Communication Conflict Resolution

Healthy Disagreements: 6 Tips for Better Arguments with Your Partner

John’s Articles

As we all know, disagreement is a necessary (and healthy) part of any romantic relationship.

But you may have thought to yourself, I’ve seen or been in a relationship when there was disagreement all the time, and it was about as healthy as the Cheetos diet.

Sure. Relationships where there is no resolution or positive outcome from the disagreements – when repetitive cycles of arguing and conflict seem to go on and on and on and on – are quite toxic. . Arguments in these relationships may involve yelling, anger, name-calling, hurt feelings, and other toxic verbal encounters, with certainly no positive resolution.

That is not the kind of disagreement I’m talking about. I’m referring to healthy disagreement, which involves both sides speaking/sharing their opinion, hearing the other side’s perspective, and then coming to some sort of positive resolution.

Often, individuals in relationships filled with toxic disagreement are excellent at speaking their opinions, but not so great at hearing their partners’. Disagreements can become a healthy part of a romantic relationship when both sides are sharing their opinion and hearing/accepting the opinions of their partner.

Sounds basic, right? Then why is it so hard?

If you and your partner are only accomplishing part one of this recipe, don’t despair.  I’m going to share some tips with you that can help you and your partner not only disagree more effectively but also reach positive outcomes from your disagreements.  

1) Set ground rules of disagreements

Setting some ground rules for any disagreements that may come up is a great way to create an environment where healthy disagreement can exist.  These rules should be agreed upon by both people in the partnership.  These rules should reflect your needs as a couple.  Some suggestions are: 

  • No yelling
  • No hurtful words/name calling 
  • No surprises 
  • If one party gets distressed, stop the discussion and come back to it

2) Touch each other (not like that)

Take a moment and picture a toxic argument between romantic partners in your head.

Got it?

You might see two people standing on opposites of a room, with their arms crossed, yelling at each other.  

Physical distance is a staple of most arguments.  When you get mad at someone, you often seek space.  Many people do this subconsciously, even when the disagreement is not that serious.  This can cause an argument to spiral and become greater than it actually is, perhaps because you’re further disconnected yourself from that person emotional.  

The next time you have a disagreement with your partner, it should help to maintain physically proximity to one another.  When either one of you is speaking, try engaging in some sort of physical contact.  You can place a hand on the knee or shoulder.  You can sit so your legs are touching etc. 

Physical contact is a great way of diffusing some of the tension and also reminding you of who you are speaking to. 

3) Base each disagreement in trust

When you sense an argument or disagreement is going to begin, remember who the other person is.  This is a person you love.  You have to trust them, and they have to trust you.  

You might be thinking: What do you mean by trust?  Of course I trust my partner.  

But in the moment that you start to disagree or argue, is that trust present?  Do you trust that your partner is not trying to hurt you?  Do you trust that they have valid feelings, just as you do? 

But in a romantic relationship it’s important to trust the other person and their perspective. Trusting your partner will help you approach the conversation objectively. There may be a difference of opinion but at the end of the day, the person you are disagreeing with is your partner; you care about them and they care about you.  Reminding yourself of this can go a long way.

So before your next disagreement, take a deep breath and remind yourself who you are disagreeing with and that you trust them. 

4) Give up the need to win (entirely)

If your answer to any of the aforementioned trust-related questions was no, then your argument will likely become about winning.

Winning a disagreement does not necessarily create a resolution. Winning an argument is great – if you are running for office. But it really has no productive place in relationships.

Your disagreements should always be about finding a resolution that works best for you, or coming to a greater understanding.

5) Listen to your partner’s perspective (as in, actually listen)

You can follow all the other tips that I have mentioned, but if you fail to do this one, your argument will end poorly.

Hearing and actually listening your partner’s perspective is the single most important thing you can do to ensure that any disagreement has a health and positive outcome.

In order to accomplish this, you will have to step outside of yourself.  You will have to be calm, be connected, and, again, trust the other person.  

When your partner shares their perspective, make sure you are listening. Actually listening. This means:

  • Avoid making assumptions about what they’re going to say
  • Avoid making assumptions about why they feel the way they feel
  • Stay actively engaged

6) Acknowledge your partner’s words and feelings

After your partner has shared their perspective, I would highly recommend thanking them for sharing and explicitly acknowledging how they feel, to demonstrate your understanding.

You could say something along the lines of “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “Now I understand that *paraphrase whatever they said in your own words*”.

Acknowledging what the other person has said will create a positive feedback loop.  They will feel heard, and the very act of expressing that acceptance will require you to really hear them out without rushing straight into your retort.  It will also likely be easier for them to then give you the same level of acknowledgment.

After you have both heard and acknowledged each other’s perspectives, you can begin to come to a resolution that makes you both happy.  

Creating this environment around disagreements will make disagreeing easier and less stressful. You can turn disagreeing into a positive experience rather than a negative one.

If you and your partner commit to establishing ground rules regarding disagreement, trust each other in the moment, give up the need to win, and hear and acknowledge each other’s perspectives, you can make healthy disagreement a part of your relationship.

Which tip do you think you need to work on the most? Any other disagreement tips you have? Comment below to share!

Did this resonate with you? Follow me on Instagram for more tips or apply for a free coaching session to talk through your unique situation.

Loving the old; exploring the new,



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