Why does he always talk back?
How come everything has become a fight?
All you want is a loving, patient and deep conversation where neither of you feels hurt, judged or annoyed. Is it too much to ask?
You’re in the right place because you can resolve your differences. All you need are four keys of conflict resolution.
How to deal with an argumentative spouse:
- Understand your partner’s behavior
- Disarm them
- Become non-reactive
- Become a team
Wish that your partner would just get you? We’ve found the long-lasting solution to stop the negative argument spiral. What we’re about to share with you is effective even if your spouse isn’t as dedicated to fixing the problem as you are. Read on to learn how these four key steps can resolve even the most stubborn bickering.
In this article we’re addressing the specific scenario when your spouse is constantly arguing with you. This does not include when a partner enjoys debating for fun. You can find a clear distinction between those two here.
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Understand Your Partner’s Behavior
We get it.
You want to feel heard and understood. You’re sick and tired of defending yourself. Isn’t a relationship here to bring you closer, not divide you further apart?
Deep down you know that your partner’s aggressiveness is hurting you and your relationship. How can you turn things around so that your marriage is back on track?
As much as we’d like to tell you that your partner should know better, it wouldn’t lead anywhere. What we have to do first is understand what’s happening for your spouse. Why is he always arguing with you?
You’ll only know what’s really going on when you become curious about their internal world and start listening to them. Any distance and disconnection between you and your partner can be mended.
If you want to put aside your differences, then you have to acknowledge and understand your differences.– Natasha Koo
Once you’re open to understanding your spouse’s experiences, you might have the insight that they…
- Are deeply insecure and don’t want people to know so they cover it up by being argumentative.
- Are unhappy in their life or relationship and don’t know how to voice it.
- Had bad role models growing up and don’t know any better way to communicate.
- Feel like they’re losing themselves in the relationship and are trying to re-establish boundaries by having things done their way.
Whatever the reason is, you’ll only find out if you talk to your husband about your marriage. Your relationship is a two-way street and both of you have the right to be happy in it. Imagine feeling confident to approach your spouse with any topics. Imagine sharing your innermost thoughts and vulnerability without fear or anger. How would that strengthen your marriage?
Argumentativeness only survives as long as there’s opposition.– Jachym Jerie
There are different ways you can turn argumentativeness around. One of them is to listen. Here’s how not to do it:
He: ‘No. We really shouldn’t eat pizza tonight. You know that it’s not good for you. We have to eat sushi instead.
Her: ‘But I don’t want sushi. Why don’t you want to go to eat pizza with me? You’ve promised it after all!’
He: ‘No I haven’t. I said maybe we can go for pizza another time. I didn’t say we will go.’
That argument isn’t going to go anywhere. Here’s how it can change when you stop defending your position.
He: ‘No. We really shouldn’t eat pizza tonight. You know that it’s not good for you. We have to eat sushi instead.
Her: ‘That’s a bummer I’d really like to have pizza. Why do you prefer sushi?’
He: ‘I’m just not in the mood for pizza.’
Her: ‘Hm I understand. I’d like to have a good time with you. It’s more important to me that we are both happy rather than trying to force you to eat something you don’t want. What do you think would be a good solution for both of us?’
Why is this better?
She’s not getting into the argument. Rather she’s expressing that:
- She’s disappointed.
- She has her own preferences.
- She’s curious about his point of view.
- She really wants to have a good time rather than forcing things.
- She wants to know if he has a solution for the problem.
Do you see how she’s addressing the problem as a team? She’s not attacking, blaming, criticizing, or shaming him. These types of behavior is like adding oil to a burning fire. It would only escalate the situation into an emotionally loaded argument that likely ends with hurt feelings.
Let’s get back to you: what would happen if you’d stop engaging in the same cycle of arguments and instead turn towards your partner to really understand them?
When you listen to your partner deeply to truly understand them, you take any argumentativeness out of the conversation. You’re asking questions and exploring. You’re not holding any view that they could oppose.
If this is difficult for you, you might have some unmet needs in your marriage. Read that article to find out how you can address them. It’ll make you less reactive and more collaborative when you address your needs.
The other way you can deal with an argumentative spouse is to redirect their energy. Here’s how it would go:
Her: ‘You shouldn’t put the dishes in the sink, it’ll block the space!’
Him: ‘Yes and if I don’t, I can’t make coffee right now.’
Him: ‘It’s a bad idea to wear this sweater today.’
Her: ‘You may be right… I just really like it.’
Her: ‘You really should stop seeing your friend. He’s a bad influence.’
Him: ‘Let me think about that.’
Why does it work?
Our sorrows and wounds are only healed when we touch them with compassion.– Yang Cheng Fu, A Talk on Practice
You’re not giving any resistance to your spouse. Instead, you’re redirecting their force and let it run into nothingness. Instead of meeting hardness with hardness you’re meeting it with softness.
You’re shifting your communication away from ‘agree-or-disagree’, which often leads to unending arguments. Instead, we’re opening up to the other person’s perspective.
Honestly consider: Could your spouse be right? Maybe your partner is presenting a valid point. If you’re used to recurring disagreements then saying ‘no’ and getting ready for a verbal battle might be your first reaction. What if we can put away our defense mechanisms and defuse the argument before it spirals out of control?
This disarming approach brings more peace and understanding into your relationship. You’re not ‘choosing camps’ anymore and treating each other as enemies. Instead you’re keeping an open pathway to listen. You’re extending your understanding so that your spouse can feel heard.
Turning arguments around through disarming doesn’t mean that you say yes to things you don’t like. It means that you’re skillfully defusing the situation and then steering it into a more productive direction.
In order to create a healthy and loving relationship, you have to be grounded in your truth and what feels right. You can still make decisions from your point of view. The only difference is that you’re open to hearing your partner’s world view. Acknowledging your spouse doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to do what they say.
Here are the three disarming techniques:
1. Yes and…
You’re agreeing by saying yes. They’re expecting you to push back, so when they hear the yes, it’ll take them by surprise. The expected push-back isn’t there. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs. You expect another step but there isn’t one. That’s the same feeling when someone redirects your energy.
2. You may be right.
You’re neither disagreeing or agreeing with your partner. You’re sidestepping the issue by saying ‘you may be right.’ Please be careful to not abuse those statements. This is not a technique to avoid conflict. It’s a way of softening the conversation.
3. Let me think about that.
Again, you’re diffusing the situation by giving yourself space to think about what your spouse said. You don’t always have to come up with an answer on the spot. That’s why this phrase is really useful.
What’s riling you up?
Your spouse just knows how to get to you, doesn’t she? If you want to deal with your argumentative spouse, you have to deal with yourself first. Because fighting always ensues when both people are lost in their drama.
To realize what’s happening within you when your partner gets argumentative, notice:
- What are you thinking?
- What are you feeling?
- How does your body feel?
Address your reaction and you’ll be able to address your spouse’s reaction as well. It doesn’t matter whether they’re becoming defensive or ignoring you. The first step is to always address your emotions.
Why is this so important?
Did you ever have to make a decision while your emotions were going crazy? How clearly were you able to think and respond? You most likely couldn’t because our emotions hijack our rational faculties and we become reactive rather than being responsive.
That’s why learning to be non-reactive is the key for a long and healthy relationship. Being non-reactive isn’t the same thing as shutting off your emotions.
Some people mistakenly believe that sweeping away their emotions helps to keep the peace in the relationship. That never works. In fact, ignoring your feelings only builds up the issues until they become unmanageable.
Don’t wait until the problem blows up and creates an even bigger wedge between you and your spouse. You can stop recurring arguments. You can learn to be non-reactive by having a firm grasp of your own emotions.
Taking the time to fully understand your reaction and emotions can save your marriage. In fact, Jachym and I wouldn’t have an exceptional relationship unless we learned to deal with our emotions and reactions.
This skill enables you to avoid future mistakes and problems in your relationship. If connecting to your emotions and taking a good look at your reactions to your partner is difficult, then reach out to us here for further support.
We’re not interested in helping you solve this one single problem. We’re showing you the essential tools so that this current argument can be your last.
Want to know the other component of a successful marriage? What brings you and your spouse closer, no matter what challenges you face? Read on to find.
Become A Team
Your ideal marriage is within reach:
Imagine coming home to a date night that your spouse has prepared for you. Looking at your partner over the beautifully-set dinner, you feel a deep sense of connection welling up within you. There’s this profound love between you.
Your whole body feels relaxed, safe and you’re completely at ease with your partner.
You look back at your relationship and can’t believe how much you’ve grown together. The love you once thought was lost has been recaptured and the relationship has blossomed. Your past mistakes have been corrected and you know how you can avoid them in the future.
Is this something you want? Does it feel like the type of relationship that you crave?
The only way for this to become a reality is to become a real team.
When we enter a romantic relationship, we open ourselves to a new world.– Jachym Jerie
To be a functioning unity with your husband, you have to know each other.
- How do you receive and give love?
- How do you see the world?
- How does your spouse see the world?
- What’s really important to you?
Those are just a fraction of the questions you need to explore together. Answering them will provide a solid foundation to build your future on. If you don’t know how to communicate with each other, check out this article here.
When you’re a team, argumentativeness doesn’t become a problem anymore. Why? Because you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses exactly. Rather than pointing fingers, you learn to complement one another. That’s how a relationship becomes greater than its parts. It’s the beginning of an exceptional relationship.
We know how frustrating it can be to get stuck in the same arguments and bickering about little things. More than anything, we know how much it hurts to feel disconnected from your partner.
You’re here to love one another.
To create together.
To bring out the best in each other.
It’s time to stop the meaningless fights and get on the same page again. Your future together depends on it.
The first step you can take for a happier and more loving future is to understand your partner’s behavior. As much as you want to feel heard, loved and understood, your spouse actually wants the same. So initiate and take the first step.
You can put that into action today by revisiting the first section of this article. Later on in the week, you can build on some key conflict resolution skills like disarming and non-reactive responses. Most of all, you can work towards being a team again.
Remember, the challenges that you face as a couple isn’t the problem. It’s your commitment and willingness to work towards an exceptional relationship that matters. If you want to resolve the current issues once and for all then contact us here to see how we can bring your marriage to the next level.
Don’t make love into a fight.
Love isn’t about winning.
Let love be expansive.
Let love be fulfilling.
Let love be exceptional.
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