Quarreling? Arguing? Discuss perspectives.

You have differences of perspectives. Of course, you want your position to be heard and respected. So does your spouse. It ought to be shared in a congenial and respectful discussion.

But too often, such discussions wind up becoming quarrels or arguments. You know you’re quarreling when you find yourself getting irritated and wanting to prove your point and you are not going to back down until you’ve won. Pay attention to your emotions, thoughts and even body sensations; you’ll know if you are quarreling.

If you feel that you’re headed that way, ask for a timeout so you can redirect your energies to a more productive conversation. “This is not how I wanted this conversation to go, I need to collect myself. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Think about the long term relationship, not only about this particular issue.

Plan what and how you will share. What is your goal – to persuade or win? to share and come to a workable resolution? to get some particular information? Stay focused on that goal, and don’t get sidetracked.

If your spouse is moving toward an argument, contain yourself, don’t take the bait – as hard as it is. It takes two to quarrel, and only one to preempt it.

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