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Consider These Terms of Engagement Before Your Next Argument by Linda and Charlie Bloom.

With most couples, it’s not a matter of “if” there is another argument, but “when”. Whether you call it an argument, a difference of opinion, a conflict, a quarrel, a row, a misunderstanding, a squabble, a spat, or any one of a number of other synonyms or euphemisms, almost all couples have them. And those that say they don’t are either in denial, lying, or exceptionally evolved. There are some couples who are each so emotionally intelligent and mature, that they rarely, if ever experience conflict with each other. The other 99.9% of us at least occasionally have to contend with differences in our preferences, personalities, sexual desire levels, taste in movies, food, or politics, as well as in numerous other aspects of life in which we do not share common values or predispositions.

For most of us ninety-nine-percenters, resolving, or attempting to resolve our differences, often involves some degree of distress, struggle, suffering, frustration and/or emotional pain. And that’s on a good day! But seriously, there are some guidelines, that if followed, will not only help you to avoid or minimize the reactive defensive patterns that can get triggered when emotions get over-heated but could even transform a potentially destructive interaction into an interpersonal engagement that will enrich your relationship.

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