“We are constantly bickering, everything turns into an argument, we are never on the same page. How do we stop fighting? Where do we even begin? Talking doesn’t help!” Sounds familiar?
You are not alone, couples constantly ask me “Sofia, How can we stop fighting?” Constant arguing is obviously linked to communication issues. 99.9% of couples I work with, if not all of them, at some point or another, want to improve the communication in their relationship.
Having communication issues doesn’t always mean that you fight over every little thing, sometimes it is just 1 or 2 topics that strike up an argument. Sometimes you don’t even argue at all, you simply ignore the problem, but what if the problem is sex or intimacy? Are you willing to have a sexless life with your partner? Or are you going to ignore this until the day you feel you have to cheat? By the way, neither of these options tend to resolve the issue…. In fact, it is a double whammy issue: fix the intimacy issue and then the infidelity. Communication is the one thing that will help your relationship reach its full potential.
So where do you begin? Begin with the right mindset….
- The Right Mindset: When talking to your partner about something, are you coming with a win-lose mentality? Are you really focused on making your point? Are you trying to find every way possible to prove to your partner that you are right? If this is your approach, then you are coming with a win-lose mindset, and this will create distance in your relationship. Instead, find a way to make the relationship win. How do you do this? Walk in the conversation wanting to be curious and understanding where your partner is coming from. With this curious mindset, you are inviting your partner to tell you about their thinking process and that immediately starts changing the course of the dialogue into more connection and more understanding. This gives you the opportunity to get to know your partner even more, and for the two of you to come up with a solution.
- Get the Timing Right: If your partner is not a morning person, don’t have the conversation in the morning…. If he/she is coming home from work without space to unwind that is not the right time...If your partner is under a lot of stress or pressure then that’s not the right time. Most of the time you will know when it's the right time, but if you’re there wondering and not sure how to get the timing right, then maybe talk to your spouse about setting a time to talk. It might sound silly but make an appointment with your partner. Set a time and day to make space for the two of you to sit down and have important conversations.
- Use “I-Messages”: Get away from YOU! YOU! YOU!, Instead use “I-messages” to express how you are feeling when a certain situation happens and offer a solution if you have one, or try to come up with a solution together. Instead of simply pointing out what your partner is doing wrong, express how certain behavior or situation is making you feel. For example: “I feel__(Use a feeling word base)____,when________________.” For example: “I feel lonely when we don’t spend time together. Can we please work on having date nights, please”
- Match Your Body Language: Look at your partner in their eyes, don’t cross your arms, be open and approachable. Also, avoid texting or looking at your phone when you and/or your partner is talking and expressing themselves. Body language is important, set the tone right. Avoid rolling your eyes, or acting like you have heard it all before. Look at your partner, and truly pay attention.
- Keep in mind our partners cannot read our minds, it does not matter how long you have been with someone, communication will always be a key necessity to have your relationship thrive.
Arguing in a relationship is normal, and you will not always agree with your partner, and that’s okay. What’s important is finding a solution that makes the two of you happy.
To your Relationship Success,
Your therapy friend,
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SOFIA M. ROBIROSA
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.