Brent Atkinson describes this step in the following terms. “Let your partner know that you’re willing to keep an open mind to the potential merit of their viewpoint. If a decision needs to be made, be willing to be flexible and attempt to find a middle ground.” He goes on to say that successful relationships operate like a democracy - every person gets one vote and every vote counts equally without having to prove why their reasoning is valid.
Researchers can’t always tell in an argument what success looks like while couples are going at it. Success sometimes shows up at the end of the argument. When 2 people are willing to give equal regard to their partner’s point of view, even if they staunchly disagree, that’s where the success lies.
When one person tries to diminish another’s feeling, priorities or opinions, they are standing on shakey ground. These aren’t facts, they are belief systems. Stop thinking that your beliefs are the best. The obviously perfect example is all over the news right now. Trump vs Hillary. Thank goodness when you go to the polls you won’t have to defend your pick! So stop putting your partner / spouse / best friend on the defensive, you won’t win. You are only building up resentment. Be a superstar and argue like a champ. THAT’S how you actually win.
If you are looking for couples counseling for you and your spouse, or couples counseling for one, we would love to help. Make an appointment today.
Be sure to check out steps 1-5 of Anatomy of an Argument.