Every relationship has harmony and conflict.
When two people clash over who is right, it’s a crystallization of the ongoing power struggle that every relationship goes through, regardless of how subtle that struggle might be.
The clash might be a simple discussion with no real detrimental impact on each party. That’s the ideal. However it might also escalate to a serious fight which encompasses verbal and even emotional abuse, which obviously can have some serious consequences for those involved.
If it gets to this level, nobody wins, even if either or both parties feel they did. The negativity that our energy has absorbed will take some time to be cleansed and in many instances it lingers in our vibration and remanifests when another argument ensues.
That negative energy is dis-ease, which we all know will eventually transform into physical disease if harbored for long enough.
So is winning a screaming match worth it? No. What about the feeling of winning an argument when all it has done is caused both parties to energetically feel like shit?
It is in this light that I will discuss three ways to truly “win” an argument in a relationship (the catch being that both people actually win). I’m going to assume that’s what we all want anyway.
1. Make our partner’s feelings as important as ours.
Active listening is all good and well, but we can listen to another point of view and respond to it with our own argument without validating how they feel. Yet the validation of a person’s emotions is such a critical aspect of deescalating conflict and reaching an agreement, so it should be made as an important priority for your partner as it is for yourself.
We already clearly know this. Even if we’re feeling a little irrational or outright over the top, it does us the world of good to know that our partner has acknowledged how we feel and attempted to make us feel better.
The same therefore applies to them; give them the experience of being cared for first and then put forward your own argument, it will ensure that they’re still not fighting to be understood and will therefore be more open to listening to your perspective.
Ultimately, if both people feel that their feelings were validated, then both win.
2. Make it a debate, not an argument.
Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we were all the same? Isn’t it a good thing that we view reality in unique ways? Yes and yes.
When we butt heads with our partner, which is going to happen no matter how emotionally developed we are, think about how a debate works. One party puts forward their opinion, the other listens to it, and then they rebut.
Their rebuttal will have their own argument entwined throughout. That’s when it’s the original speakers turn to listen and then put forward their rebuttal and closing statement. This is followed by the closing statement of the second talker.
When using this methodology in the context of a relationship, there is one striking difference. The end goal is to not win, but to come to an agreement. This usually includes some compromise and sacrifice on both sides, but hey, to reach an agreement, it’s worth it.
And if an agreement is reached, then both win.
3. Make it a learning exercise, not a competition.
It’s actually a desirable component of life to have a difference of opinion because it brings many positive elements to the relationship. This includes knowledge, understanding, learning, growth and awareness.
So when a conflict arises in our relationship, look at it as an opportunity to learn. This makes sense too, because even if we’re convicted in our beliefs or point of view, how many times has that happened before and we turned out to be wrong?
Therefore, going into a debate with our partner, even if we think we’re right, will no doubt prosper if we are open to the fact that we could be wrong and that we might actually learn something. This will positively alter the way that we word our opinion, our tone of voice, our body language and our general approach.
And if both partner’s are learning, then both are winning.
Some people say that yelling is a good way to release anger and that releasing anger is a good thing. However I think that’s just a bullshit justification for poor behaviour; releasing our anger in productive ways, such as taking it out on a boxing bag, is obviously a good thing, but routinely having a screaming match with our partner is a dysfunctional, harmful and unhealthy way to operate.
Therefore a relationship’s conflict—which is inevitable—should be managed in a developed way so that its members aren’t plagued with the dissonant and damaging vibrations that accompany ongoing verbal and emotional abuse.
It’s just one less free-fall in life’s emotional roller-coaster ride. That sounds like a win to me.
Author: Phil Watt
Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Google Images