Arguments happen all the time – when you least expect them. No matter what kind of relationship you have — with bosses, friends, girlfriends or wives — it‘s inevitable that you will have to deal with disagreements. Its how you deal with them that matters. Here are some healthy ways to argue that I suggest. I give them to my clients and I’ve tried them at home and they seem to work for me.

  1. Don’t make personal jabs. Stick with how it makes your feel. Be vulnerable. Say I’m afraid right now, or I’m feeling overwhelmed with work, the kids, emails, etc. Do this instead of anger or blame. Vulnerability is the door to having greater intimacy.
  2. Decide on a common goal and stick with it. To argue effectively, you have to know exactly that you’re arguing about. Otherwise one small issue can blow up into a rehash of everything you’ve ever done wrong for the past 5 years.
  3. Use reflective listening. This means that each person gets a turn speaking without interruption. Then the other person must repeat what they think they heard and give their partner a chance to correct it. Once that’s done, the process reverses and the other person gets to speak their piece.
  4. Agree to disagree. Too many couples make the mistake of thinking that resolving a fight means that both people have to come to the same viewpoint. This usually means that someone admits to being wrong and changes their position, which can lead to stored resentment. A fight doesn’t have to be about right and wrong. Each person can have a valid but differing viewpoint.
  5. Take it to a different location. If you find that you are not getting anywhere with your argument go to another location and talk about it. For example, my husband and I will go outside under the porch swing to take the edge off of the heaviness that we might be feeling right now.