Sometimes it seems like you’re just arguing. As a therapist, I often work with people on their relationships, beyond the issues. One question I get a lot is “how do you communicate in a relationship without arguing” – and that’s the answer in this article.
Assume the worst
Part of the reason we keep having the same arguments over and over again is that we’ve got used to assuming the worst about our partner instead of the best.
You start to see their behaviour or inaction as a sign of something negative, which in turn leads to communication glitches and conflict.
By changing your perspective, you can let go of the little annoyances and focus on what your partner is doing to make you happy. This is one of the many things that keep a relationship alive.
Now, that’s not to say that there are never situations where your partner makes selfish decisions or doesn’t listen. They are only human and we all make mistakes like this (yes, even you and me!).
The question, however, is: if you constantly focus on your partner’s mistakes and interpret them as malicious, will your relationship improve? Or could it be better for you and your relationship if you change your perspective and no longer accept the worst but the best?
Below are four common examples I’ve heard of as a relationship therapist and coach. And they all help you to change your perspective so that soon you don’t have to ask yourself “how do you communicate in a relationship without arguing”.
Four examples to help you communicate in a relationship without arguing
1. They never surprise you – because they don’t love you
This example hurts. You hinted at it and you explicitly told your partner what you wanted. You even surprised your partner yourself just to let them know how happy you would be if you were surprised.
For you, surprises are synonymous with love and that’s how you feel most valued and cared for.
So if your partner fails to comply with a simple and easy gesture, you immediately think of the worst-case scenario: he doesn’t love you.
But instead of looking at what they’re not doing – what would happen if you switched perspective and looked at what they were doing.
- Maybe they always make sure you get your favorite juice in that shop down town?
- Or maybe they are meticulously cleaning the bathroom to make sure it’s fresh because they know you love this.
What are they actually doing, and could you consider the actions they are doing as signs of love? Because they probably are.
2. They prioritize work overtime with you – because work is more important
This is a difficult subject – work is non-negotiable – we have to work to pay our bills and get food on the table. However, the way our partner works is not always what we think is important.
If a partner is working all the time and it seems like the only thing that matters to them in life is work, then it is important to switch perspectives and suspect the best intentions behind their choice (rather than selfishness).
- Maybe they prioritize the work to you presents to buy – because they are so showing their love?
- Or maybe they are working towards a big goal that you used to dream of together, like going on vacation or staying at the fancy hotel that you pass every day?
What if their priorities aren’t a sign that they find work more important than anything else? What if it’s a token of their love?
3. They never tell you that you look pretty – because they think you are unattractive
For some people, words of appreciation are an important way to make themselves feel loved For others, it’s more about doing acts of surprise, or physical connection, hugs holding you at night.
Just because your partner isn’t telling you what they think of your looks doesn’t have to mean that they find you unattractive.
See what happens when you focus on what your partner is doing to confirm your appearance.
- Maybe they are constantly touching you or giving you quick massages.
- Maybe he / she is always the first to suggest bathing together?
- Or maybe they are really good at buying you clothes for your birthday?
Flip the script and assume the best about your partner; this will likely make you feel better and avoid the same old arguments.
4. Accept the best
How can you communicate in a relationship without arguing? Well, fighting is inevitable in a relationship – but fighting over the same old things day in and day out isn’t.
Changing the way you think about your partner’s actions or inaction could be all you need to end the perpetual conflict.
Wonder how you know what you think you know And see if assuming a good intention instead of a bad intention makes any difference.
The goal of changing perspectives is not to eliminate important conversations or to avoid an argument at all.
It’s about making a conscious effort to see all the positive aspects, not just the negative ones. Because if you do, you will find that you no longer have to ask the question “How do you communicate in a relationship without arguing” – it will no longer be a question at all.