4 Steps for a Successful Argument

1. Regulate Emotion

One of the things that happens when we’re having a difficult conversation is our internal thermometer goes up. In other words: we get emotionally flooded. The more our emotional temperature rises, the more uncomfortable and possibly threatened or attacked we feel. Remember feeling attacked, doesn’t mean your partner is actually attacking you.

2. Transition from Talking About the Issue/Problem

When one or both people get flooded, the tendency for couples is to keep trying to work out the issue. Instead of continuing to engage in a heated conversation, your priority needs to shift to do things that lower the emotional intensity in the conversation.

3. Take Time for Self-Care

You may think resolving the issue is what you need to feel better in an argument. However, feeling upset is when it’s most important to step back or zoom out. Kindly suggest taking a break. Take the time to do something for yourself to calm down. Find self-care strategies that help you feel safe, calm and cool that don’t require your partner’s cooperation or involvement.

4. Learn How to Soothe Your Partner.

According to John and Julie Gottman: couples’ ability to repair is the key differentiator between couples who last and those that don’t. A repair is a simple, quick and effective signal, gesture or communication that sends the message in a way that your partner not just hears it: But FEELS IT. Some examples of successful repairs are: giving a hug, smiling, warm eye contact or simply moving closer to your partner. When you do these simple soothing techniques it can equalize the tension so you can more effectively continue the conversation.

Michell Stanley Founder & Executive Director



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store