Finances, housework, the in-laws, physical intimacy... There's a long list of things couples argue about (many of which never get resolved). So what's the best way to win these tiffs with your sweetheart? Obviously, for both of you to "win" and walk away with a stronger, happier relationship than before. Is that possible? Yes! Here are six ways the both of you can get your "win" after every argument:
Studies have shown that transition times in the morning and evening, like saying goodbye for the day or coming home at night, are when the biggest fights happen. Reed Larson and Maryse Richards, two psychologists in Chicago, did a study to pinpoint what time of day family conflict was highest. They found between 6 and 8 p.m., was the trigger zone because the long work day has just ended while the work of getting kids fed and put to bed is just beginning.
Lesson: If you find yourself feeling testy between those times, bite your tongue and approach the argument at another time. Wait until everyone has had some time to relax and eat before diving into your concerns.
2. Strive to see eye to eye (literally)
Where you sit or stand can influence your argument. Positions that elevate one person above the other can elevate feelings of superiority while the lower positioned person feels defensive and resentful. Being on the same eye level will allow you to see each other as equals and collaborate more easily.
3. Get comfortable
According to a study by M.I.T., Harvard and Yale professors, people are more flexible during an argument when they're sitting on soft chairs. Hard chairs make people rigid to the topic being discussed, but soft cushioned chairs make them more accommodating.
4. Set a time limit
The most important points are stated in the first opening statements of an argument. After that, arguments ensue and you begin to repeat yourself. Have a three or five-minute rule, make sure both of you have the same amount to talk, then call a timeout with a short break before coming back together to discuss and resolve the conflict.
Using a calm tone of voice will keep the argument from escalating. Choose your pronouns carefully. Instead of placing blame by saying "you," use "I" and "we" to show you are making an effort to rectify the situation together as a couple. Say you're sorry. Chances are, you've both been wrong in some way or another, so clear the air.
You might be an excellent multitasker, but set that skill aside while arguing. Give him your full attention by listening, watching and staying engaged by sitting up and leaning forward. Don't use his talking time to plan your next line of attack. Actually listen and respond accordingly.
Soft physical contact can keep things from reaching boiling point. Holding hands or gently touching arms helps you feel connected and work through things you don't see eye to eye on.
All families have conflicts. Learning to manage the conflict is what makes your family happier. Now, you have the knowledge and tools you need to end an argument in a way that can actually help restore harmony in your home.
Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.