How To Stop Arguing And Get Closer Instead

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couple tired of the arguing in their relationship

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. To accomplish this, you must learn how to argue effectively and stop arguments that will damage your relationship.

You and your partner are different people and will likely have different approaches to resolving 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.

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 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.

RELATED: 6 Communication Secrets All Happy Couples Know

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

How to stop arguing in a 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 some arguments 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 allow 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.

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.

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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 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 pause the conversation.

This is unbelievably important; it’s an agreement that you and your partner need to have that supersedes everything, including your 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 return later to let cooler heads prevail.

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, slamming doors or cabinets, or 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.

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3. Determine how long you need to be apart.

When you’re angry, you’re literally not thinking clearly. That means you lack 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 must also determine how long 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 an 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 calmly and rationally, 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 shut each other out and put 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 allows your partner to acknowledge where they messed up, and you can get closure to your pain. Everyone needs validation.

RELATED: 7 Tips For Communicating With Your Angry Spouse (Without Making It Worse)

5. Reconnect with a hug.

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

Make it a rule that you hug each other when the arguing is done. 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 make you feel bonded and closer together. 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: 32 Ways To Improve Your Relationship After An Argument With Your Partner

Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and fiction author.