How Can I Keep an Argument With My Partner From Getting Out of Control?

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When I treat couples one of the most common questions, is that how do I prevent an argument from getting out of control. One of the things you have to remember, is that once our heart rate goes above a certain amount, you are not listening anymore. So, one of the most effective strategies I give to couples, is calling a time-out. Now research has shown that the most effective amount of time for time-out is at least 20 minutes.

What that helps you and your partner to do, is to regulate your emotional systems. It helps you to bring your blood pressure down, it helps you to get to the place where your're not reacting, and becoming defensive, and saying things that you may regret and can never really take back. The caviet to this, is the person who calls the time-out needs to be the person who always comes back.

So 20 or 30 minutes later come back when you've cooled down, when you can actually talk about how you're really feeling, and how you can actually resolve it. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree, but a lot of times, a middle ground solution can be found. When you do come back from that 20 or 30 minute time-out, what is very effective is using I-language instead of you-language. You-language sounds a lot like what were you thinking today, and how could you be so insensitive, but a better alternative would be, what I really need is a little bit more sensitivity because this is really hard for me. That second answer, using that I-language has been shown to get your significant other, most importantly to really listen to you. When you feel heard, when you feel understood, it's amazing what that can do to the health of relationship. It will help your relationship to be healthy, it will help you to create long-lasting love, and it also as parents has a profound effect on the health and happiness of your children. Use these strategies, don't let those arguments aspire lot of control for the health of you and your relationship.