Frustrating and escalating fights happen when couples approach their argument with a goal of winning. Naturally, there can only be one winner, and since both want to win and both feel they are correct, it usually does not end well.
Instead the goal of the argument should be to understand the other person’s position as fully as possible, and then to make yourself understood. It must be in that order: to understand and then be understood. Ask questions to that end.
Understanding another person does not mean agreeing or endorsing that opinion, it just means being able to put yourself in that person’s heart and mind, so you can see how and why that person holds a particular belief or position.
When you show you care about the other’s point of view and respect it, even if you do not agree, it decreases their anxiety – by several notches. And since their point of view was treated with respect, giving in will feel much less threatening to their identity. –
Excerpted from Marriage 911, Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R and Chaya Feuerman, LCSW-R authors.