5 Simple Ways To Stop Arguments In Their Tracks & Get Closer To Your Partner

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How To Stop Fighting & Arguments From Hurting Your Relationship
Love

Communication is an exceptionally important part of any intimate relationship. But even happy couples will fight and bicker sometimes.

What you need to know about any disagreement is how to argue in a way that brings you and your partner closer together when it's over.

In order to accomplish this, you need to learn how to argue effectively and avoid big mistakes during a fight that will damage your relationship.

RELATED: 8 Simple Rules For Arguing Effectively (So You're Not Going Around In Circles)

You and your partner are two different people and will likely have quite different approaches on how to resolve conflict and disagreements.

These differences can frequently cause more issues, since one or both of you may be hurting or upsetting the other in an attempt to resolve the problem — whether you mean to or not.

And sometimes, even with the best intentions, bringing up what seems like a simple request to you may make your partner feel provoked or attacked.

So, the best way to get through these bumps in the road is to take steps to de-escalate the situation before it gets to relationship-damaging levels.

If you want to know how to communicate better and get through disagreements and fights so that you’ll actually end up closer, then you need to argue smarter, not harder.

Here are 5 steps you can use to stop a fight in its tracks and strengthen your relationship.

1. Pay attention to when you’ve had enough.

There are arguments where you can be civil, agree to disagree, and walk away. But then there are arguments that will turn ugly and have you and your partner screaming.

One of the easiest ways to keep this from happening is to pay attention to the clues your body is giving you. Knowing when you need to take a break from disagreements can help keep things from getting too heated and allowing one or both of you to make threats or say things you might regret later on.

When you begin reaching a point where anger is taking over, it’s important to pause, collect yourself, and let your partner know you need a break.

But how can you tell when this is happening?

Pay attention to the signals you’re displaying. Are you rolling your eyes when your partner speaks? Are you interrupting them when they try and give a counter-argument? Are you using mean-spirited statements, or goading and belittling them with name-calling?

Maybe your heart is pounding, or you feel like you need to run away. If you reach a point where the argument is breaking down and you’re losing control, notice what signals you’re putting out. 

Learn to recognize them for the future. Your body will tell you when you've had enough — but you still need to be the one to admit it.

2. Use a “safe word” to determine when you both take a break.

Once you realize that you’ve reached a point where you can’t be civil or respectful to your partner — or even that your partner can’t be this way to you — the argument is at an impasse.

Neither one of you will be willing to back down from the fight right now, even if you’re wrong; maybe even if it causes pain. So, it's time to stop the conversation.

When you get to the point where you’re no longer trying to resolve the issue and instead have resorted to tactics to cause pain to one another, use a pre-determined “safe word” to put a pause on the conversation.

This is unbelievably important; it’s an agreement that you and your partner need to have that supersedes everything — including your own anger.

When you use this word, it’s not a means to stop your partner from speaking, but rather a method for you both to walk away and come back at a later time to let cooler heads prevail.

RELATED: 10 Simple Ways To Have Healthy Arguments With Your Partner

While you’re both calm and in a good mood, decide on a phrase or word you can use mid-argument that means you both stop what you’re doing and separate.

This means no muttering under your breath, no slamming doors or cabinets, and no attempting to undermine this safe word. This word is used to put your relationship ahead of both of you.

You must honor this decision in an argument, even if you're so angry you can hardly speak.

Your relationship needs to have higher precedence here than your individual anger. Using this word allows you to remember that.

Once the safe word is used, stop talking, take a break, and calm down. You can reconvene later.

3. Determine how long you need to be apart.

When you’re angry, you’re literally not thinking clearly. That means you’re lacking the ability to make a fully rational decision and you need to cool off before you can use your common sense once more.

The point of using a “safe word” doesn’t mean that you and your partner let the matter drop. Whatever you were fighting about before is still going to be an issue.

When you decide on your safe word, you’re also going to need to determine an amount of time to calm down. This way, you can know when to return and address the problems.

Are you the kind of person who needs a long time to get back to calm? Make it 30 minutes.

After the safe word is used, this is the amount of time you'll go off and cool down. If you’re still not ready and need more time, seek your partner out, let them know you need and additional 30 minutes, and then separate once more.

This will make your partner feel validated and loved, even while the argument is ongoing and your tempers are high.

Once you’ve cooled off enough, it’s important to ask your partner if they’re ready to talk, too.

Repeat the process until you’re both level-headed and able to speak in a calm, rational way, and then actually have a calm conversation about the issue.

4. Always own your part in the fight.

No one wants to admit when they’re wrong; it’s hard and often feels embarrassing. But admitting your responsibility in the fight is important.

If you’re angry at your partner for something they did, admitting you were wrong in yelling at them doesn’t negate the fact that what they did hurt you.

But if you both hold onto pride and anger instead of apologizing, you’ll end up shutting each other out and putting distance between you. You'll damage your connection.

Start with something simple like, “I’m sorry I spoke to you that way. I was upset over what you said, but I shouldn’t have snapped at you.”

This gives your partner the chance to acknowledge where they messed up, and you can both get some closure to your pain. Everyone needs validation.

5. Reconnect with a hug.

It’s easy to feel really stupid after a fight or have difficulty in reconnecting with your spouse, but you still love this person. And right now, you just don’t know how to show it.

Make it a rule that when the arguing is done, you give each other a hug. Much like how you might make your kids “hug it out” when they’re fighting, skin-to-skin contact and feeling your partner’s heartbeat against yours will help soothe and calm you.

Science has proven that hugging can help release hormones that will make you feel bonded and closer together, so giving yourself this opportunity will help you reconnect once the arguing is done.

No couple is perfect. Arguments, disagreements, and even fights are bound to happen.

But if you know the right way to get through it, you can learn to improve your communication, stop fights in the future, and actually use these moments to get closer to your partner than ever before.

RELATED: 9 Key Rules For Fighting With Your Husband

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Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and fiction author. Visit her website, MeretheWalther.com, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.