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Relationship advice for couples who argue

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A question which can prey on people’s minds if they are concerned about their relationship is if it is ok for couples to argue? And if arguments do occur, can it be done healthily?

The idea of healthy arguing can seem like an absurd idea for some. However, it is inevitable that at some point in a relationship, there will be some disagreements. This is to be expected in a functioning relationship between two healthy and independent people.

However, if you find that more often than not, you spend time in your relationship endlessly bickering and arguing, there are some ways you can take a step back and re-evaluate. Our blog explores why arguments happen and how you can prevent the same ones recurring.

A water droplet in water.

Can you argue in a healthy way?

In short, the answer is yes. Instead of having unnecessary, emotion-provoking arguments, there are methods you can try to communicate your thoughts and feelings healthily, instead of needlessly creating a full-scale argument.

How to handle arguments in a relationship

There are so many reasons and methods to try; our article will only focus on a select few. Here at Remainly, we offer personalised advice for couples through our extensive online service.

Finding the pattern of arguments

Many things can affect a relationship and create tensions between two people. The source of arguments between couples could range from a variety of external factors to the relationship, such as issues and stress produced from work or money worries. Alternatively, it could be unresolved feelings which have leaked into the relationship from the previous one, such as feelings of mistrust.

Whatever the source of repetitive arguments may be, it is essential to try and document the patterns in which they keep recurring. Try to identify the ‘typical’ make-up of the arguments. Think about the subject of the arguments, the situations where the arguments usually occur, what is said, how things are said and what do you each do.

Diary, pencils and flowers on a table

Review each person’s immediate reaction in times of stress

A useful exercise is to identify how you and your partner react at stressful times leading up to an argument. This is something you can both try individually.

Anger and fear

Here at Remainly, we understand that anger and fear are the two quickest emotions of the human brain. Looking back to our ancestors, we used these two reactions when sensing danger and it is how we have survived.

While predators and general danger are less of a risk in the modern age, our brains are still programmed to react in this way when we feel stressed or are met with confrontation.

How to deter automatic response in an argument

There is a way to combat ploughing straight into responses which show anger and fear when in a confrontation with your partner. It begins with de-automating your natural reaction and may take numerous practises to adjust.

Give yourself time

Try and predict your reactions of irritation, anger or fear before you fully reach them. If you recognise yourself feeling this way, ensure you pause.

Whether you need to go outside or enter a different room, try and do whatever you need to allow yourself some extra time to digest the situation and choose a wise course of action. The break will enable you to overview the situation instead of heading straight into your immediate reactions.

4-2-4 Breathing technique

Here at Remainly, we recommend a basic breathing technique. It is easy to utilise is the 4-2-4 breathing technique:

  • Inhale for four seconds
  • Hold your breath for two seconds
  • Then exhale for four seconds
  • Repeat as necessary

Signal to your partner

Keeping your other half informed is integral to the experience so they can understand what is happening and why. It may give them a chance to also reflect upon their involvement in the situation.

Agree on a signal which transmits (that?) you are taking some time out. Upon return, explain that you were taking some time to adjust your automatic (automotive describes the world of automobiles)  reactions and are ready to continue.

Document responses

Remember to record the scenario so you can recognise feelings as they occur.

Try to include:

  • The automatic responses you felt
  • The situation it happened

Then share these with your partner and brainstorm (about?) how you can help each other should something similar happen again.

A cloudy sky with blue and pink hues.

Avoid reactive words

An aspect of an argument we can probably all relate to and are guilty of, is the ‘Abrupt Attack’.

The ‘Abrupt Attack’ is where your partner brings up an issue and unwittingly uses accusatory or critical language.

Consequently, you return this type of accusatory language or remove yourself from the conflict.

Words to avoid in an argument

There are a couple of trigger words in an argument which can spark a negative and unproductive reaction. These should be thoroughly avoided when discussing with your partner:

  • ‘Never’
  • ‘Always’

These can cause a sense of criticism in the other party, hence their flight or fight reaction where they either repeat similar, critical language or leave the situation entirely.

Discuss abrupt language together

Take the time to talk to each other about the critical words and phrases each of you use. Then create a signal to use in future arguments when you feel abruptly attacked. You could also roleplay this beforehand.

Hopefully, this advice may help you to figure out where your arguments may originate and methods to combat automatic reactions taking over.

If you require further advice, our expert, relationship counselling, online service at Remainly can help you. Our sessions are headed by Andreas who has extensive experience advising couples on a vast range of topics, including advice for those who argue.

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