Does this sound familiar? You love your husband/wife/partner/significant other more than anyone else ever.

BUT, when you argue you end up in a slinging match trying to out-do each other with derogatory name calling, belittling, character assassination, yelling, screaming, swearing and everything else in between.

Why is it the most passionate relationships seem to have the biggest blow-ups?

Conflict is part and parcel of any great relationship. There are always going to be times when you disagree. Arguing can actually assist a strong relationship to take the next developmental step. It can also put the final nails into the coffin of a weak one.

The issue isn’t arguing as such but the poor way in which many of us conduct ourselves when we are doing it. The aftermath leaves us feeling empty, sad, upset, anxious, disconnected and insecure.

You know that feeling in your tummy and that pain in your heart? It hurts doesn’t it!

Arguing often starts after attempting to communicate something that’s upset you and yet because of the negative effects a big barney causes arguing is also something we try hard to avoid.

The problem with avoiding a potential argument is the issues are then also avoided, and the problems remain persistent.

So wouldn’t it be great if you could argue without those negative side-effects?

Well you can… but it takes practice and patience and it’s a lot easier to achieve if both of you are on the same page.

Communicating is the most important function of a relationship and so it’s my mission to help as many people as I can improve theirs.

By using these 3 simple steps to stop arguing you are sure to start communicating better than you ever thought possible.

Step #1: Never Argue When You’re Angry or Upset.

This is the absolute most important rule to follow. When your blood is boiling and you want to rip your loved-ones head off then it’s time to stop. You both need to calm down.

When you’re angry you can’t think straight and you’re more likely to say something you don’t really mean. This is also the stage when violence towards each other can occur.

Whether it’s verbal, emotional or physical violence, they’re all equally abusive. The negative effects of this kind of domestic violence is well documented and no-one should be living in fear of this occurring.

Take a time out! Go for a walk or run, watch a movie, read a book or a magazine. Do whatever it takes for you to calm down. To help lower your heart rate stay away for at least 20 minutes.

I think at least an hour works best, but make sure you set a time to come back together to resolve the issue and make up.

Personally I like to go for a drive. I turn the music up and scream my lungs out. In the car no-one can hear me and I get my frustrations out by screaming.

It feels good and once I’ve driven around the block and maybe taken a look at the ocean I feel a lot calmer and ready to communicate again.

Step #2: Don’t Blame, Finger Point or ‘Kitchen Sink’.

You know how it feels when you’re being attacked. The first thing you do is get straight on the defence and shut down.

You can’t hear, you don’t want to listen and you’re not at all interested in the other person’s point of view. So don’t do it this someone else.

‘Kitchen sinking’ all their past indiscretions is totally counter-productive. What’s happened in the past should stay in the past. You don’t need to build a case against them.

You just need to address the issue. Throwing all their past mistakes at them at once will only create more defensiveness and further distance your lines of communication.

Stick to one issue only. Just deal with one issue at a time, this way neither of you will become overwhelmed. You will have a greater ability to resolve the problem by concentrating on it alone and you’re more likely to be able to find a resolution.

Kitchen – sinking was a real issue for me. I was never able to just stick on one topic and my husband would end up defensive and completely close down. Once I realised it didn’t help to bring up issues we’d already dealt with I stopped.

Now our communication channels remain open and we’re able to discuss what we need with more compassion and empathy.

Say how YOU FEEL. When you’re upset with something your partner has done instead of berating them and blaming them for all the bad they’ve done think about the issue in terms of how it’s made you feel.

By expressing your feelings, being vulnerable and open you give the other person the opportunity to feel empathy towards you and your emotions. Feeling this empathy helps to dissipate the argument and allows them to see things from your side too.

Step #3: Stop Trying to Win. Why is it that we often treat our loved one as an evil opponent, stopping at nothing to ‘win’ the bout? The problem with fighting to win is that when there’s a winner and a loser the only real loser is the relationship itself.

Instead of trying to win, why don’t you try listening? Listening is the most important part of communicating and so few of us are able to listen well. Our minds wander, we think about something else and we’re constructing our response even before we’ve heard what’s been said.

Really Listen. Listening is a skill that takes practice and patience. Often when someone is telling you their grievances they don’t want to hear excuses or solutions, they just want to know they’ve been heard and understood.

Try keeping your opinions to yourself and acknowledge what they’ve said by letting them know you are hearing how they feel.

There’s nothing more powerful than the feeling of being understood and knowing that the other can see your point of view – even if they don’t agree with it.

Given that I’m rather opinionated and usually have loads of advice to give I’ve developed a strategy that helps me decipher when my opinion is warranted or when it isn’t.

Before I start to offer my advice I ask my client/loved one if they want to hear my advice or if they want me just to listen.

This works really well and then it’s clear to both of us what the motivation is behind why they’re revealing what they are to me, plus I then know exactly how to respond.

Win/Win Solution. Once you’ve heard (really heard) each other’s view then you’ll be in a better position to be able to compromise and find a solution that works for you both.

The solution needs to accommodate both of your needs and should have an equal level of compromise. When you find a solution that’s a win/win for both of you the real winner is your relationship.

You will both feel strong, confident, equal and secure and there won’t be any residual resentment left over to creep in, in the future.

Being in any relationship, especially an intimate one of marriage or life partnership will see it’s fair share of ups and downs.

Anyone can enjoy themselves and have fun when everything is rosy, but when the proverbial hits the fan that is when the real strength of a partnership comes to the fore.

By communicating constructively using the steps above you’ll have a much greater chance of being heard and understood. That way you’ll be able to achieve a solution you’re both happy with and be 100% willing to participate in.