When Your Partner Breaks the Rules

Try as you may to avoid arguments, at times you will be drawn into them. When you see one coming, you can prevent it by following a simple formula. Rather than responding with words that throw you into the heat of battle, choose not to argue.

If your husband reads something hostile into a perfectly legitimate request, choose not to argue but state calmly and reasonably: “I’m sorry it sounded like that. What I meant to convey is that…”

If your mate has a special gift for sarcasm, tell him openly: “it hurts me to hear remarks like that about me. I know I do things that hurt you also, but let’s try to avoid such things in the future.”

If you live with a faultfinder, don’t defend yourself. Instead, take notes on your “sins.” When he has gotten it all off his chest, say something like this: “OK, let’s go back to the first thing you mentioned. If I’m really at fault here, I’m willing to talk it over with you. I’ll ask the same of you, too.”

When a partner makes a ridiculous exaggeration, such as, “You never come home on time,” rather than correcting the statement, try: “I know this upsets you and that you feel it happens too often. I’ll try not to let it happen again.”

If your husband breaks his agreement not to yell at you because you spend so much money, check your own angry response and tell him that he has a good point and that you’ll try to cut expenses in the future. Then, at another time, when he has calmed down, bring the budget up for discussion and work out a plan agreeable to both of you.

Unfair fighting techniques can destroy a relationship, but when your mate forgets and breaks the rules, you can learn to stay reasonable. Choose not to argue, but calmly and quietly confront your mate with the reality of the situation. With controlled aggression, reassert your own thoughts, feelings, and convictions. You can avoid many potential arguments but choosing not to argue and by responding in a reasonable, concerned, and tactful manner.

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