The art of arguing requires forethought. In other words, you're going to want to pay attention to what you do and say when angry. Self-evaluation is the most powerful tool you have if you want to change the route of an argument and understand what things to do to avoid a major fight.
Arguments don't have to lead to fights. You can disagree about something, even intensely, without it ending in a huge blow-out. Knowing your weak spots allows you to prepare yourself to make better choices when you feel an argument approaching.
All couples have arguments, but not all couples end up in major blow-outs when working through a problem. Oftentimes avoiding a big ole fight happens because the two people have cultivated healthy arguing habits. After many years of marriage, my husband and I are much better at disagreeing and avoiding a major fight than we were in the beginning. (Thankfully!) We've both worked hard to avoid most of the below mis-steps and stay conscious of our words even when we are really mad. This awareness had led to much more satisfying clashes, where even when we can't figure it all out, at least we both feel heard. Think about your argument habits as you read through this 'don't do' list, and try to pinpoint areas where you could improve.
1Don't Argue When You Are Exhausted
If you are disagreeing strongly about something, it's already a sensitive issue, and fatigue won't allow you to think clearly or have great impulse control. So before you say something you can't erase, ask if you can put off arguing till you've gotten some sleep.
2Choose The Timing Carefully When You Bring Up A Problem
If you know you need to sit and talk with your significant other about something that has the potential to explode, be smart about the timing. You don't want to approach someone when they've had a terrible day at work or at a time when you know their at their most vulnerable.
3Control The Volume
Controlling your voice volume can be hard when your truly angry, but it's worth it. If you end up yelling, most of the time your point is going to be completely lost, and will leave the other person feeling worse. Take a deep breathe and start over, quietly this time.
4Don't Fight In Public
Feeling the eyes and ears of others as you argue can take a small issue and turn it into something big. I'm terribly sensitive about this, and arguing in front of other people makes me so anxious I feel like I'm going to scream. If you absolutely have to talk this very second and are around people, find a secluded space to hash it out.
5Think Before You Speak
Blurting out the angry, accusatory things that go through your mind may feel empowering, but it can have the opposite affect. If you aren't sure if something is entirely true, or you aren't sure it's fair, or you aren't sure you really want to go there, then wait. You can always say it later, but you can never take it back.
6Set A Time-Limit
As noted on Dr. Phil's website, long arguments have little chance of ending well. Both of you are going to be emotionally drained and frustrated by the lack of results. If you notice that an argument has been going on for a while and you aren't getting anywhere, take a time-out or agree to approach the subject again the next day.
7Don't Bring Up Past Issues
Both of you probably have complaints about the other that could be dredged up from the past, and there is a time and place for discussing ongoing issues. But an argument about someone's tone doesn't need to devolve into a list of past problems.
8Don't Bring Other People Into It
This is almost always a bad idea. No one wants to hear that your best friend totally agrees with your opinion that your lover had bad table manners: especially not your lover. Keep your points your own.