Every couple gets into arguments with one another. In many cases, these arguments happen on a daily basis.
Hopefully, level heads prevail, but couples will inevitably encounter times when the discussion can turn a bit ugly.
With the divorce rate being approximately 41% for first marriages, it is crucial that every couple learns how to handle heated arguments.
Understanding the Differences Between Men and Women
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It’s important to understand the differences between men and women in relation to handling an argument. Women tend to be more emotional and react to their feelings. On the contrary, men tend to be less emotional and more matter-of-fact.
During an argument, a woman may get even more upset and emotional if their spouse isn’t showing any sign of emotion, because it might make her think that he doesn’t really care. Similarly, a man may not understand why his wife is upset and crying about something that he doesn’t think is that big of a deal.
By understanding these key differences, you can try to better relate to your spouse by putting the situation into his or her perspective.
Speaking with a Calm Voice
During an argument, it is crucial that you do not shout or yell at your spouse. Instead, speak with a calm voice.
Yelling tends to make the situation worse. When one starts to yell, the other feels the need to yell even louder. This can cause both parties to get even angrier, causing the argument to turn into a screaming contest, instead of actually discussing the issue at hand.
When you speak in a calm voice, you send a message to your partner that you really want to resolve the issue and come to an agreement.
Bringing up Issues from the Past
Arguing can bring up old familiar feelings. Perhaps the current issue reminds you of something bad that happened in your relationship previously. However, it is essential that you do not bring these feelings from the past into the current argument.
When you do this, it shows your spouse that you haven’t truly forgiven them. This can add fuel to the fire, starting a whole new argument.
It may be difficult to push these feelings back, but doing so can help save a marriage by focusing on resolving the current issue you and your spouse are experiencing.
Agree to Disagree
Occasionally, it will be impossible for you and your spouse to reach an agreement during an argument. This is when you simply have to agree to disagree.
After doing so, you can set a compromise to resolve your quarrel, and get back to marital bliss.
What tips would you add to this list from your own experience with heated arguments?
This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide. Check out her site to learn more about dental assistant training and other exciting health careers.
Excellent post. Understanding the differences between how men and women react to arguments (emotionally or matter-of-fact) is so important when it comes to ending and preventing fights. Thanks for the good read.
My pleasure to share these thoughts with you, Dean. Keep up your great work!
I would add: Remember this phrase,”Would my beloved really mean what I think s/he said?”
Often words fail us when we are frustrated or emotional. If you feel like you spouse said or did something awful, take a breath (maybe two or three) before immediately reacting.
Go beyond the words/actions to your beloved’s heart. Would my spouse actually mean that thing that sounded so hurtful? Or are they failing for words? Or are they hurting and lashing out? Allowing their hurt to cause you to react will often bring the disagreement from the real situation. Then it becomes more about what is said than dealing with the hurt and anger that started the disagreement.
Tell your beloved what you thought you heard and how you felt. Give them a chance for a do-over or maybe some time to cool down or think before continuing.
Don’t let any disagreement turn into a way for your partner and you to hurt each other.
When you begin to practice using your hearts and feeling each others pain, then you can learn more about each other and have a disagreement become a way to be closer rather than farther apart.
Excellent advice, Susan. Thanks so much for adding it here!
That is VERY true. So many times say “He didn’t mean it as bad as I thought.” I usually ask for clarification when get offended.
I thinks its important to know when to argue and when to be humbly apologetic and sympathetic. You need to ask yourself if firstly there is an underlying issue that is manifesting itself as another, smaller argument. Often this is the case and the real issue needs to be addressed as well. Most of the time its not the topic at hand which is the real issue, its more something to do with the relationship, ego, sinful actions and insensitivity.
Secondly you need to work out it its worth the argument in the first place. Even if you do not understand what you have done wrong, it is sometimes best to apologise, listen and show sympathy. Work out what your priorities are and only argue strongly on things you feel passionately about. In other words, pick your battles wisely. Jumping on your spouses mistakes every second of the day is not healthy.
Not sure if I agree completely with the calm voice recommendation. A raised tone or volume indicates emotion, and can be helpful to openly discuss your feelings. Suppressing emotions is not healthy. A good yelling match followed by reconciliation can do wonders for a marriage.
Thanks for your thoughts, Sean. I agree with picking your battles, even if it’s difficult sometimes!
I think the yelling vs. not yelling has a lot to do with your family of origin since you’ll react differently depending on how you perceive the intentions. Personally, I really don’t like being yelled at and it does NOT help us to fight fair or constructively. 🙂
I have to say that a lot of stock goes into gender differences and there’s a ridiculous assumption that relationships are male/female. I find if frustrating.
I am a woman. I am logical and emotionally reserved. I don’t intend to break the stereotype – I just am the way I am. As I get on in years, I am discovering that I am not as rare as this article (and many others) imply.
I would like to suggest that such implications and stereotypes help to create these gender differences. At the very least, they sure as heck isolate readers who don’t fit the mould.
I would like to see some advice given that is gender neutral and all inclusive (many of our beautiful relationships are NOT male/female) such as:
– If you can’t practice respect, practice silence.
– It is just as important to not take offence as it is to not give offence.
– Look at what you have put into a problem and what you can do to change that rather than focussing on what the other has put into the problem and what he/she can do to change it.
Or maybe you can change the title to: How to Handle Heated Arguments – If You’re Straight and Stereotypical
Or are the rest of us not invited?
Thanks so much for your thoughts, Jenn! I was wondering when a strong dissenting opinion would be added to this guest post (meaning I didn’t write it). I agree with your statement that sometimes the male/female assumptions, such as some of those in this article, just don’t apply. We all have different personalities, and there are certainly very sensitive and emotional men as well as logical and emotionally reserved such as yourself.
That said, in the vast majority of marriages that I’ve encountered (friends, family and within the EM community), these traits do often fall in line with the “stereotypes” and impact our relationships accordingly. I suppose that’s why they’re stereotypes, but there are of course exceptions all around us.
To answer your last question, Engaged Marriage is here for everyone (we have a lot of single readers actually, mostly for financial topics), though any talk of sex/intimacy is going to be discussed in the context of being between a man and a woman…though not necessarily “stereotypical” as you suggested. 🙂
If you’d like to write a guest post with a different point of view, I certainly encourage it. You can reach me at Dustin [at] EngagedMarriage.com
I agree it shouldn’t be gender driven. I hate arguments so I always take the analytical approach to the problems. My Other half actually made me cry one time in 27yrs. The only emotion I tend to show are very reserved. Not typical female
I love the agree to disagree piece of advise. http://www.themarryblogger.com/ Sometime it is challenging to get my partner to agree to disagree
This is really good advise http://rafeeq.doomby.com/liens.html I usually encounter these problems in my relationship. thank for the advise.
I also find unsubstantiated folklore such as “females are emotional and males are logical” to be passe. The two paragraphs under the section “Understanding the Differences between Men & Women” have a complete disconnect from the rest of the post. The advice is general and practical but not gender-specific to claims made in those two paragraphs.
Can I quickly point out that science has indeed proved that men and women brains are wired differently and hence they tend to generally respond and react in different ways to similar stimuli. Of course there are exceptions.
That said, I must also say that we (men and woman) do seem to get along fine in most circumstances (work, committees, boardroom, church etc.) even when we disagree. However in relationships all hell seems to break lose when there is a minor disagreement. Why? I believe that it has to do with the emotions love. We seem very susceptible – I dare so vulnerable – to the opinions and feelings of our spouse. They can lift to heights of joy or plunge us to depths of sadness with the mere flicker of the eye.
I agree with the writer but would like to add that one thing you should never do and one thing you should always do.
1. Never push your partner’s hot buttons
2. Always push your partner’s hot buttons
Let me quickly explain. We have both negative hot buttons (things that angers, irritate and upsets us) and we have positive hot buttons (things that makes us melt with love and passion). We should avoid the former and indulge the latter.
Something else just popped into my head also, know when to stop pushing the hot button if you in advertently upset your spouse.
So sorry for the delayed response. But THANK YOU so much for all your feedbacks. I appreciate those who pointed out their own opinions. They give me something to think about. 🙂 Life after all is an on going learning process.
Very good blog. It helps to married couples for maintain good relationship in-between.
I agree that maintaining a calm demeanor, or “charging neutral,” is key in effectively expressing concerns during a confrontation with your spouse or significant other.
I agree that staying calm, or “charging neutral,” is a key factor in effectively expressing concerns during a confrontation with your partner.