When you argue with your partner, the point should never be to try and cut one another up, but rather to find common ground and a solution to whatever issues the two of you might be facing.
“Arguing is a form of communication that requires assertiveness and a clear purpose. You listen to each other with the goals of examining the issue and reaching a solution,” Mphunga says.
He offers a few key pieces of advice that couples should consider:
Listening is vital
Mphunga says that listening to each other, not just hearing is one of the most important things to do in an argument.
“Often, the other party listens to respond instead of listening to understand, which drags the argument a lot longer than it should and leads to no resolution, just heightened animosity,” he says.
Avoid referencing past issues
He also advises that when you are dealing with an issue, deal with it alone and don’t drag past issues into it.
“Bringing up past issues when dealing with a current one won’t have any positive impact on whatever it is that you as a couple are trying to resolve,” Mphunga says.
Don’t let the argument drag on
It’s unhealthy to let an argument drag on forever and couples should not go on for longer than, at most, an hour.
“Don’t argue for the whole day – try to keep it to less than an hour. And make sure that in that time, you have been deliberate about finding a solution to the issue,” Mphunga says.
“If you keep going the whole day, this will only amount to an ineffective and resentment-building exchange of communication.”
Apologise when you’re wrong
Mphunga says that it’s important to put your pride aside and admit when you’re wrong and apologise for it.
“If you apologise, you will also be able to clearly see that the argument was worth the time spent on it because the both of you know where each one was coming from – and see where you were wrong in analysing a particular situation,” he says.