When it comes to airing grievances in a relationship, there are ways partners can discuss issues without resorting to shouting matches or accusations.  Maintaining civility and an attitude of love will ensure that nothing is said or done that is regretted long afterwards.  


Beginning an argument with accusations will only lead to score keeping and likely garner a retort of “what about when you….”

Never or Always

As in “You never take out the trash, or you always listen to your mother rather than me.” These words are absolutes and will immediately make your partner cast around for instances to the exception. Both of you will only get angrier.

Should or Shouldn’t

Just like never and always, these pairs or words should be avoided. The should or shouldn’t have a preachy connotation that can irritate and make the person turn on the accuser with “well, you shouldn’t do….”

Don’t get Personal

Insults and put downs will inevitably lead to hurt feelings, pain and mistrust. Your argument is about an issue, a behavior, or something else that you’re trying to resolve, not each other. Keep that in mind before you begin.

Your argument is about an issue, a behavior, or something else that you’re trying to resolve, not each other

You’re Overreacting!

Don’t try to resolve the problem by dismissing your partner’s feelings as insignificant. Two responses are typical here: either your partner will attack you, or he or she will let it go at the moment but the issue will simmer internally and express itself in other relationship-damaging ways.

It’s Your Fault!

Blaming your partner for a situation or even your own reaction to something is never a good idea. Think of your relationship in terms of the maxim: A house divided against itself cannot stand” the same is true of a relationship.

I Don’t Want to Talk About It

There is a time for arguments and sometimes you’ll have to wait for the appropriate time to hash out issues because tempers need to settle, but stonewalling is never a good response to problems. If your partner doesn’t feel like you’re invested enough in the relationship to work at resolving issues, then it’s probable that the relationship might be headed for trouble.


Threatening a drastic action or to leave the relationship unless a behavior changes never works. Behavior modification as a result of a threat only works temporarily and tends to backfire.