How to Shut Down an Argument Without Shutting Down Your Spouse

BY: - 30 Mar '17 | Communication

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What couple hasn’t had an argument? All couples disagree. It’s natural.  It is normal to have differing opinions from time to time. What’s not normal is fussing and cussing, going back and forth, and arguing till someone shuts down. Let’s reverse this. It’s time to shut the arguments down.

Believe me, I’ve been there. Years ago, my husband and I used to argue, trying to get our point across. There were times when he would leave the room and I would follow him, as if to say, “Wait a minute I’m not finished yet. You are not getting my point.”

How silly right? Well, through the years we have learned a few things that you may find helpful. The goal is to not argue and to disagree without being confrontational.

However, if an argument occurs here are 4 strategies to help you shut down the argument without shutting down your mate.


  1. Stop the argument before you are at a point of no return and agree to come back to it when you have both calmed. Don’t bring the subject up again until the agreed upon time.
  2. Use phrases that express your truth in love to end the argument. Here are 4 examples – Let’s talk about this later; I don’t want to argue; I care more about you than this argument, let’s drop it; We are not going to argue, let’s move on to something else.
  3. Refuse to be taken off your game. Take responsibility for your actions and responses. Your mate can’t make you scream and yell. They can’t make you slam doors or call folks out of their name. Really, they can’t make you mad. Refuse to go there. Keep yourself in control of your emotions and responses.
  4. Communicate in a way that expresses love. Choose words that express love even during a disagreement. I know when my husband says, “Sweetheart” before his sentence, he is choosing his words wisely so not to offend me. I recognize and appreciate that.

When I was a kid my mom would say, “It takes two people to argue. If one of you would be quiet, there would be no argument.” Mom’s advice still rings true today and could be number 5 on this list.

As you look back, you may not remember the reason for half of your arguments with your spouse. Why? Because as important as the matter seemed then, it was really just a small thing in the big scheme of your lives. Now that you realize how insignificant most arguments are you can decide to shut it down.

Arguments don’t do your marriage any good. Have a conversation and hear one another out. Remove the swinging pendulum of emotion. It may take some time but you can do it. You can shut down an argument without shutting down your mate.

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BMWK family what are some positive things you do to shut down arguments?

About the author

Deborah L. Mills wrote 186 articles on this blog.

Coach, AUTHOR, Speaker, WIFE, Mom, and GRANDMOTHER. That's the gist of who I am. I love people and love to see their life and relationships thrive. As a coach I am ready to support your dream when you don't feel like it. As an author and speaker I am ready to pour into your life so that you can live your best life now. I am a personal and executive coach. Together with my husband I also marriage coach. GO TO MY WEBSITE. THERE IS A FREE GIFT THERE WAITING FOR YOU.


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The One Thing You MUST Have If You Want Good Communication with Your Spouse… No Exceptions

BY: - 12 Apr '17 | Communication

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There is one thing that needs to be present before you can even begin having or improving communication with your spouse – honesty. And not only do you have to be honest, but you also have to be honest often. Do just one or the other, or none at all, and you risk constructing your communication on shaky ground. Let me explain.

Honesty is a must!

Honesty is very bottom rung on the communications ladder; it is the basis for all communication with your spouse. If you aren’t communicating honestly, you would be better off communicating nothing at all. The message you send provides the basis for the feedback you’ll get. If the original message is untrue, how can the feedback be of any value to the relationship?

If you aren’t communicating honestly, you would be better off communicating nothing at all.

This doesn’t just apply to dishonesty with the intention to deceive; this applies to openly communicating your thoughts, desires, and needs.

For example, one night my family was having one of those dinners where everyone was doing their own thing. My daughter wasn’t home, my husband was already sitting at the table eating something and listening to music on his laptop with headphones, when I got a plate for my son. I sat at the table, not eating because I wasn’t hungry yet. When we sat down, he continued to listen to music.

“What are you listening to?” I asked after about five minutes.

“Just a playlist I made. Do you want me to stop listening?”

“No. I was just asking,” I said, fully expecting him to take the headphones off.

He didn’t. He kept listening to music while I sat at the table in silence annoyed that he was being rude. Then I realized that he had given me exactly what I asked for. Which is not what I wanted. I didn’t ask for what I wanted because I didn’t feel like I should have to ask for something that in my mind should be obvious.

So I instead decided to be dishonest about communicating what I wanted. My message was untrue, and his feedback in response to my false message only left me angry at the end.

If you are honest about communicating your needs, you give your partner the option to be receptive to those needs. If you continue to ask for things you don’t want, you’ll probably keep getting them.

Now let’s be honest about honesty.

It’s not always easy to say what you mean. Sometimes it’s because you don’t want to hurt your spouse’s feelings. Other times it’s because you don’t want to deal with a negative consequence to an action or opinion. So how do you facilitate honesty in your relationship even when honesty is hard? Here are a few tips:

Minimize your blow-ups

If your spouse thinks every time he comes to you with honesty he’ll experience one of your meltdowns, honesty in your relationship becomes a scary thing. Every reaction won’t be positive, but try to keep calm enough so that your spouse won’t be afraid of coming to you again. Starting with a simple, “I appreciate your honesty…” can start positive communication off on the right foot.

Own up to the consequences of your actions

None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But part of being an adult is recognizing those mistakes and owning up to them, even if we face an undesirable consequence. Remember that as angry or hurt as your spouse may be with the truth, she will be even more hurt when she finds out that she’s been the victim of a lie. Being dishonest is not only childish, it’s selfish. By not telling the truth you are telling your spouse, “I would rather hurt you and our marriage with a lie than face the consequences of my own actions.” Know that when you are dishonest, you are protecting yourself at the expense of your marriage.

Be honest in your behavior

Remember that “behavior” part of communication we talked about earlier? What you do communicates just as much, if not more, to your spouse than what you say. Following through on what you say you will do and staying away from activities that you know make you look untrustworthy communicates to your spouse that you are dependable and worthy of trust without you having to say a word.

How to keep the communication doors open

In addition to making sure your communication is honest, you also need to make sure you are exchanging intentional messages on a regular basis. We are communicating with our spouses constantly without thinking about it. Any time you are interacting with one another, you’re communicating back and forth, but you aren’t always communicating on purpose.


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To keep the flow of communication open, fluid and intentional you have to do it often. Not only does that help to ensure that you are communicating what needs to be conveyed on a regular basis, it also helps you to sharpen your communications skills. Like anything else, when it comes to communicating effectively, practice makes perfect…or at least much better.

Think about your place of employment. If your company is run well, likely there is regular communication between employees. Sometimes it is informal, like asking a colleague for help on a project you don’t understand or sending an email to a coworker to ask for something you need to finish a project. Sometimes it’s formal, like annual reviews or weekly staff meetings. Either way, you are transmitting and receiving information regularly throughout your day to stay on top of your job and to keep your place of employment running smoothly.

The same is true of marriage. You have to communicate frequently and on purpose to your spouse to ensure that life is running smoothly at home, and you have to have a regular system of doing it alongside the informal methods you use.

Finally, here are a few ways to keep the communication doors open in a positive way on a regular basis:

 Give compliments every day

Yes, each and every day. You want to make sure that your positive communication outweighs the negative. Often we think of communicating only when we have an issue. But communication is at the basis of all of your interactions. If you can speak positivity and communicate to your spouse that he or she is loved and appreciated, when you do have to communicate about a conflict it won’t seem like all of your communication and feedback has a negative spin. It places optimism at the front of the communications cycle to make that flow of communication more positive each time.

Carve out time to spend with one another

Again, this goes back to behavior as communication. By making your spouse’s time a priority, you communicate that he or she is important enough to forego other life aspects in that moment, and takes precedence over the rest of your to-do list. In addition, unless you spend all of your time together staring at the wall in silence, it becomes natural to communicate during the quality time you spend.

Set up a regularly occurring time that you sit down together to discuss the larger issues

Some larger issues could be finances, health, household, and goal setting. This could be weekly or monthly, but making time to get on the same page with one another on a regular basis is essential.

Don’t let areas of conflict linger

You don’t need to discuss each and every issue immediately, but if there is an area of conflict, don’t keep sweeping it under the rug.


Learn how to improve your communication almost immediately and reduce the amount of unnecessary arguments and issues that come up so easily because of saying the wrong words or sending the wrong messages with our Effective Communication Online Training System. On sale now!

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 214 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.


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