Is there a such thing as a good fight? A peaceful argument? A productive disagreement? The truth is…having disagreements is a normal part of being in a relationship.

When couples go through major life events (like a new job, new baby, new home, etc.) studies show that it is normal for couples to argue more during the initial transitional period.

Couples going through these changes should keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Speak one at a time. Are you both talking with equal time?

Nothing can be more challenging to a passionate person than not accidentally talking over or interrupting their spouse during disagreements. It’s usually unintentional, but overtaking, interrupting, and dominating the discussion is one of the quickest ways to disengage your partner or at the very least get on their nerves.

2. Let go of over-proving your point. Look for possible compromises.

I know you just want to get your partner to understand where you’re coming from. But after more than a few attempts trying to get them to see your point, it can come off as your partner thinking that you are unwilling to move forward unless it was your idea. That their opinions or concerns don’t matter.

3. Try not to make general statements, like saying “You always forget to make the bed, you never compliment me.”

It can give the impression to your spouse that you will never be satisfied because you don’t acknowledge the instances when they do show changes.

4. Follow through with agreements made.

This is a trust factor. It will become difficult for your partner to feel they can trust you if you ultimately do your own thing even after you both have decided on a plan. You may see it as changing plans based on new needs, but they may view it as a lack of security or deception that doesn’t help them to feel confident in making other major decisions with you.

5. Allow for a break (at least 20 min) when disagreements get stressful or heated. Return to discuss the issue again once things are calm.

You may feel an urgency to settle matters right then and there. But if the energy is super tense, your good intentions could lead to more problems. Our tone, tact, and patience often go out the window when we feel stressed. It’s better to calm down, so we don’t blow up or shut down. Let each other know when you need a minute to cool off.

Written By: Natasha D. Oates, Award-Winning Therapist & Relationship Coach

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