In pretty much any romantic relationship, the occasional conflict is inevitable. Plans change, expectations are broken, differences of opinion occur, deep-seated issues are brought to light. It’s part of the deal when we make ourselves vulnerable.

A terrible fight can end a relationship or strengthen it, depending on how both parties behave when the cards are on the table. Here are 6 strategies for reaping the fruit of an argument in order to strengthen your bond rather than undermine it.

1. Let Them Vent

Often times, an angry person doesn’t even know what it is that they’re so angry about. If you can let them talk it out for awhile, without reacting, they very well may come around on their own. Of course, you’ve got feelings too and you’re not always going to be able to hold your tongue.

2. Focus On Your Feelings Rather Than Your Opinions

It’s a very, very rare case that your position is one hundred percent right and theirs is one hundred percent wrong. It might sound a little cheesy, but saying “I’m so pissed right now because I feel like I’m being attacked” can be so much more effective that saying “You’re attacking me, just like you always do.”

3. Let Them Know They’re Being Heard

For example, “Oh, you’re upset because you feel like I was ignoring you in front of my friends. That makes total sense.” If you don’t feel like you really did anything wrong, you don’t have to apologize. But acknowledging the validity of their position goes a long way. In order to do this, you have to actually listen, of course.

4. Take One For The Team

Sometimes they’re just way more upset than you are about something that would never even occur to you to be upset about. Everybody’s got their own specific set of triggers. If you’re aware of what sets your partner off, and you know that the argument you’re having is based on a reaction that they have little control over, you have the option of setting your pride aside and just letting them win. This is not recommended as a general practice, but sometimes it’s the right move.

5. Get In The Ring

Of course, sometimes taking the high road just isn’t an option. Quietly sulking, however, is never productive. It’s usually better, if you can’t let it go, to commit fully to the argument. Let your partner Know that you are in for the duration. However long it takes, the two of you are going to do everything in your power to sort out the issue. This shows your partner that the relationship is more important to you than your particular point of view.

6. Suggest A Better Time To Talk

You’re tired. You’re too emotional. You have to wake up early. You’re sitting in the car outside your parents’ house. Some situations are just not suited to a full blown battle. Suggesting another time to talk about it can be a good move, but make sure you suggest another time to talk about it. Tomorrow morning, Sunday, on the drive home, whatever. Being angry is never a good idea when things are heated and too often “later” becomes “never.” But the issues that caused the argument don’t go away.

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