Couples argue for many reasons, none of them good or excusable, but it’s just part of being in a relationship, right? Not necessarily, and if you believe that it is, it’s time to change your thought process. Life is stressful enough without stress in your love life. My relationship is where I go to relieve stress. If you like arguing, maybe you should go into MMA or politics; a love relationship has very little room for that kind of toxic energy.

What couples need to do sooner rather than later is look at the process that drives the decision-making before, during, and after an argument. Understanding that there are various approaches to managing your arguments, so they don’t cause hurt feelings, is paramount to creating a stress-less love life. Couples must look at new ways to deal with how their arguments occur.

For some, learning argument-management skills will be a journey to places that they do not usually tend to go, for the simple reason that it makes you examine your relationships. This journey does not leave much room for taking life—or what you each think you know—for granted, but learning how to deal with your differences will make your relationship truly resilient.

There are numerous triggers for arguments, and it’s better to spew than to stew, but it’s always good to first think to yourself, “How will my partner receive this?” before saying anything. Taking this nanosecond before launching into your list of complaints du jour can prevent a momentary upsetness from spiraling downward.

If you are a grudge holder, you have more work to do. Stockpiling, or being a laundry-list fighter, does not work. My other half and I have our minor upsets, but neither of us holds on to anything negative, and our goal is to keep making our relationship as good as possible. Having that as a goal can add to making your relationship a much more comfortable place to be.

Being honest with yourself is not easy all the time, but for some people being brutally honest with their partner is pretty simple. Couples who tend not to pull any punches when the emotions escalate to a high level may have serious problem. Saying the wrong thing can actually ruin a relationship. I have known many people who can trace the demise of their marriage to a single sentence uttered without thinking.

Disagreements cannot be helped, but being agreeable is a choice that both of you can make. You have to stop toxic arguing in its tracks. It’s not that hard. The first to recognize that the argument has become hurtful simply needs to say what he or she is feeling at the moment. “Ouch!” can work well. The idea is to let the other person know that this “discussion” has become painful, and it’s time to ease off and let some healing take place.

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