Arguments in any relationship are unavoidable. Two people, with two separate sets of needs, calls for the occasional battle. Whether with a friend, sibling, or your partner, fights are definitely in your future.
Arguments can vary in level of seriousness, or possible detriment they can cause. Regardless, the vast majority may not be worth losing that person, or somehow destroying your relationship. The key to surviving arguments is which ones you choose to pursue.
Picking your battles is something I learned at a young age. My older sister used to always remind me of this in the midst of an argument, and it was definitely a lesson I was happy to learn. Now that I am older, I am able to decide which battles are actually worth fighting. Which battles I’m actually passionate about. Which battles are important to me. And which battles can somehow improve the relationship versus damage it.
In my relationships, I find that there are several ways to decide which of those fights to choose. Many of them require a thought and time to decide if it’s worth the trouble.
How to best pick your battles:
Level of importance
Is a particular issue an annoyance vs. an actual problem? We all have good and bad days, and some things, like the direction in which the toilet paper roll hangs, can drive you nuts. Be sure, though, to consider how fighting a battle that inferior can ultimately affect the other person. Will they be hurt? Will they feel unappreciated? Sometimes it might be easier to just flip the roll and move on…
There’s a time and place for everything. Is it the right time to discuss this issue? Or could this be better handled in the future? Somethings just don’t need to be addressed right away. For example, you’ve just gotten engaged, and you are not sure where to send your kids to school. Are you planning on having kids in the next year? If not, maybe it’s not something that you need to get into right this second…
Ability to compromise
Being able to compromise is crucial to the success of any relationship, especially when it comes to potential arguments. Is this a topic that isn’t very concerning to you? Pizza vs. Thai? Or which coffee table to purchase? Which color to paint the new room? Again, take into consideration how important this is to you vs. your partner—will it affect them more than it will affect you? Sometimes it’s worth the compromise…
Is it life altering?
Fights can vary from life altering to unworthy. Whether it’s relocating to another city/country, or deciding whether or not to have children, these decisions can completely change your life. How significant is the issue? And where do you stand compared to your partner? These types of discussions may be worth the battle—just make that you are able to appropriately get your point across.
Can you let it go?
If you decide to completely drop a topic and not pursue a discussion, you actually have to drop it. Don’t avoid the problem because you don’t feel like dealing with it, otherwise you can develop negative feelings like resentment and anger. If you’re choosing to comprise, be 100% okay with your decision…
If you choose to pursue the battle at hand, come prepared with valid points, and be constructive. Actively listen, and try to understand the other person’s point of view. Choose your words wisely, and be kind. Take time to think about things first, and engage in discussion after you’ve had time to calm down. Remember, it’s of the utmost importance to always be respectful.
Not sure how to share your feelings with your partner? Peek our tips on how to best communicate your thoughts…