Does this sound familiar to you? You get in an argument with your significant other, they yell, you sulk (or vice versa), you go to bed angry, wake up and keep going at it? Every single time you argue?
How many of us can usually predict what will start a fight, who is quick to throw a jab below the belt, how long the fight will last, and who is usually the one to break down and say, “Honey, let’s not fight anymore” to keep the peace?
A lot of us (I’m including myself as well) fall into these “argument ruts” where we are so, well, predictable. For example, I know if my husband and I get into an argument, I have a tendency to raise my voice. Not yell, but talk louder. As a result, he tunes me out. Which gets me even more angry, so I talk louder. (Okay, now I’m yelling.)
Even though I know this, we continue the same cycle. What would happen if I made a conscious effort to keep my voice level? What if, instead of tuning me out, my husband simply asked me to keep it down? What if we changed our learned behaviors, just once, to see what would result?
Try it. Next time you have a disagreement, do the opposite of what you normally do. Loud and argumentative? Take a deep breath and count to 10 before speaking to keep your angry tongue in check. (Feel free to curse in your head, though.) Usually playing peacekeeper? Take your position firmly and see what happens. If nothing else, your significant other will be thrown off by the sudden change in personality.
Have you ever tinkered with your usual behavior to see different results during an argument? How did it work?
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