To argue productively, do not play the 'blame game'

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Blaming your spouse when fighting is not healthy and it can cause further conflict instead of resolution. Here's some tips to help lessen this

The root of problems in marriage is not conflict, but the unhealthy ways we deal with conflict. Think back to the last time you had an argument with your spouse. How did you communicate your feelings? Did you raise your voice? Did you become withdrawn or passive-aggressive? Whatever fighting habits you have formed over the years can easily be a pattern, so it’s best to keep them in check and to make sure they are productive and not destructive.

One of the most common weaknesses couples have is resorting to playing the “blame game,” even dredging up past conflicts that have little to nothing to do with present issues.

According to Dr. Lisa Firestone in an article on Psychology Today, couples who tend to point fingers when things get tense usually act out of protective defenses, unable to fully accept that they might be wrong. Though in most cases, both partners may both be right or wrong to some extent.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable

Letting yourself open up to your partner may feel like too much of a risk, but it is one of the key elements of building trust and intimacy. Instead of blaming your spouse, look inwardly and acknowledge your own flaws and faults. This way, they won’t feel attacked and you will get a chance to find patterns of behavior worth working on.

Don’t build a case against your partner

Enumerating their faults will work against you. It tends to make them more closed off and defensive. In the heat of an argument, we tend to dwell on the negative, hurling accusation after accusation. But making this a habit will form a negative view of your partner, keeping you from seeing the good in them. What’s more, it can make you overly sensitive.

asian couple fight To argue productively, do not play the 'blame game'

photo: dreamstime

Adopt a positive, problem-solving attitude

Try not to approach conflict like a battle to be won, but as an opportunity to strengthen your bond through healthy conflict resolution. Do not merely argue to prove a point, but to work at arriving at a solution or at the very least, a realistic compromise.

Make sure to communicate using “I” instead of “you” statements

Instead of saying “You never pay attention” try saying “I feel overlooked when you are distracted.” This way, your partner won’t feel attacked or judged. All it takes is a simple tweak in phrasing to help ease the tension and make your partner more receptive.

Do not threaten your partner

Hurling threats or giving them ultimatum is not a good idea because you will surely regret it down the road. Once you throw out intense statements things can escalate quickly, blowing things out of proportion. This can cause you both to lose sight of the issue at hand because you’ve reached a point where you’re both to hurt or frustrated to communicate.

Drop it and take a break

Calm yourself down and take time to reflect on persistent patterns. It would also help to attempt to have compassion and to see things from your partners point-of-view. Once you are calm, communicate and remember to be open to feedback. You will not get anywhere if you build a wall instead of a bridge. Always strive to remain connected to make your journey through marriage easier despite the occasional conflicts and road blocks.

sources: The Huffington Post, Psychology Today

READ: 5 Couple fighting styles that can harm your marriage