How to Win at Arguing With Your Partner or Anyone Else (for that Matter)

The other day, I wandered across a post in a social media group that caught my attention. Like most posts on these platforms, it starts with someone sharing their perspective of an experience that they had. In most cases, they’re not really interested in hearing another perspective on their issue. Usually, validation and approval is what they’re seeking. They want to let others know, exactly, what they’re feeling. Their retelling of the experience might include little detail, which doesn’t give the onlookers much satisfaction. However, letting it all out or venting is the way (in my Mandalorian voice) in which these things work.


The readers wants all of the juicy details to decide on whether or not to fully invest time and energy into reading the post (and the comments). That post, in particular, just so happened to be one of those posts, that had the necessary elements to draw others into the fray. As I read the post, I asked a clarifying question to determine how clear I was in understanding the poster’s point of view. I didn’t want to assume that I had all of the information based on what I had read in front of me.


The issue with assuming that we know what the other person is thinking is a recipe for disaster, which leads to further disconnection and misunderstanding between those involved. In my opinion, it’s a lack of respect for the other person. I believe that we owe it to ourselves to put ourselves in a position of receiving what we need from the other person. It doesn’t mean that we have to agree. Simply, that we’re open to hearing their perspective. Hence, the clarifying question is bringing clarity and understanding into the mix. Ultimately, landing us in a position of alignment and improved connection.

Often it requires time to disrupt and interrupt the chaos created by disagreements in our relationships. A willingness to engage from a place of curiosity is important to building a bridge. Without this bridge, the flow of traffic is non existent. What happens when traffic is not moving?

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It leads to anger, frustration, resentment, anxiety, etc. These feelings cause us to go into fight or flight mode. That’s right the stress response kicks in, which impacts the ability to communicate our feelings and needs with a level of reason. When reason goes out the door, you can forget about a reasonable resolution. If we’re not in tune with ourselves, we’ll continue to spiral out of control until we return to ourselves. If you struggle with staying caught in your emotions, listen to my podcast episode on releasing negative emotions.

As that energy subsides, we have the ability to return to listening for understanding, clarifying for understanding, and providing our point of view to bring about a resolution for the situation. At the end of the day, a resolution is the what we want. Working towards that resolution with a win-win in mind is the way for winning the arguments, which doesn’t fit the social media drama model. And, there’s nothing wrong with that!

I Tell You What!!!

If you haven’t heard it, let me be the first to tell you that marriage and parenting are AWESOME. However, they require a lot of work. If you’re not committed to putting in the work, then you might as well not embark on the journey.

Case in point!

My wife and I have been fighting an uphill battle with getting our toddler to sleep. She’s approaching three years of age, and one would think that she’s never had a sleep routine. And, she does.  However, she’s determined to make the routine work in her favor.

Every day for as long as I can remember, we put her in her bed. She gets up. We put her back in the bed. She gets up. And, the same song and dance goes on and on until she falls asleep hours after putting her into her room.

We make the room comfortable for her. We make sure that she has music. We. We. We are putting in a lot of effort. But, the result on most nights is the same.

So, I decided to try something different. I set the firm boundary as directed in some parenting material on bedtime. However, I didn’t give the memo to her mother. Well, I did leave the material on the table. But, I didn’t let her know that I was prepared to use it.

What transpired next is that the failure to communicate led to a breakdown in further communication between my wife and I. Uh oh! How exactly did that happen? I’m so glad that you asked.

Well, I’m the firm one. My wife is firm in her own way. And, our daughter is very aware of this dynamic.  After I set my firm boundary, which worked for quite some time until her mother arose from her studies. We found ourselves back at square one.  This time, I decided that I was no longer a participant in the song and dance. I exited stage left. As I left, I stated that the two of them would have to decided who was going to be the boss without my input.  That’s not a direct quote. But, something to that effect.

No harm! No foul! Or, so I thought!

My loving wife, who hadn’t been very firm with our child, became firm with her loving husband.  Uh oh!

Now, we’re communicating. For the record, we weren’t cussing and yelling and screaming. However, the short conversation was very unproductive. Which means I went in my room and she continued putting the child to sleep.  (You notice she went from my daughter to the child…right?)

In our frustration, we left it alone until the morning. Tension continues growing. And, everyone is in a bad mood. No one is courageous enough to put pride aside and talk to the other, and we let it fester.  After the kids get out of the car for school, we attempt to have an assertive conversation about the previous night. Attempt. Both, still, in our feelings about the other’s actions makes it difficult to understand the other’s position. But, we tried and failed!

Eventually, we made it back on to the same page. It took the distance and time created by the work day. By the end of the day, we had grown tired of being frustrated and angry with each other. We gave the other the benefit of the doubt. We were able to, adequately, express our position and own our part in the situation.

So, It wasn’t my intention to hurt her feelings. It wasn’t her intention to hurt mine. Despite our intentions, we didn’t Speak Life into our situation.  We allowed the song and dance of the bedtime routine to uncover our vulnerabilities as parents!  And, I tell you what…

I’m glad that we did! Now, we’re a more united front in this thing called marriage and parenthood.

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