Ask Alison- Summer 2010

Ask Alison

Why is it that so many couples have problems with arguments? You simply wouldn’t believe how many couples I have counselled that don’t know how to have a good argument!

Based on my experiences, these are some of the reasons why arguing doesn’t work:

they insist on being right
they want to get their own way
they are oblivious to the meaning of what their partner is really saying
they bring up past grievances at every opportunity
they don’t say what they want, rather they beat about the bush
they play tit for tat
they certainly don’t listen
they refuse to forgive

Does any of the above sound familiar? Well if it does here are some good rules for rows which are used at many couples counselling centres:

1. Choose the best time and place
2. Stick to the real issues( Don’t argue about the cleaning if the real issue is sex)
3. No one runs away, leaves before it is finished
4. No one uses ‘tears’ or the silent treatment.
5. Physical violence is out
6. Avoid hitting below the belt: personal attacks, dragging up past offenses, name calling etc
7. No manipulation by emotional blackmail or withdrawing sex to punish
8. Aim to build bridges and find a way through together
9. Avoid looking for a winner and loser
10. Admit mistakes and start looking for a positive solution

No relationship is perfect and rows are inevitable. If you can use them as a means to grow together rather than apart then your relationship is much more likely to succeed and flourish. After all, no ne wants a bad relationship do they? Why not start to work on making your rows work for both of you instead of tearing you apart?

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