’re going to struggle with your emotions, it may be worth simply coming back to the topic when you’ve both calmed down. Likewise, it’s a good idea to have the conversation at a time when you’re both able to focus on it – not immediately before someone has to go to work or with the TV on in the background.
  • Try to start the discussion amicably. Don’t go in with all guns firing, or with a sarcastic or critical comment. It can be useful to start by saying something positive, such as: ‘I feel like we were getting on really well a few months ago. I was hoping we could talk about how much we’ve been arguing recently.’
  • Use ‘I’ statements, not ‘you’ statements. This will mean your partner is less likely to feel like they’re being attacked, and you’ll be taking responsibility for your own emotions. For instance, instead of saying ‘you never listen to me’, trying saying: ‘I feel like I’m not being heard when I talk to you’.
  • Try to see things from your partner’s perspective. A conversation is unlikely to go anywhere productive unless both participants feel listened to. It can be tempting to just try to get your point across, but if you want to resolve things, it’s really important you take the time to hear what your partner has to say too. They may have an entirely different perspective – one you’ll need to understand if you want to get to the root of what’s going wrong. Try to validate each other’s feeling by saying things like: ‘It makes sense to me that you feel like that’. Making your partner feel heard can be hugely powerful.
  • And remember: you may not just be arguing the surface problem. As much as we like to believe our partners will – or rather, should – always understand where we’re coming from, the truth is they’ve grown up with their own ideas and with different influences. For instance, if you think they’re controlling with money, it may be that their role model (when younger) was in charge of all financial affairs – so they’ve always assumed that’s how things work. Read more about emotional relationships with money.
  • Keep tabs on physical feelings. If things are getting too heated, it can be a good idea to take time out and come back once you’re both feeling calmer. Saying something you later regret because you were really worked up is only going to make the fight worse and can leave feelings seriously hurt.
  • Be prepared to compromise. Often the only way to reach a solution is for both partners to give some ground. If both of you stick rigidly to your desired outcome, the fight is probably just going to keep going and going. It might be that one or both of you need to compromise a little so that you’re able to move past things. Sometimes, an imperfect solution is better than no solution at all.

How not to argue

There are lots of destructive things that people do in arguments that tend to make conflict worse rather than help resolve it. Try to avoid any of the following:

  • Stonewalling. This is a total withdrawal and refusal to discuss the issue. It usually leaves the conversation with nowhere to go. Stonewalling is often used by people who don’t like conflict and so try to avoid it. It’s very common in relationships for one partner to habitually stonewall while the other gets frustrated trying to get answers.
  • Criticism. Commenting negatively, over and above the current problem. ‘You’re always so forgetful.’ This can cause the other person to feel attacked and threatened. This behaviour often creates a very defensive response, and so can be the trigger for a real shouting match.
  • Contempt. For example, sneering, belligerence or sarcasm. ‘You think you’re so clever.’ This is very unproductive and can cause the other person to feel humiliated and belittled.
  • Defensiveness. Aggressively defending and justifying self to the other person. ‘You haven’t got a clue just how much I have to remember every day.’ The other person is likely to feel attacked by this and the argument is likely to escalate.

Watch two of our senior counsellors talk about arguments in relationships:

Future rows

It can take a while to change negative behaviours and learn to disagree in a constructive and calm manner.

If you’ve gotten used to certain patterns of behaviour, it might take a little practice before you’re ready to start working together better.

However, do try to stick with it – because once you get used to working through problems in a constructive and calm manner, it can produce some really positive changes in your relationship.

Relationships are always a work in progress. If you find yourself rowing again, look at what happened, think about what you each could have done better, and talk it through. Then forgive yourself and your partner and move on.

How we can help

If you’re finding it really difficult to stop arguing, then we can help:

  • Relationship Counselling gives you a chance to talk over any difficult issues in a safe and confidential environment. Your counsellor will help you to have a productive and calm conversation, and allow you both to make your perspective known.
  • Try a webcam session with a trained Relate Counsellor.

90shares

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

Fighting in a marriage, or perhaps dealing with marital conflict, is an inevitable part of being married. Even the healthiest of marriages will find couples arguing with each other at times. Some even say that disagreements between spouses are an essential ingredient in a marriage relationship (and I agree!). While avoiding conflict isn’t a necessary thing (I’m not even sure this is possible), learning to handle arguments, disagreements, and fighting in a marriage are skills that are vitally important. If you’re wondering whether it’s normal for couples to fight, argue, and disagree, really it is. Therefore, learning some ways to deal with fighting in marriage is something all married couples must do.

Let’s face it, being married is hard sometimes. If you are like my husband and I you would be opposites, which works really great at times.

Looking for more on relationships? Enter your email below to grab our conversation starters printable for some great questions to build your relationship with your kids!

Grab Your Conversation Starters

Fill in your email to get your download & grab some other free stuff too!

Here’s what opposites can look like in a marriage.

Maybe one of you is the spender while the other is the saver. One is the introvert while the other is the life of the party. One is the dreamer while the other is rooted in reality. One person is the active one while the other is more content to find hobbies that don’t require much activity. Maybe one spouse is a health nut while their partner would rather not think about such things.

This list could go on and on, really. For the most part, these are qualities that often work out in a positive way if you are opposites. But there are also times when these traits are no longer an asset, but a liability. There are also the times when spouses could be of the same thinking but end up butting heads when they have just a slightly different thought about something.

When there is friction or fighting, it can be so easy to react right away. It can be like a reflex to say or do something that you would later think differently about. Maybe you even respond in a way that you would avoid saying or doing altogether just a minute or two later.

My husband and I have been married for nearly 25 years. In that time, I have come to realize that conflict seems to happen more frequently when the stresses of life seem to close in. And life is plenty full of stress.

Can you relate?

Maybe you just want to know, “How can I stop fighting with my husband?”

When it comes to fighting in marriage, my husband and I have come to find these six things to be so important in dealing with fighting, arguing, and disagreeing in marriage.

Focus only on the issue at hand

It is so easy to bring up a laundry list of the “you always” or “you never” from the past in order to either prove a point or just to evade whatever the current issue is. Of course there is often an element of wanting to be “the winner.” For this reason, it is tempting to draw from things in the past if you feel you are not the one on top in the conflict.

So, keeping focused only on what has caused the argument is important.

This brings me to my second point.

Don’t use the words “always” or “never” as neither will be true

Not ever. Making blanket statements like that are just unfair and said in an attempt to wound the other person in most cases.

Focus on whatever the behavior is

Focus on the behavior rather than making it a personal attack on your spouse’s character.

Just like when talking to your kids, there is a big difference between saying, “That was a really irresponsible choice,” and, “You are really irresponsible.”

See the difference?

The same is true when you are talking to your spouse.

Discuss a behavior, don’t attack the person as a whole.

Use “I feel” statements

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it is a great one.

Right away, I feel statements come across in a gentle way because you are not attacking. You are simply stating a fact about yourself.

Oftentimes, your spouse may be clueless as to how something they said or did would make you feel. Sometimes stating an “I feel” statement will be the first time they have given any thought to your feelings regarding the issue.

Amazingly, it can be hard to remember that there is a person with feelings behind the person you are arguing with whether it’s your spouse or anyone else. This is just part of being human when we feel wronged, backed into a corner, or hurt.

Focus on what you feel, framing what you say within that context.

Don’t make assumptions about your spouse’s intentions

Saying things like, “You only do that to hurt me,” are usually not accurate. Furthermore, they also only put your spouse on the defense and generally give way to an escalating argument.

This same idea would be much better stated as, “I’m not sure what I am supposed to think or feel about this, but this is what I do think and feel. Is this your intention?”

Again, there can often be an a-ha moment on the part of your spouse since they never thought through to your feelings on the matter.

Remember that you are on the same team

This is a huge one. Remember that you are not enemies, and your goal should be to come to an understanding rather to win an argument

Your goal as a husband or wife is to achieve mutual understanding and agreement on moving forward regarding whatever the issue is. When we were at a marriage conference once, it was suggested that my husband and I turn to one another and say, “You are not my enemy.”

This did feel kind of silly, but it works in the heat of a battle since just saying those words to one another helps bring you out of the thick of the argument and back to the reality of trying to work through things together.

Conflict, arguments, and fighting in a marriage never fun. But these things are part of any relationship at times – including a marriage.

Disagreements can be productive times, however. These experiences can also be times that bring you closer to one another if handled correctly using these few tips. If handled correctly, fighting in a marriage can be the beginning of a deeper understanding between a husband and wife.

90shares

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

How To Stop Fighting With Your Husband (For Good)

Marriage is hard enough without all the fighting.

Getting into an argument once in a while is normal in any relationship. However, constant fighting and arguing isn’t good in any healthy relationship.

If you’re stuck in a loop of getting caught in arguments with your spouse that are threatening the stability of your relationship, then it’s time to reestablish relationship goals that will make your marriage argument proof.

Are you wondering how to stop fighting with your husband? Has the frequency and the intensity of your fighting grown over time? Do you want to stop fighting so that you can find your way back to each other?

Conflict. We all have it.

You get angry with your mother, your friends, your boss, and your kids. But it’s your husband, the man you chose to love and cherish for a lifetime, with whom you seem to get the angriest.

And this conflict, this anger, with your husband, can be very destructive and get in the way of living the life of your dreams.

Here are 5 ways you can stop arguing with your spouse and resolve conflict the healthy way:

1. Choose a good time to talk.

This is key.

If you talk to your husband when you’re angry you’ll say things you might not mean to say. Words said in the heat of the moment tend to cause a lot of pain and are not necessarily accurate.

Try to wait at least two hours after a disturbance before speaking up. This will give you the chance to calm down and speak more clearly.

If you can talk calmly about exactly what you’re upset about, then you’ll more likely be able to work it out and not let the quarrel escalate.

Also, don’t pick a known stressful time to talk, like during bedtime or just after work. Try to pick a time when you are both calm and can approach the conversation with good energy instead of bad.

Calm time can be hard to find, but when properly motivated, you can find it.

2. Don’t attack each other in anger.

This is very important and something that many of us do without thinking. And it gets you nowhere.

Let’s say that your husband always gets home from work late.

Instead of saying, “You’re always late. Why do you have to be such a jerk?” try saying, “It makes me sad when you’re home late. I work hard to get us all together for a family dinner, and I really miss you when you aren’t there.”

Look carefully at the difference here. If you use the first example, your husband will immediately get on the defensive and the conversation will be over before it begins.

In the second example, you’re sharing how you feel and no one can argue with how you feel — its the truth.

What is not the truth is that your husband is a jerk for coming home late.

3. Make sure you’re actively listening.

This is very hard to do and can feel very contrived, but it is a key part of listening and being heard.

It’s called a reflective response.

In the case of the example above, with the husband who didn’t come home in time for dinner, the perfect response for him to say would be: “I’m sorry that my being late for dinner made you so sad.”

With that statement, you know your husband understands what you’re trying to say and that might deflate the argument.

The worst thing that you can do is to yell back, not letting them speak or get their feelings out.

If you do that, the issue will come up again and never get resolved.

4. Try to remember that you’re both only human.

Everyone makes mistakes. More often than not, your troublesome actions are not a reflection of your feelings about someone, but the result of a variety of things (time, motivation, energy level, distractions) that all work together to create a situation that isn’t ideal.

For instance, a woman’s husband comes home on a Saturday without picking out the windows he promised he would pick out that day. She was furious and said something like, “If you loved me, you would have picked out the windows.”

However, the reality was that the husband’s mother called when he was on his way and he had to run over to help her.

Yes, it’s not ideal, but it’s the reason why he couldn’t do what she had asked. It had nothing to do with not loving her.

Next time you’re quick to react to something your husband does, take a moment a try to figure out why it happened. Perhaps you won’t need the two hours to decompress after all.

5. Be ready to say sorry — and to forgive.

This can be the hardest thing of all for people … to say they are sorry and to forgive perceived wrongs … but it’s one of the most important parts of any relationship.

Why don’t you want to say you’re sorry? Because it will convey weakness? Because you can’t let go of your anger? Because you’re embarrassed by your actions?

Whatever the reason, you need to learn how to do it. Next time you’re having a disagreement with your husband, try apologizing. See how quickly the anger deflates on both sides.

With the husband who came home late, he should start with, “I’m sorry that me being late made you sad.”

That’s apologizing not for the lateness, but the pain his wife suffered from it.

What shouldn’t be said is, “I’m sorry that me being late made you sad, but I couldn’t help it.”

In an apology, a “but” makes the apology completely ineffective. The “but” means you’re making an excuse. The reality is is that you caused pain, no matter the reason, and that needs to be acknowledged.

In the same vein, you need to forgive and not hold onto anger. Holding on to anger is one of the most destructive forces in any relationship.

If your partner apologizes for his or her actions, you need to find it in your heart to remember that they’re only human and they’ve taken responsibility for their actions. Life must move forward.
Learning how to stop fighting with your husband is a key part of keeping your marriage healthy.

Conflict and the resulting anger with anyone can be devastating — especially with a partner. Left unchecked, anger can take on a life of its own and destroy everything in its path.

Don’t let that happen to you.

And then, perhaps, you can settle down to a nice peaceful, conflict-free evening.

Sounds worth it, no?

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate whose writing has been published in The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN, and The Good Man Project, among others. Contact her today to find out how she helps people go from depressed to happy in their relationships and their world.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.

After a few years together, it’s easy to bicker with your partner over mundane stuff. Nitpicking each other about the minute details of daily life can feel involuntary—you know you’re being unreasonable and crabby, but it’s just so hard to stop yourself in the moment. Here’s one simple technique to stop bickering dead in its tracks.

I can’t tell you how many pointless arguments I’ve overheard from my clients and friends. Fights over the proper way to make a deviled egg, whether or not sunscreen is a necessity, the correct pronunciation of “envelope”, whether a shirt is dark blue or black, the date of the last time one person called their mother, and so many more. It should go without saying that these kinds of petty arguments are frustrating, create ill will between partners, and are just plain exhausting. Nothing ever feels resolved, and the same topics keep surfacing over and over.

Advertisement

Why Do We Bicker?

If bickering is so harmful, why do couples bicker in the first place? Sometimes it’s because we’re afraid to be honest about the things that are really bothering us, so we use a pointless argument to get out our frustrations. Sometimes we nitpick because we want that sense of power and control over our partner. Sometimes we bicker because we don’t have the energy for proper communication.

Most couples, however, are fighting about who is “right.” As I watch couples bicker in my office, I realize that often, they’re obsessed with who is suggesting the exact right decision. There’s an element of perfectionism that has seeped into most couples’ fights. Of course there are some decisions that require careful thinking, but there are a countless number of choices that don’t have any real importance. We’re wasting so much energy bickering about decisions that just don’t matter.

One potential reason for this may be the fact that we’re faced with an endless number of decisions on a day-to-day basis. A simple trip to the drugstore to buy toothpaste can result in a decision paralysis. Do we need the whitening? Or the brightening? Tartar control? Total care? All of these options cause this meaningless decision to become loaded with importance. This perfectionism spills over into our relationships and causes us to bicker over stupid stuff like the exact right gift to buy for a birthday party (A candle? Flowers? A bottle of wine?) or the exact right time to leave to get to dinner (7:15? 7:30? 7:35?).

Advertisement

The Anti-Bickering Decision Flowchart

The bottom line is that we all have too many choices on our plates and don’t need to pick every single option to death, especially since doing so creates so much tension in our relationships. If you find yourself bickering with your partner, try using this simple technique:

  • To yourself, name the decision that you’re feeling tempted to bicker about. “We’re arguing about how many speeds our new blender should have.” Sometimes just stating the obvious is enough to cool you down.
  • Next, ask yourself some version of, “Does this really matter to me?”, “Do I really care about this?” or “Does this have any actual consequence in my life?”
  • More often than not, you’ll probably find yourself answering, “No, driving to the restaurant on Main Street instead of State Street really doesn’t have any actual effect on my life.” If that’s the case, take a deep breath and keep quiet. If the answer is yes, make sure you have a specific reason. “Yes, it is important that the dog goes on a walk now” isn’t great, but, “Yes, it is important that the dog goes on a walk now because we’re leaving for the rest of the day” is fine. From there, ask yourself, “is what my partner is proposing a good enough solution?” If it is, go with it without voicing your opinion. Don’t negate this whole process with something snarky like, “well, my choice would have been better, but I guess we can do it your way.” If the option isn’t good enough, walking through this multi-step process should have calmed you down a bit to the point where you can state your wishes more objectively.

Advertisement

Please note that the key words in that last part are good enough. It doesn’t need to be the decision you would have chosen, the exact right decision, or the perfect decision. Just a good enough option. By lowering the bar on your choices, you’ll find it to be a lot easier to stop bickering in its tracks. Save your brainpower for the big stuff.

Of course, the urge to nitpick is occasionally going to overrule your ability to be analytical, but this method should become more natural with time, and will allow you a number of opportunities to be thoughtful about your decisions.

Advertisement

Illustration by Tina Mailhot-Roberge.

Advertisement

10 Tips to Help Avoid Ugly Arguments

Every couple argues. Some do it overtly by yelling at each other while others do it covertly by avoiding contact and conversation. Whatever the method, the result is the same — hurt feelings and disenchantment. But, if done correctly, arguing can be a pathway to growth and problem solving. Here are my tips to help you argue more constructively.

  1. Understand that anger itself is not destructive. There is a vast difference between anger and rage. When someone is angry they need to state their feelings. They don’t break things or relationships: That is rageful behavior.
  2. Talk about your feelings before you get angry. When you or your partner can approach the situation as it happens and deal with it in a safe way, it may not get to the point of becoming an argument. Sometimes things just need to be verbalized, and most arguments can be avoided if your partner understands how you feel.
  3. Don’t raise your voice. It’s amazing how issues of hurt feelings or differences can be resolved with a whisper. I counsel partners who are yellers to only communicate with a whisper and it greatly reduces the anger factor in their relationships.
  4. Don’t threaten your relationship. And don’t take every argument as a threat to your relationship. This type of emotional blackmail puts the other partner in a panic/flight or flight mode. While you’re telling them you want to leave, they may be making plans to find a roommate. In addition, they may be so devastated by the thought of losing their family they can go into a deep depression and be unable to give you what it is you need.
  5. Don’t stockpile. This is where you bring up issues from the past to use as a hammer against whatever problem your partner has asked for help with. Deal with their issue first and if you really have unresolved feelings from past problems talk about them at another time.
  6. Don’t avoid your anger. If you stuff your feelings long enough you will explode and say or do things that you will regret. Anger does not diminish love, you can be angry with those you love. In fact the ones we love hurt us the most because we love them the most.
  7. Create a process for resolving problems without anger. Start by each of you taking five minutes to state your feelings, then take a twenty minute break to think about things and come back to the table for another ten minutes to discuss how you think you can best deal with the problem. Also, know that it’s okay if the problem doesn’t get solved right away.
  8. Abuse is NEVER allowed. This includes verbal abuse, any type of violence including slamming doors, breaking plates, or hitting. If your arguments escalate to this level you need to leave the house. If one partner ever hits another a police report needs to be made and an appointment with a therapist is mandatory.
  9. Don’t engage. Remember that negative attention is still attention. If your partner tries to goad you into an argument, simply don’t go there. Some people actually like to argue because it gives them a temporary feeling of power and gratification. Avoid being sucked into their need for attention.
  10. Listen to your body. When you are angry your body releases chemicals that may cause you to react in ways that can be destructive to you, your partner and your relationship. Learn to understand your feelings and how the process of anger effects you physically and emotionally.

Research has shown that couples that argue more than 20 percent of the time are probably not going to survive. Hopefully these tips will help you get your arguments under control and reduce the level of energy in those arguments. If not, and if you want to keep your relationship, find a qualified couple’s therapist.

I am writing in hopes of help/guidance:
I am married to my love 20 years, 4 children
Career 15 years law enforcement, 25 years military and currently LCSW rural Nevada
diagnosed 4 time ADHD, have pre-occupied/disorganized attachment; my wife is more dismissive/disorganized
She has said recently, she knows I am an emotional abuser, she is done with me, because I will never change. I have effectively destroyed all trust she has. She is unwilling to read ANY resource I present. She believes she is well regulated and I am the one to change.
Being a therapist I have much information to show WHAT we could do different/better, yet she is unwilling to pursue.
She is committed to staying married and raising our children together, basically roommate. She wont even let me see her (6 weeks and counting) she changes in the other room, I haven’t “seen her”, that long. Affection is tolerated when I touch, but only allowed to a very small way.

Reply

I am sorry. Sounds like my relationship. I hope it is better for you.

Reply

Todd,
With all respect, this is a very complicated situation that no one on the internet could solve for you. It seems like you remember the exact words she used, but haven’t understood why she said them or how she feels.
You mention solutions you have thought of, and your credentials to back them up – but it takes two people to find a solution, so none of those solutions are going to solve the problem of how to hear each other and respect each other effectively.

Reply

Been in therapy since July of 2018
TY for this great summation, have shared it to friends/family who know me.

Reply

Having been having numerous fights with my partner, every time we fight it feels like i am going to lose him completely. I feel that way because he makes me feel that way, he tells me think before you do and don’t get comfortable. It sucks and it hurts. talking to him is so hard and it hurts

Reply

I’m very upset and cry when I fall out with my husband when everything is fine then he say something I take it wrong way and it’s leads into a melt down then he walks of and that leaves me annoyed. He left the room again last nite and called me a few things which upset me I was restless all nite please help me find a way to peaceful ouite and no fall outs x

Reply

I feel that the exact answer to this question doesn’t exist how to stop fighting with your partner. In my opinion, it’s completely normal to argue with your spouse, what matters is how do you make up after an argument. I too have fights with my boyfriend, in the early phase of our relationship we never used to fight but now we fight over silly things. I feel that I am more argumentative but cannot do anything about it haha…, one of my friends suggested me to go to Alex Barnette, she is an expert counselor. I hope she would help me with this problem.

Reply

My boyfriend and i are too different,i like relaxing outside by the balcony,he likes relaxing inside the house,we fight over the fact that I can’t join him inside all the time,what can we do to make it work?

Reply

Maybe you are both focusing on the wrong aspects! Inside, outside, the only important part is that it’s you and him together, no matter where you might be. If the weather is nice where you live or you have especially beautiful sunsets, have him join you sometime where he might gain a new appreciation for the balcon or something like that. On the other hand, if it gets hot mid afternoon (I live in Arizona, it’s like 113 in the summer) or cold in the morning, join him inside & enjoy being warm/or not in the hot sun. Even tell him, “You know what? Inside, outside, it doesn’t matter as long as I have you! We could in the 7th circle of Hell (also known as the Dept of Motor Vehicle =D lol) & I would be fine because I have you by my side!”
My husband and I are very opposite, but it would be so boring to be married to myself! I can barely even stand me sometimes! LOl…good thing he feels the opposite! It can work, we are living proof. We’ve been together 14 years and married almost 12. Only in the last 2 years have we had any internal turmoil, the 1st 12 years, we fought maybe 10% of the amount most normal couples do. (Normal? What’s that? Lol)

Anyone that says love is effortless or a feeling has never been in love! It takes hard work, effort & love is most definitely a verb, it’s something we have to actively choose to do with intention for the one we love, not for ourself. We get the benefits of loving them, but it’s gotta be selfless and for the benefit of the one you’re loving!

Good luck!

Reply

What to do if I have tried all these steps but yet end up in the same, loveless marriage situation? I love him a lot, but I love me, too. I want to be happy and I want him to happy. I hate fighting. I don’t want to fight. He is a beautiful person, inside out. I guess we are not meant to be together.

Reply

I agree. Collaboration and together in healing and growing. My things I’ve presented have just been suggestions, in hopes my wife would identify one and we could go with together

Reply

My boyfriend and i fight all the time over time. With me with the children. My oldest father passed this year at 31 and my daughter at 7 i have so much going on my brain won’t shut off im so lost

Reply

I fight with my fiance a lot lately and we tend to disagree on things.
It is very hard to understand him sometimes. I have hard time active listening and suffer from anxiety that gets worse when I stress or feel something is not right between us. He has made some mistakes in the past that were heartbreaking. I forgave him and then we later got engaged. Tonight we got into an argument and he broke up with me and left the house. it’s almost 4 am and I don’t know or understand his actions. Is there someone else, or other distractions again or what can be the reason. It is not normal if one wants to be alone. Or is this not ok for man or woman engaged? He ment it to be break up?Knowing what kind of memories it brings back for me. I don’t know how to take all of this. I love him dearly and was going to get professional help for my anxiety and personal issues but he said he can’t wait anymore and wants to be single. I am so confused… ((( i am devastated . plz someone help how to talk to him ? I love him with all my heart and believe he is the one. I come from a different culture on top of that and we have 8 yr difference. Which I love. I dunno what to do with myself. I know we can be so happy with him. At least he makes me feel like noone ever did in my entire life. I said yes and ment it wholeheartedly ((((((

Please i need support or some logical ideas

Reply

I have been with my husband over 12 years and the last several we have been thru it . I don’t feel like he is himself anymore and I know I am not but I love him and I love what we shared . is it really possible for him to fall in love with me again or do I need to let go. . I’m scared and broken

Reply

This Is the Best Way To Fight With Your Partner, According to Psychologists

When it comes to relationships, conflict is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be emotionally distressing or callous. Couples can disagree and, yes, even fight while still showing compassion and respect for each other, according to psychologists.

In fact, clinical psychologist Deborah Grody says, married couples who don’t have any conflict are often the ones who end in divorce. “Relationships that can’t be saved are relationships where the flame has completely gone out, or it wasn’t there in the first place,” she says. When one or both partners are indifferent toward their relationship, they don’t care enough to even fight, according to Grody.

That said, frequent heated and hurtful conflict is certainly not healthy or sustainable, either. You can have conflicts with your partner in a constructive way, and it may actually bring you closer together, according to a 2012 paper published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers found that expressing anger to a romantic partner caused the short-term discomfort of anger, but also incited honest conversations that benefited the relationship in the long run.

If you want to navigate conflict with your partner in a healthier and more productive way, keep these things in mind during your next argument:

Be curious about your fights

During counseling sessions, Noam Ostrander, an associate professor of social work at DePaul University, often asks couples, “What does the 5:30 fight look like on weekdays?”

“They sort of smile because they know,” says Ostrander. That’s because, Ostrander says, couples often have the same fight over and over — almost following a script — without solving anything.

A common cause of “the 5:30 fight,” Ostrander says, is one partner wanting to tell the other about their day, and the other partner avoiding it — needing a minute to decompress after getting home from work. This likely leads to one partner accusing the other of not caring about them, and the other partner feeling attacked.

Instead, Ostrander encourages couples to pinpoint what triggers this repetitive fight, and try out ways to compromise instead of allowing the conflict to erupt. Rather than following the same old script, notice that you fight when one person gets home, and suggest a new way around that. “You can say, ‘What if we just pause, say hello or kiss hello, give it 15 minutes, and come back together,’” Ostrander says. This way, both partners can communicate that they do want to hear about the other person’s day and together, find the best way to do that.

Schedule a time for conflict

Despite having even the most open lines of communication, conflicts are still bound to happen. And when they do, it’s helpful to choose a time to talk through problems, according to Grody. “If you start to have a fight, say, ‘Let’s pick it up this evening, or another time when there’s time to discuss things,’” she says.

Get our Living Newsletter. Sign up to receive the latest career, relationship and wellness advice to enrich your life.

Thank you!

For your security, we’ve sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don’t get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.

Setting aside time to work out disagreements allows both partners the space to regroup and prepare, Grody explains. They can think about the best way to communicate their feelings in a calmer, more rational way, so as to avoid the instinct of being defensive or accusatory. “Most of the time, things are said on impulse in the heat of anger,” says Grody. “But the words stay with us.”

Call a timeout if you or your partner needs one

During an argument, it’s common for one or both partners to enter “fight, flight or freeze” mode, according to Ostrander. Humans enter one of these modes when they think they may be in danger, he says. “Fight or flight” refers to when stress hormones activate to give people more energy to either fight the stressor or run from the situation. And “freeze” mode occurs when a person simply does not react at all, in hopes that the stressor loses interest in the fight, he says.

When a couple is in this precarious zone, problem solving is highly unlikely, because each person is solely focused on reacting to the perceived threat they feel from their partner. And if only one person is in the “fight, flight or freeze” mode, while the other is trying to resolve the issue, it can frustrate both people and escalate the fight, Ostrander says.

“If you’re really upset with someone and they’re trying to problem solve, it can feel like they’re not even listening,” he says. “I often encourage, in those moments, that someone needs to call a timeout.”

And you can frame this timeout in a way that doesn’t make your partner feel like you’re simply walking away. “Perhaps somebody says, ‘Okay, I want to have this conversation. I need like 10 minutes to calm down. I love you, I’m not going anywhere,’” Ostrander says. “‘We’re going to come back to this, we’re going to figure it out.’”

When returning to the discussion after the brief hiatus, both people will be in a better place to make real progress, Ostrander says.

Get the latest career, relationship and wellness advice to enrich your life: sign up for TIME’s Living newsletter.

Make requests instead of complaints

Fights often start with the same two words: “You always.” Rather than asking their partner to do something they’d like them to do, like cleaning up around the house, people jump to make accusations, according to Ostrander.

“You’re not getting what you want, because of how you’re asking for it,” he says. It’s easier for people to ask their partner why they never do something than it is to simply request that they do it.

Saying, “I’m not feeling great. I’m stressed about the way the house looks. Would you mind picking some stuff up?” is more direct and respectful than putting your loved one down for his or her failure to meet your need, Ostrander says. It’s also more likely to result in your partner completing the task.

Listen, and ask your partner for clarification

When the time comes to sit down and talk about solving conflicts, Grody says the most important thing couples can do is to listen — without interrupting. This can be more challenging than it seems. If your loved one says he or she doesn’t feel heard, for example, you should listen until your partner is finished speaking, according to Grody. Then, ask for clarification if there is something you don’t quite understand.

Asking, “what makes you feel like I’m not listening?” is a much more tactful way to address your partner’s complaint than simply saying, “well, I’m listening, so you should feel heard,” Grody says. Making sure you’re holding eye contact and positioning your body toward your partner when he or she is speaking will also signal that you are listening. These small adjustments can prevent countless fights down the road, Grody says.

Related

And of course, during any fight, insults and character assassinations should be avoided at all costs, according to Grody. “Once it gets to the point where there’s name calling and things like that, the discussion should stop,” she says. “It’s not going to go anywhere.” Couples can come back to the conversation when both parties have had time to cool down.

Learn the right way to apologize to your partner

Just as people have different love languages, Ostrander says we have different apology languages, too. It’s not enough to recognize that you’ve hurt your loved one and you owe them an apology: You have to know them enough to tailor your apology to their needs, according to Ostrander.

“Some people want big gestures and some people want, ‘I’m really sorry I hurt your feelings, and I will take steps not to do that again,’” says Ostrander. “The process is figuring out what’s meaningful for your partner.”

Contact us at [email protected]