When people ask me for dating advice, they often wonder how they can avoid fighting with their partner altogether.
The truth is, conflict in relationships is unavoidable. After all, you’re two different people and you see the world in two different ways. You may also have different ways of communicating, too.
What makes you unique is also what can bring some friction in the relationship. But fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed – and you don’t have to argue all the time. Here’s what I’d suggest if fighting with your girlfriend or boyfriend has become a routine.
Remember You’re In This Together
It’s always helpful to remember the real reasons conflicts tend to arise. It’s usually not because the person you’re fighting with is your enemy. After all, you’re in a relationship because there are lots of things you love about one another.
It can be helpful to remember that you’re in this together. Think about why you’re in the relationship and the gifts your partner brings to it. Remember the commitment you’ve made and let them know you want to work through things for a more peaceful, stronger relationship.
Look for Needs and Hurts
Look at fights and arguments not as attacks, but as a sign that your boyfriend or girlfriend is likely pained or frustrated by their needs not getting met. Next time they’re upset, do your best to not take their reactions personally.
Give things a moment to cool off before you respond. When you’re ready to talk, try saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re hurt and upset. What do you need from me? What can I do to avoid causing you pain in the future?” Taking a proactive approach rather than fighting back may go a long way toward diffusing the situation. The more you practice calm communication with one another, the less likely you are to fight.
Leave Room for Yourself
Sometimes fights happen because you’re tired, stressed, and in need of some alone time. It is totally normal for alone time to be part of good boundaries in a healthy relationship.
Giving yourself space to be alone is a great way to check in with yourself and your needs so that you can address them before they become an argument with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
It’s also a good way to make sure that you’re not relying on your partner to meet all your emotional and spiritual needs. Relationships are great, but there are some needs that only God can fulfill. If you’re struggling in your faith or not sure what you believe about God, your alone time is a safe space to explore those questions, to pray, and to think about how to move forward.
Get Advice Regularly
I know that even when we have the best intentions in our relationships, we can’t avoid every fight. Unexpected things might happen (like loss, job changes, or school pressure) that put more strain on your relationship than normal. In those times, it’s healthy to seek advice regularly from a therapist and others you trust.
If you’re not sure how to navigate challenging times in your relationship, TheHopeLine is here to help. Talk to a HopeCoach anytime you need dating advice and know that we are in your corner as you grow in your relationship.
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Photo by Vera Arsic