by Sheri E Ragland
No matter how much a couple loves each other, disagreements will always occur. In fact, it is healthy for a couple to disagree because two people in a relationship are not the same. To be honest, each can bring a different perspective to the communication process that may be worth considering (Ragland, 2014). However, arguments that escalate into harsh communications can be devastating to the relationship over time. Therefore, it is important to assess your relationship as a couple and develop a simple a plan to promote healthy disagreements and move forward. For example, I found these seven key strategies helpful in promoting healthy disagreements.
- Know the dynamics of your relationship. Knowing how your partner thinks will help in developing a communication style that brings collaborative resolution rather than destructive criticism and disrespect. It is a fact that men and women perceive things very differently. This difference can create confusion in the communication process. Find strategies that will embrace your partner’s thinking, instead of belittling and ridiculing. He or she will be more receptive to discussions through the process of fair inclusion.
- Find a quiet place and time to discuss an issue. Distractions can cause you both to become frustrated and lead to behaviors that prevent healthy outcomes. A quiet place and time to talk about the issue can also help both of you to stay calm and think more clearly. When you make the time to talk with your partner, he or she will see that you care and may respond more positively.
- Stick to the facts. Don’t assume that your partner knows your thoughts. It may take a brief explanation with a follow up question that summarizes your understanding of your partner’s thoughts to make sure you are both on the same page. When you both stick to the facts, you stay focused on the relevance of the discussion; and, it may help you both to find the root of the problem as well (Ragland, 2015). Focus helps to minimize arguments and find solutions more quickly.
- Do listen. The point of listening promotes fair communication and helps you to understand what is important to your partner. Listening also promotes calmness, respect and open-mindedness. It is an invaluable trait that comes with maturity and patience. It is a trait that you both may need to develop as well.
- Leave negative thoughts in the past. A large contributor to escalating disagreements is bringing up past arguments and issues that are irrelevant to the present situation. As challenging as it may be, leave negative thinking in the past there is no place for it in the future. There is no benefit to negative thinking. The only benefit to considering past issues are to not make the same mistakes in your relationship going forward.
- Quickly resolve the disagreement, if possible. See the big picture, which is to find a resolution you both can agree on and move forward (Ragland, 2014). However, there will be times that you both may not find a resolution. Depending on the nature of the situation, it may be perfectly fine to just move forward. The goal is to bring closure to an issue and spend your valuable time on more important things.
- See the big picture. It is imperative that couples focus on what is positive as much as possible. Through calmness, encouragement, humility, respect and open-mindedness, it is easier to manage disagreements in your relationship. After all, the most important aspect of managing your relationship is to be happy and successful together.
As mentioned, it is natural for couples to disagree. How you as a couple manage disagreements can make the difference in the success or death of your relationship (Ragland, 2015). The seven strategies provided will help you both to think about what you should positively contribute to the relationship consistently over time. Why? Relationships cannot manage themselves; they take individuals to invest time, care, persistence and patience daily for the best outcomes.
Ragland, S. E. (2014). Seven deep insecurities men don’t women to know. Crossbooks Christian Publishing. Nashville: TN.
Ragland, S. E. (2015, March 3). Seven common signs that you and your partner are not managing conflict. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://buzzaboutrelationships.com/2/post/2015/03/seven-common-signs-that-you-and-your-partner-are-not-managing-conflict1.html.