“Every year the same old arguments”

I can see why they call January the “Divorce Month” – you should have seen Trevor and Judith last night.

Were they arguing again?

A right ding-dong.  Mind you, they’re not alone – me and Mandy have been rowing pretty much since we stopped work for the holidays. 

Anything in particular?

Just little things – like how to stack the dishwasher.  But they blow up into major rows.  I’ll be glad when it’s time to go back to work.

You know, you could try doing some things a bit differently.  That might help your bickering stop escalating – or even stop it.

Such as?

First off be honest with yourself about what you’re arguing about – is it about stacking the dishwasher or is it about something else?  Are you arguing about this because you regret not saying something earlier?  If it is be honest with yourself – and don’t start to argue.

But I was right about the dishwasher.

That’s the problem with thinking in terms of arguing.  It promotes the idea of being right, and of winning.  Think of it as a discussion instead of a row – you don’t aim to win a discussion.  Stop thinking of being proved right, and start to think of the outcome you want from the discussion.

So what should I do?

If you really can’t let it go then think about the words you use.  Saying “You never stack the dishwasher properly” is a generalisation, and about them.  Instead talk about the impact that instance of behaviour had on you.

And I can bring other instances in to back me up?  Like putting recycling in the wrong bins?

No, definitely not.  Keep it to the point in question, and make it about how that has made you feel.

So “When you don’t stack the dishwasher properly it makes me frustrated because the bowls aren’t clean”?

That’s very well put, but it still sounds like the kind of thing you’re better letting go

It wasn’t trivial – we’re talking plates in front of bowls.

Good luck with that.

 

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