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My husband and I fought constantly. We didn't understand that the horrible things we were saying to each other in each fight were slowly destroying our relationship...

Terry C. » View All

“I’m so sick of fighting.. I’m ready to leave. I don’t know what else do, but leave. We can’t keep hurting each other.”

Does your marriage need help now? You may think that you’ll never be able to forgive, recover, or even survive the mess that you’re in. You may think it’s too late to save your marriage, but have you ever thought that it just may be the beginning?

Do you really know what you’re fighting about?

The first step to argument resolution is to look at your cycle of arguments. We usually fight repeatedly about different things, yet end up saying the same hurtful remarks that only lead to anger and resentment. Nothing gets resolved. Why is that? It’s because you think you’re fighting about chores, when you’re really fighting about feeling unimportant or misunderstood.

How to stop arguing by finding out what you’re really arguing about

By looking at your very first argument or relationship disappointment, which is the beginning of the argument cycle. Then, by uncovering the core issue of your first argument using the First Argument Technique, you’ll see that the roots of the argument are in your childhood, and it’s the underlying reason for all the fights that follow, no matter what the fight is about. This revelation brings clarity and understanding as to why your arguments never get resolved. Whenever your core childhood issue gets triggered, you want to fight, because you’ve been hurt just like when you were a child.

How do you uncover your core issues?

By using the First Argument Technique, a 3-step argument resolution process that can resolve years of conflict into understanding, which leads to hope, resolution, and love:

  1. PEEL. Peel away the topic of the conflict to locate your personal history that makes you react so strongly – your “core issue.” How do you do this? Start by revisiting your first argument or your most recent fight with your partner. Picture or remember another time in your childhood where you felt the same way, i.e., angry, hurt, misunderstood, not valued, invalidated, etc.
  2. REVEAL. Once you reveal that memory, you begin to have a deeper understanding of why you react so strongly to what your partner does and says in a fight. You also have a deeper understanding of what triggers you and why you’ve been reacting the way you do.
  3. HEAL. By communicating your story to your partner, the doors start opening and you both begin to finally understand and empathize with each other about what’s really been going on. Because you’re not so heated by the argument, you can actually talk, instead of the fight escalating. Now you’re got a system to use that brings argument resolution instead of each fight adding to the endless pile of conflict.

Staying current is the barometer for the health of the relationship

The healthiest relationships are the ones that don’t have a lot baggage or unresolved arguments. Thus, it’s critical to learn what you’re really fighting about so you can resolve your issues and stay current. What does staying current mean? It means you’re in the moment with few unresolved matters clouding the relationship.

The only reason we have repetitive, destructive arguments is because we don’t know what we’re really fighting about, and the First Argument Technique cuts to the root of the problem so that the relationship you’ve always wanted to have is possible.

Sharon is a family and marriage counselor in Santa Rosa, California and has written books on arguing and affairs in marriage.

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