We all have fights; if in doubt, ask the most ‘loving’ couple you admire from a distance. You’ll probably find out that they have more fights than you could ever imagine. A successful relationship then, is not about not having quarrels, but about how you manage disagreements and come out unscathed. Therapists have some tips about how to best keep the peace, that are worth trying.
1. Begin your complaint with ‘I’ instead of ‘You’. It immediately shifts the focus, taking the argument down a notch, because your partner doesn’t see you as laying blame but rather sharing a concern.
2. Cushion the impact. Literally. Psychologists agree with a survey that says people are more responsive and flexible when they are on cushioned surfaces – perhaps it really does soften the blow. Your partner will react more positively and inclined to listen attentively in a relaxed mode. It may even be a good idea to invest in a well-padded ‘squabble-couch’.
3. Ask questions instead of stating opinions. This way, you’ll learn more about why your partner acted in a way that bothers you, and show that you are really interested in improving the relationship rather than pointing out faults.
4. Employ the healing touch. Nothing takes out the prickliness from an argument than reaching out, literally. Touching strengthens connections, there’s no argument about that. Holding your partner’s hand sends an instant message that even though you’re bothered about something, you still want to hold on to your relationship.
5. Laughter is the best medicine. Even for relationship blues. A joke diffuses tension pretty quickly, especially when you and your partner share the same sense of humour. “Laughter releases tension and actually forces people to breathe”, says Maria Gamb on Forbes.com. Remember to laugh with your partner though, not at them. If they’re attuned to your sense of humour pointing out something that will induce a mutual giggle should mark the end of the spat.