How can you communicate in a relationship without fighting over the same old things?
Sometimes it seems like just arguing. As a therapist, I often work with people on their relationships, beyond the love things. A question I get a lot is “how to communicate in a relationship without fighting” and this article is about the answer.
Assume the worst
One reason we keep having the same fights over and over is that we have developed a habit of assuming the worst about our partner – instead of the best.
You begin to see their behavior or inaction as a sign of something negative, which in turn leads to communication breakdowns and conflict.
By changing 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 there’s never a situation where your partner makes selfish decisions or doesn’t listen. They’re only human and we all make mistakes like that (yes, even you and me!).
But the question is: will your relationship improve if you constantly focus on your partner’s flaws and interpret them as malicious? Or could it be better for you and your relationship if you change your perspective and no longer assume the worst, but instead assume the best?
Below are four common examples I’ve heard of as a love and relationship therapist and coach. And they all help you change perspective so that soon you don’t have to ask yourself “how to communicate in a relationship without fighting” anymore.
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 explicitly told your partner what you want. You’ve even surprised your partner yourself, just to let them know how much you’d appreciate a surprise.
For you, surprise equals love and this is how you feel most valued and cared for .
So when your partner doesn’t 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 aren’t doing, what would happen if you shifted your perspective and looked at what they are doing.
- Maybe they always make sure you buy your favorite juice from the store in town?
- Or maybe they meticulously clean the bathroom to make sure it’s fresh because they know you love that.
What are they actually doing and could you take the actions they are doing as a sign of love? Because they probably are.
2. They prioritize work over time with you – because work is more important
This is a difficult issue – work is non-negotiable – we have to work to pay our bills and put food on the table. However, the way our partner works is not always what we think is important.
When a partner works constantly and it seems like work is the only thing that matters to them in life, then it’s important to shift perspective and assume the best of intentions (rather than selfishness) behind their choice.
- Maybe they prioritize work so they can buy you gifts – because that’s how they show their love?
- Or maybe they’re working toward a big goal you used to dream of together, like going on vacation or staying at that fancy hotel you drive past every day?
What if their priorities aren’t a sign that they find work more important than anything else? What if it’s a sign of their love?
3. They never tell you you look pretty – because they think you’re unattractive
For some people, words of appreciation are an important way to feel loved. For others, it’s more about acts of surprise, or physical connection, hugs and kisses, and holding you at night.
Just because your partner doesn’t tell you what they think about your looks doesn’t mean they find you unattractive or unlovely.
See what happens when you focus on what your partner is doing to validate your looks.
- Maybe they touch you constantly or give 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 embrace the best about your partner; this will likely make you feel better and avoid the same old fights.
4. Embrace the best
How to communicate in a relationship without arguing? Well, arguments in a relationship are inevitable — but arguing about the same old things day in and day out isn’t.
Changing the way you think about your partner’s actions or inactions might be all you need to end the incessant conflicts.
Ask yourself how do you know what you think you know? And see if adopting a good intention instead of a bad intention makes a difference.
The goal of perspective shifting isn’t to eliminate important conversations or not have an argument at all.
It’s about making a conscious effort to see all the positives, not just the negatives. Because when you do that, you’ll find that the question “how to communicate in a relationship without fighting” no longer needs to be asked – it won’t be a question at all.