I’ve been going out with my girlfriend for over five years now. And if you’ve been in a long term relationship before, you can probably imagine that we’ve had our fair share of arguments over the years. Being passionate about self improvement, I started to track what our arguments were about so I could try improving in those areas. But what I found by doing this was a bit surprising : Most of our arguments stemmed from just a few of the same underlying reasons (or habits) that each one of us had. In other words, we kept on arguing about the same things over and over again.
For example, one of them is the fact that my girlfriend tends to care TOO much about what other people think. This is one of her biggest strengths, but it quickly turns into a weakness when she starts to care more about what other people think than what she thinks (or what I think for that matter). In fact, she probably won’t like the fact that I am writing this article =). But seriously, I can’t count how many arguments this habit has led to. Either its me getting mad at her for caring too much about what other people think, or her getting mad at me for not caring enough.
Her caring TOO much about what other people think was the habit that led to us arguing about the same thing over and over again. But before I realized this, I would only focus on the circumstances (or what went wrong). So, we would end up talking about the things that led up to the argument until our faces turned blue. And after we had talked it through and got everything off our chests, we would kiss and make up. But then a few months later we found ourselves in an argument just like that last one.
So now, instead of focusing only on the things that led up to the argument, I focus more so on the habits that led up to the things. Basically, we would try to figure out WHY the argument happened, not WHAT happened. By doing this, we actually have something we can improve on after the argument is done. You see, when you argue only about the circumstances (or what went wrong), there is nothing you can do past that point but apologize. What’s done is done.
Obviously, apologizing is an important and necessary step in making up. But by putting more focus on the reason (or habit) for why the argument happened in the first place, and actually improving these habits, you can prevent a similar argument from happening again in the future. And when you start doing this enough, and you’ll start to notice that you and your significant other argue less about the same things over and over again.