How to settle an argument with your girlfriend

How to Settle an Argument with Your Wife

Three Parts:

Arguments are a normal but frustrating part of most marriages. If you end up in an argument with your wife, it's important to stay calm and resolve the issues at hand. During an argument, talk respectfully, learn about one another's values, and move forward after the fight.


Communicating Respectfully

  1. Stay in the present.Arguments are often the result of underlying tensions in a relationship. If you want to settle an argument effectively you must be willing to communicate with your wife. This means staying in the present moment and avoiding discussing past conflicts.
    • In an argument, you might be tempted to bring something up from the past. You might be trying to prove a point or convey how a certain behavior is part of a pattern. This is bad form in an argument, however, as it distracts from the issue at hand and can make your wife feel attacked or judged.
    • If you're inclined to bring up issues from the past, it might be because these issues were never resolved to begin with. Keep in mind that moving forward means addressing present issues and letting go of the past.
  2. Make "I" statements.The way you phrase things during an argument matters. "I" statements focus on how you feel about a given subject. This keeps the frame of reference subjective and de-emphasizes blame.
    • An "I" statement addresses how you feel when something happens. It does not focus on an objective judgment of the situation but rather a personal reaction.
    • For example, instead of saying "It's very disrespectful when you make us late for family events" try saying something like "I feel disrespected when you're not ready for family events on time."
  3. Use respectful language.Language is important in an argument. Even if you're upset and frustrated, try to stay respectful. You cannot settle an argument if you're making someone feel disrespected.
    • No name calling. Calling your wife names or using profanity can sting. Even if you're extremely upset, refrain from name calling and cursing during an argument.
    • Yelling is also a bad idea during an argument. Yelling can be subjective. You might not think you're not yelling or raising your voice but it could easily come off that way to your spouse. If your wife asks you to keep your voice down, take a deep breath and proceed calmly with the conversation.
  4. Listen actively.Practicing active listening is vital to effective communication. When smoothing over an argument with your wife, make sure you pay attention to what she's saying and convey that you are listening.
    • Use verbal and non-verbal cues to show you are listening. Nod, say things like "uh-huh" and "mmhmm." Try to understand more than you're trying to be understood. Ask for clarification after your wife finishes talking if you don't understand anything. Summarize what was said after she finishes speaking.
    • Be non-judgmental. Give your wife the space to feel what she's feeling, even if you disagree with the sentiment. Allow her to express her feelings without needing to justify them.
  5. Avoid passive aggressive statements.When frustrated, people often fall into passive aggressive behaviors. This is toxic to communication and will only make the argument worse. Speak openly and honestly but use respect.
    • Passive aggressive behavior is often used as a way to avoid expressing anger. People think of anger as a negative and instead of directly saying, "I'm mad at you" or "You're upsetting me," they may lash out in silence, sarcasm, sulking, or gossiping.
    • There's a way to express anger in a healthy fashion. Explain that you are angry and why, using "I" statements to emphasize your feelings over objective facts. Yelling, cursing, or using derogatory language is not a healthy way to express anger. Try to stay calm while still explaining how you feel.
  6. Take a time out if needed.If an argument is getting heated, you won't be able to settle it. If you find yourself struggling to keep composure, take a break. Walk away for a few minutes and take a few deep breaths. Make sure you explain to your wife that you need a minute to cool down. Then, return to the argument when you feel ready to talk effectively. While many people throw around the phrase, "Never go to bed angry," keep in mind it's okay to go to sleep and talk things over in the morning if you're both extremely tired.

Having Perspective

  1. Consider your wife's values.Oftentimes, arguments are about more than surface issues. Try to understand your wife's perspective during the fight by considering her values.

Moving Forward

  1. Learn what you both want.An important aspect of a marriage is understanding one another's wants. After an argument, work on learning about these wants. This can help prevent arguments in the future.
    • Talk about your personal and professional goals. What does your wife want career wise? Family wise? What do you want? Why? Have these kinds of conversations on a fairly regular basis. Wants are dynamic and might change with time and circumstance. Stay up to date on how one another change.
    • Understanding one another's wants can help in future arguments. You're more likely to understand each other, which can help you listen better, stay focused, and come to a mutually satisfying resolution.
  2. Support your partner's wants and needs.Support is important in a relationship. In a healthy marriage, you will want what's best for your wife. Try to positive and encouraging of one another's pursuits. This can prevent argument in the future.
  3. Be clear about what you want.Arguments often recur because people operate under different assumptions and standards. Being clear about what you mean and what you want can help prevent arguments from happening again.
    • Let's return to the lateness example. Say in your wife's family the start time of an event is taken as a light suggestion. Showing up exactly on time may come off as showing up too early, before others have arrived. In your family, it might be considered extremely rude to be even 5 or 10 minutes late.
    • To resolve this, say something like, "It makes me uncomfortable when we don't show up early or at the start time of an invitation. Can we make an effort to get to events a little earlier?" This way, you're emphasizing your feelings over an objective definition of lateness. This makes it clear to your wife what you mean by "on time."
  4. See a therapist, if necessary.If arguments are a frequent occurrence in your home, you might not be communicating effectively. Seeing a couple's therapist can help you smooth over issues and learn how to talk to each other respectfully and productively. You can find a couple's therapist by going through your insurance or asking for a referral of your family physician.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    My wife tells me that the position we are in is all my fault - i.e., I put us here and therefore I have no right to be upset by her reaction.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Well, is it your fault? If it is, then accept it and do whatever you can to make things better. If it isn't, then calmly explain how it isn't and try to work together to fix the situation.
  • Question
    What should I do after a fight with my husband as a good wife after many days of not talking to each other?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Now that you both have cooled down from the argument, assuming it was not physical, let him know that you listened and heard his view point. State back what you understood from his point and how you will do your part to help the situation, but do not open the argument again. For example: "I can see how my spending an extra on the grocery bill this week threw off the budget and I am sorry about that, from now on if the bill is going to be more than more than we budgeted I will let you know so that we can better stay on track." Do something special as a couple. Pick out a movie you would both enjoy and cuddle together with popcorn and drinks and reconnect.
  • Question
    What do I do if my wife keeps giving me a smart ass responses and answers the questions she asks for me?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Calmly express to her how these conversational habits of hers make it difficult to have a good, productive conversation about something. It may help if the two of you can sit down and agree on a set of rules for how to argue in a healthy manner. how to have a good argument may contain some helpful tips.
  • Question
    Is it advisable to remain silent when my wife is quarreling with me instead of arguing back?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It depends on your wife and what the argument is about, but you should try to calmly explain your side of the story, and always answer any questions she asks you.
  • Question
    Is it okay to be apart from my wife time to time? What is right and wrong with seeing friends out of town?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, it is ok to be apart from each other time to time, as everyone needs to have an alone time. It's perfectly alright to see friends out of town, but you need to notify your spouse first.
  • Question
    I promised to marry my partner, but now I want to postpone the wedding because I want to help my parents finish building their house. I'm afraid of making my wife angry; how should I tell her?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Explain to her why you really want to help your family, and why it doesn't mean that you don't still want to marry her. Explain your financial situation and how you can only pay for one thing at a time, and why this seems more urgent. This seems like a reasonable request, so she should understand.
  • Question
    How do I tell my spouse that I'm angry about how she treats me when she just always gets defensive and turns the blame on me?
    Top Answerer
    If she gets defensive and turns the blame on you, then you need to seriously consider marriage counseling. If she cannot take blame for something she clearly did/is currently doing, that is a mental health problem and needs to be addressed by a professional.
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