5 Tips to Successfully Choosing Your Battles

So many couples end up in a situation where they argue about the same thing over and over.

This is partially because not all arguments are solvable and partially because couples sometimes choose the wrong things to argue about.


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Here are some common reasons for why it is so difficult for most couples to choose their battles successfully:

1. Sometimes we pick a fight with our partner because we are in a bad mood or upset about something other than what our partner has just said or done to us.

We need a place to vent our frustration, anger or sadness and we believe our partner can handle whatever we throw at them.

2. If we feel we are no longer equals with our partner, our natural reaction is to fight to regain power.

We want to feel respected and valued and if it that does not happen automatically, after a point, we demand it.

However, we often misattribute our disappointment by fighting about a different topic rather than the issue at hand: that we feel disrespected.

Feeling powerless can come from feeling as if your partner does not listen to you or does not pay enough attention to you, if it feels you are unappreciated for the things you do in the relationship, if you feel your partner “gets his/her way” more often than you do, etc.

It is a common experience in many relationships, particularly unhealthy ones, but needs to be addressed for what it is and not masked by an unimportant argument that is unrelated.


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3. Related to feeling powerless, sometimes we want the feeling of “winning” to know that we are taken seriously in the relationship.

When we win an argument, our partner has had to back down from their point of view, which makes us feel more influential.

Thus, we will pick a topic that we may not necessarily feel very strongly about, but will fight to the death on it until we experience the “thrill of the win”. Backing down can feel like a sign of weakness and that fuels us to fight harder. This is often a more passive-aggressive method to regaining power.


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4. Some couples tend to “thrive” on bickering and argue about anything and everything.

Mostly, these couples are afraid of intimacy and/or vulnerability and hide behind the “stronger” façade of argumentative behavior.

Not successfully choosing your battles is a common experience for many couples resulting in constant arguments leaving the couple feeling alienated, lonely and resentful.

By learning how to choose your battles, you will not only argue less, but you will also see a shift in the relationship toward a more positive experience just by letting things go.

5 tips on how to learn to more successfully choose your battles:

1. Answer the question honestly: what am I upset about?

Is it truly what my partner just said to me or is it something else that has been upsetting me and that  I’m bringing up now because we’re already arguing?


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2. Answer the question honestly: what will happen if my partner backs down and I get my way?

If the answer is that you will feel happy because you got your way or that you “won”, end the conversation immediately and try to better understand why it is so important for you to win.

3. Try to find another way to say the same thing and still get your message across.

Often, imagining yourself saying it to someone else can help you gain perspective on how to word your point of view.

4. Identify how much you truly believe in your side of the argument?

Many times when we are fighting with our partners, we become polarized and end up arguing for a more extreme position than we actually believe in.

If you do not feel that you believe in your point of view 100%, slow the conversation down and see if it is worth the argument.

5. Most importantly, answer the question honestly: is this argument going to improve our relationship?

Arguments themselves are not unhealthy in relationships at all. But how you fight and the result of the fight can be either very damaging or can elevate your relationship to an even higher level.

It is important to note that choosing your battles is not the same as minimizing your problems.

Minimizing functions to further harm your relationship by avoiding serious issues that need to be discussed and resolved between you and your partner.

Choosing your battles is essentially identifying which conversations and arguments must happen to improve your relationship versus which ones will further damage it because you will be fighting about things that, in the larger picture, really don’t matter.


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Article ContributorMySahana, meaning my “patience” or “fortitude” in Sanskrit, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health issues as they pertain to the South Asian community.

By providing culturally-sensitive and relevant information, they aim to correct misinformation, remove stigma and begin a dialogue about mental health and healthy living. They believe it is from these dialogues that South Asians will feel more comfortable seeking services and making the necessary changes to live a healthier life.

For more information, please visit their website at http://www.mysahana.org, follow them @MySahana on Twitter and connect with them on Facebook.