“What I say always ends up in an argument or big fight, leaving me tired and worn out with my partner, I don’t know what to do!” We are always on the lookout for the perfect answer. Even though we spend countless hours searching for the answer to our problems online, listening to our friends’ advice, and reading relationship-help books, we still find ourselves in a constant arguments. So, how can I stop arguing so much with my partner? What are some tips to quickly de-escalate arguments?
To begin, we should point out that this is completely normal. At the end of our sessions together, couples often ask, “How can I stop fighting with my partner?”
Why Are You Getting Stuck in This Cycle?
First and foremost, it takes two to get stuck in this cycle. We cannot stress enough to couples that both partners are involved in the arguing. Blaming one person will not solve the problem or teach you new skills. So we usually start by helping the couple understand that conflict, arguing, and fighting involves both partners!
Let’s say it together…it takes both partners!
The next thing you need to understand is that this is not out of the ordinary at all. There is a lot of talk about how to stop fighting with your partner and improve your marriage communication when we see couples in our program. Our 9 tips to quickly de-escalate any argument with your partner should provide you with some new tools. We know exactly what you are thinking – is that even possible?
Contrary to popular belief, arguing with your partner can be helpful. However, there are some methods that are constructive — and others that can destroy your relationship. “All couples argue,” it is a fact! What is unhealthy is screaming and saying hurtful things that you can never take back.
The hard part is that arguments can quickly escalate into something you did not even see coming.
A conversation may start out well, but then you start arguing with each other about everything you’ve ever argued about, or you get stuck in a horrible loop over the semantics of something you said four and a half months ago. It can feel like you have no control over it and that there is no way out. But there is, and the key is to calm down the fight and de-escalate the argument.
The first thing you need to do is get a grip on the conversation, give yourself some breathing room, and focus on the real problem. The best thing you can do now is get back to the main point of what’s going on and figure out what the hidden issue is, and how to fix it. Here are some tips you can implement right away to calm down any argument.
Recognizing Hidden Issues
Your spouse has made plans without informing you, or has forgotten to put the toilet seat down, or has refused to offer to help with the dishes, and you’re fuming at the thought of it happening again. But, are you truly enraged about the dishes at this point? When emotions are triggered during relationship conflicts, it is critical to be able to identify and understand the underlying issues that are causing the conflict to escalate. Unexpressed expectations, needs, or feelings that, if not addressed, can cause significant damage to your marriage are examples of a hidden issue.
It is an obvious sign that a hidden issue is present in your relationship when a conflict erupts with an emotional intensity that does not correspond to the significance of the seemingly unimportant event that occurred during the conflict.
When we have emotional needs, there are feelings behind them that we must learn to communicate to our spouse in order to be validated and not be used as an attack on our spouse, as if they are not meeting our needs, but rather as a way to assist our spouse in meeting our needs.
9 Tips to Quickly De-Escalate Any Argument
1. Concentrate on How You are Feeling
In an argument, if you tend to focus on facts and semantics, try talking about how you FEEL instead. It serves as a gentle reminder to both of you that you care about one another and that you should remain focused on the personal aspects of the disagreement. Not only will it assist you in de-escalating the situation, but it will also assist you in better understanding your partner.
When handled with tenderness and kindness, disagreements can even serve to strengthen and improve relationships. People who feel less understood by their partner after an argument experience lower levels of happiness, whereas people who feel more understood by their partner do not experience this decrease in happiness.
2. Get Rid of the Tit-for-Tat
If you start listing all the little things that your partner has done, it can become a complete mess. These declarations of judgment are usually made from a sense of insecurity, as if you’re being judged by someone else. You might be tempted to double-check but remember that two wrongs do not make a right. As opposed to going at it with each other, take a deep breath and get back to the root of the problem. Discover the real hidden issue! Make use of our 48-Hour Rule: No bringing up anything from the past after 48 hours have gone by.
3. Recognize and Accept Responsibility
When you catch yourselves going over the same things over and over make sure you’re acknowledging and accepting responsibility for your part in the conflict. Each partner must take responsibility for their part in contributing to the problem by owning their actions. Failing to accept responsibility for our actions and blaming our partner on a consistent basis is a sure sign that the relationship will remain unhealthy and will result in feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness on a consistent basis.
Nobody is without flaws. Slowing down a fight requires being willing to acknowledge and deal with your own mistakes as well as those of your partner.
4. Draw Attention to the Elevation
Things can sometimes spiral out of control without you even realizing it is happening. Before you know it the argument is out of control. This is an opportunity to draw attention to the argument and take a moment to say, “What exactly are we doing here”? How did we get to this point? It’s possible that you’ll both be more willing to back down.
5. To Gain Clarity, Ask Genuine Questions
Ask a lot of questions and try to understand how your partner is feeling and thinking. Leaving your own world for an extended period is necessary in order to truly understand theirs. It also aids in slowing down the momentum of the argument and increasing your understanding of one another. Rather than just exchanging insults back and forth, this is far superior.
Arguing can become intense very quickly, so knowing how to de-escalate the situation is essential. Simply maintaining a sense of perspective and concentrating on finding solutions will allow you to prevent the disagreement from spiraling out of control.
6. Listen – Understand – Validate (L.U.V.)
You do not have to agree with your partner’s point of view to resolve the situation, but if you continue to act as if the other person is completely delusional, the situation may escalate. Consider listening to your partner as if you were on a trip to another planet. Regardless of how drastically different they appear from your own, you want to show respect for them while also being curious and open to their traditions.
As the other person talks, pay attention to what they say and don’t say, without judging or looking at your own thoughts. Understand their point of view. When it’s necessary, explain things and give them space to explain. Accept their feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to agree or relate, but it’s important to show them that you understand their feelings. Take steps to demonstrate that you value their point of view, even if you do not agree with it.
7. Begin to Look Toward the Future
Taking a step back and looking at your relationship can help you get back on track. Take a step back and consider where you want your relationship to go in the future. If you want to think about the future, try to imagine yourself at a point in time that makes you happy to think about: your wedding, or the birth of your first child, for example.
When you think about these happy moments, think about who you want to be right now and in the future. Keep in mind all the reasons you fell in love with and chose your partner. Then tell them about your dissatisfaction with the dishes in the sink. It’s important to maintain perspective on the big picture.
Our actions and thoughts are inextricably linked. Taking control of your emotions allows you to accept responsibility for your actions. Unfortunately, we have no control over anyone other than ourselves. Neither we nor anyone else has any control over their feelings, and neither do we have any control over theirs. While we may have an emotional reaction to something our partner says, we can choose how we will respond. As you will see in the information below, we can alter our emotional reactions simply by changing our thoughts.
The ability to soothe oneself may seem obvious, but, as with so many things, it is not always easy to master! It is necessary to have good self-awareness to recognize the signs of flooding to master this skill (or emotional over-stimulation). Individuals experience different bodily signs, but they may include flushing or heat, agitation, racing heart, sweating palms, rapid pulse, and shallow breathing to name a few. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek help immediately.
Some people become overwhelmed and experience symptoms of anxiety or panic, while others become enraged and lash out in response. The ability to recognize your own specific signs and symptoms is essential to avoiding reaching this point in the process. Once you’ve learned these, you can begin to build a repertoire of skills that will allow you to remain calm at the first sign of trouble. Again, different skills work for different people, so experiment with them and see which ones work for you the best.
Consider using self-soothing techniques before beginning a stressful conversation, or during a conversation that becomes emotionally draining for you, as an example. The latter situation may necessitate the need to request a time out first, but you must also commit to a time when you will return to finish the conversation. Deep breathing, meditation, or prayer, stretching, writing, reading, a bubble bath, going for a walk or doing some other physical activity, music, or any other distractions, such as petting the cat or dog, singing, tensing, and relaxing your muscles for at least 20 minutes, and so on are examples of relaxation techniques.
In the act of interrupting a continuous stream of thoughts or racing thoughts, thought stopping is defined as follows: Many professionals believe that our emotions are a natural extension of our thought processes. A story that is playing out in your head is most likely the source of your frustration or escalation in a disagreement with your partner.
To change your feelings, you must learn how to interrupt this endless stream of thoughts. If you visualize a STOP sign, take deep breaths, and count each one in and out; repeat this until you feel calmer or can think of something else to do with your time. If you can argue the point from the other person’s point of view, you will be able to break up your stream of consciousness in the process.
Finally, remember even if you have negative disagreements, your future together can be bright. The key is to master damage control. If you know what to listen for, you may find that your partner is more accommodating than you thought.
Remember to take a break if you need to calm down, feel overwhelmed with emotion, or if your partner’s (or your own!) emotional state is impacting your ability to have a constructive conversation. You can simply ask for a break, change the subject, or notice that you’ve veered off track. Decide on a time to return to the discussion after you have both cooled down.
Hopefully, these tips we have provided here will assist you in moving forward and quickly de-escalate any argument. If you require assistance or want to strengthen your bond, Couples coaching may be the answer. It’s a confidential environment where you can address issues and improve areas of your relationship.
You can get your relationship back on track by making an appointment with us today. Our website’s blog section is also a good place to find additional resources for resolving your relationship issues. Also stop by our new couples store – the “Inspired By Us Shop” for great date night tips, and more.