(Closed) How to argue in a healthy, productive, and respectful way

posted 9 years ago in Relationships
Post # 17
214 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I love this thread! My Fiance and I argue alot, we are semi LDR as he is stationed 2hours away and cost prevents us from seeing each other more than two weekends a month. Not bad, but we seem to spend alot of our phone time arguing, then when he comes home it can continue.

Generally when an argument starts on the phone, one of us usually ends the convo before the argument ‘takes off’. I hate wasting our precious time together having squabbles. Ours seem to come down to the culture difference. We have such differing expectations of each other. But the tips of communicating are really practical and helpful… and the listening thing. I definitely have issues with that.

He, I, we need to find a way to discuss without feeling that our opinion is invalid, or not being misunderstood, I am realising the heat of an argument is not the best time to do that.

Post # 18
706 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

This is more of a philosophy than a tactic, but something that has helped us immensely is to think of fighting/disagreements as myself and my husband working together to solve a problem that is harming our relationship (so it’s me and my husband vs. the problem), rather than thinking of it as me vs. my husband. This takes the focus off of winning/being right and puts it onto actually working on what is harming me/him/us. That’s not to say that we don’t ever get angry or frustrated with each other, but knowing that we’re working together to create the best partnership possible really helps both of us when we’re at odds, because hearing his point of view (even if I disagree with it) is another piece of information that will help us reconcile, rather than something that will threaten my own point of view.

Post # 19
383 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

View original reply
@mckernae:  OMG! I LOVE this!! I am the oldest child in my famiy and the only girl…so I’m bossy AND spoiled…so that carries over into my relationship and I am fixated on being right AND getting my way…Fiance DESPISES  this about me and I’m really trying to work on this. Because nobody wants to be the bratty wife, lol!

I love your philosophy of me and him against the issue as opposed to both of us trying to prove our points and trying to be the one to make the other apologize first. SMH…it is so childish when I think about it. I also like the advice of keeping in physical contact I notice if he is getting heated and I grab his hand and rub it between my hands he IMMEDIATELY calms down.

Post # 20
2638 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2006

Patience patience patience.

We never raise our voices and we never interrupt. (I think it goes without saying that we would never swear at one another.) Usually if we can manage to keep calm and not talk over one another, things stay respectful and we can usually reach a solution. My husband and I (I feel) are very fortunate because neither of us has a problem admitting we were wrong or apologizing.

Also. My husband manages a LOT of people in a very competitive field and his main beef with arguing/bringing up issues in the relationship is coming to him with a problem and not having any ideas of how to solve it or make it better. Like, he doesn’t like to be bitched at for bitching’s sake, if that makes sense. So . . . I resort to my 7th grade health glass format:

I feel ___ when you ___ because ____. I need ____.

It doesn’t always work, but it helps as a jumping-off point.

View original reply
@panterapeach: These are all very good.

Post # 22
11375 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

My own personal quote:

You’re fighting a losing battle. Because you are arguing with the one person you are suppose to be working with through life’s challenges, together! You have to remember, you are on the same team! Don’t let pride take you over. Pride doesn’t make you right in the arguement, it only makes you weak as a team. If you really want to win, stop fighting a losing battle no matter who started it & figure out what is going to make it work. Because you can only win if you both make it together, not by figuring out who is wrong or right.

Pride is what takes over in these heated arguements. Its pride that wont let you stop yourself from saying things you don’t mean to say. Its pride that holds you back from saying sorry, forgiving & moving on from the arguement.


Post # 23
2023 posts
Buzzing bee

Going back to the sarcasm topic – point blank, if you are feeling hurt/disrespected/whatever, just be honest and flat out say “that really hurt me”, or “that really upset me”. It seems simple, but nobody thinks to every just stop and do that. You can have heated debates or arguments, but when people are starting to feel emotionally vulnerable or abused, then you know that the conversation has veered off course. Taking a second to just reflect on how you both are feeling, and then redirecting back to the issue is a simple concept, but very effective. 

Post # 24
4334 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Wow, this thread is full of great ideas!

We rarely *fight*, we more just say things that hurt each other, and then once we gradually start talking (get past the point of just being mad and trying to figure out our personal feelings,) then we are fine b/c we just apologize and say we love each other and cry a little. 🙂

Anyhow, in our marriage prep class, we learned about this thing called the “speaker-listener technique.” (We’ve never really had to use it, b/c like I said above, we rarely have *arguments* that are like “i’m right and you’re wrong.”)

But it goes like this: They gave us this magnet to put on our fridge, and it’s called “The Floor.” The technique is big into not interrupting, and trying to *understand* what the other person is saying. 

So what the magnet says is:

Rules for the speaker:
-speak for yourself, don’t mind read
-keep statements brief. Don’t go on and on.-stop to let the listener paraphrase.
Rules for the listener:
-paraphrase what you hear
-focus on the speaker’s message. don’t rebut.
Rules for both:
-the speaker has the floor.
-speaker keeps the floor while the listener paraphrases
-share the floor.

So basically the way it works, is one person (the speaker) gets to have “the floor,” and they say what they want/how they feel. The other person can’t interrupt. Then, when they’re done, the listener says something like, “so what I heard you saying is,  <this> is what you want/feel. Am I right?” Then they go back and forth until the speaker believes that the listener understands his/her side. Then, they switch sides, and the listener becomes the speaker and gets to say how he/she feels/wants.

The idea is, in the heat of the argument (assuming you have already discussed “the floor” as a possible method that you agree on, 😉 ) then in the heat of an arguement, someone can run into the kitchen and grab it off the fridge and say, “I have the floor! You have to listen to me say my side!” 🙂

Post # 25
7899 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

My struggle is getting my non-confrontations, easy-going Fiance to tell me when small things bother him. He often expects small things to just go away or stop bothering him, but when they don’t, his impatience and ___ (anger seems to strong a word) grow until he breaks down and either gets really upset or withdrawn and still doesn’t want to say why because he thinks it’s stupid he is so bothered by it. I’d prefer to know early and nip it in the butt. We’re talking small things, like that I leave water glasses all over the apartment (always makes me think of Signs), but they can really get to him after a while, and I can’t be proactive if I don’t know he’s annoyed. Big stuff, we’re great at communicating respectfully about that!

Post # 26
350 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@mckernae:  THIS. A simple and best way I have heard this put is that you are a part of a team now. Arguments should always be you and your partner against the problem. It isolates the problem, and the goal is to collaboratively find a way to solve the problem. It doesn’t always have to be a joint problem, where you’re both upset, because if one person is upset it is a problem for both by default of both being members of the same team. So if one person is feeling upset, both members should figure out where the problem stems from and work to solve it.

It’s not me vs you, it’s me AND you vs the problem.

After I heard this, it revolutionized the way I look at arguments!

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