Although arguing with your partner is normal, fighting every day in a relationship or fighting over certain topics — like your values — shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, experts say there are some common relationship fights that mean you should probably break up with your partner.
So, why do people who care about one another come to verbal blows? Spouses, parents and their children, and good friends often quarrel and say hurtful things they later regret. If you think painful arguments are an inevitable part of life, you may endure them forever. But you can look at arguments from a more helpful perspective and discover how to avoid them and restore peace.
Don’t get hooked
Good intentions hide behind most quarrels between people who love each other. Both parties want a peaceful outcome and a harmonious relationship. Yet, they lose sight of their intentions when their egos feel threatened. Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says people get hooked. Like fish who spy bait, they grab onto whatever lures them, which you might otherwise describe as what pushes their buttons, and they lose the whole point of their conversations with loved ones.
The lure may also be called shenpa, which means attachment in Tibetan. When you get attached to an idea, like making someone agree with you, you are stuck. You shut out logic, experience a sense of tightening and become anxious. The Latin translation of angere, from which the word anxiety derives, means to strangle, or choke. Interestingly, your blood vessels and muscles tighten when you feel anxious. As you close off emotionally, your body constricts. Having a constructive conversation is hard, too, so it helps to recognize and avoid shenpa.
Focus on your intention
If you focus on your intention to speak with love and support harmony in your relationships, a tasty lure is less likely to sidetrack you into quarrels. For instance, when your spouse says you always drive badly or leave a mess in the kitchen, a sense of injustice lures you. You want to correct them. Remember your intention, though. Take a deep breath and let the lure fade from view.
Once the lure passes, you have clarity and remain open to a peaceful outcome. A part of you knows your spouse exaggerated your flaws, but you realize the exaggeration is irrelevant. Instead of taking the bait, you can adopt a healthier measure. You may smile, laugh even, or walk away for a while. Almost any action other than giving attention to the lure is positive.
Now that you understand people who often quarrel are hooked, you will recognize that steering clear of lures prevents squabbles. Without shenpa, painful arguments are impossible. People you converse with might succumb, but you can ensure you don’t get attached. Practice, and you can retrain yourself to stay calm and centered.
Life is short
The late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, sang, “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” While some sort of fighting is typical in relationships, you certainly don’t want to spend time with loved ones creating memories based on arguments. There’s so much to celebrate, appreciate and enjoy. If a relationship is constantly about unresolved disputes, it may be time to ask yourself some serious questions and consider moving on. The last thing you should want is to be in a toxic relationship.
Life is short. Stop arguing and start living. You might surprise yourself and enjoy the difference. Give it a try. What do you have to lose?