It is said that communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship.  Positive communication can be the key to a long lasting relationship.  Negative communication can not only make a relationship difficult, but it can also be the catalyst to the end of a partnership.  This is one of the top reasons  marriages deteriorate and couples seek counseling . We want to feel heard and understood, otherwise we don’t feel loved.

 Fortunately, anyone can learn to communicate better.  A great place to start is learning how to have a productive and positive discussion, even when you disagree.  Here are the basic rules for having a discussion with your partner! Rules of a fair fight.

  1. The first and most important rule is to allow your anger to subside before any discussion. Many arguments end in harsh words and may lead to even more frustration and an unproductive conversation.  When you feel angry or upset with your partner, take a few steps away to calm down and consider why you are frustrated or angry.  You are not thinking clearly when you are upset so do something to calm down and give yourself some time before acting.  You may decide that whatever upset you isn’t even worth discussing. Remember to choose your battles.

  2. Before starting any conversation about a disagreement, ask if it is a good time to talk.  Let your partner know that you are not upset and that you just have something you would like to discuss. Let them know it won’t take very long.  This is especially important to men who do not like drama in discussions or long discussions.  If you can keep it short and drama free ladies, he will be much more likely to hear you and to respond in a positive way. Again, allowing your partner to have a say in when you talk can make a lot of difference.  If it is not a good time, don’t push it.  Designate a time to talk in the near future.  This gives you both an opportunity to think through your feelings and keep your emotions in check. 

  3.  Another very important rule is to keep the past in the past.  Constantly bringing up issues from the past is counterproductive and will shut down a positive conversation quickly.  Remember to focus on the issue at hand and keep it in the present. 

  4.  Stop multi-tasking! Make eye contact and let your partner know you are listening. Guys, women will talk more if they do not feel heard. So if you respond, they will finish talking sooner.

  5.  Take responsibility for your role in the issue being discussed.  Don’t blame, criticize, or tell your partner what they did wrong.  Even if they are wrong!  Do you want to be right or have a loving relationship?  So tell your partner how you feel. By sharing openly what is going on with you and taking responsibility for your own feelings, you open the space for your partner to feel safe and to hear you.

  6. Come to some kind of agreement, even if you have to agree to disagree. Apologizing for your mistakes and owning your feelings can change the way your partner chooses to approach the topic. 

  7. End your discussion with something positive; how about a hug!  This will help bring closure to the discussion and a sign that you and your partner can move forward.

We all disagree.  It is a part of every relationship; however, there are ways to turn our arguments into positive discussions. Approaching your disagreements calmly and with open ears may teach us something about our partners and even ourselves! You can both come away from these communications feeling a closer connection and more loved!


About Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS

As a certified relationship specialist ,my primary goal is to help empower individuals and couples so they can live richer, fuller, happier lives. I have a masters degree in clinical psychology. I am a certified relationship specialist in Charlotte, NC. I do individual sessions over the phone and teach workshops for couples and singles locally. I am also the host of the "Ask Lori" radio show on If you are struggling to find happiness in your relationship, or if you would like to attract and keep your ideal partner, I can help. I work with clients who are struggling to find happiness in their relationships. They would like to have better communication and to feel more understood. They would also like to experience more passion in their relationship. I have learned through my education and my own life's journey, what the keys to a successful, unstoppable relationship are. I will motivate you, inspire you, teach you, and coach you every step of the way. These techniques have made such a positive impact on my life and my clients that I can't wait to share them with you.

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