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Four tips to manage hot topics in your relationships

Four tips to manage hot topics in your relationships

Let's face it, unless you're an exact clone of your partner, there are going to be a few topics that you disagree about. Some disagreements are relatively benign, such as whether pineapple goes on pizza. Some topics however, can get a little heated—such as when you disagree about the next presidential candidate.

Sometimes you have to agree to disagree with your partner, but that doesn't mean you can't discuss it, as long as you keep to these simple rules.

Keep anger out of it

Most hot topic issues are not worth destroying your relationship. If you feel yourself getting angry during a discussion, it's time to take a break from the conversation and revisit it another time. Your partner isn't going to change their mind because you shouted at them any more than you will.

Keep an open mind

Variety is the spice of life, but when you or your partner already have a set opinion it can be difficult to change that. If you want your partner to listen to what you have to say with an open mind, you need to be prepared to do the same—even if the topic is one your first instinct is to disregard.

Listen to feelings

Not all disagreements are about facts. Some topics can cause very different emotions in different people. Emotions play a role in discussions, especially hot topics.  When these emotions begin to affect the conversation they can lead to anger or other negative outcomes.  If you sense your partner is getting emotional (yes, men can get emotional over these topics) it is time to end the discussion of that topic.

Talk to the kids

Children will inevitably hear you having at least one of these discussions. Raised voices and heated debate may seem harmless to you, even engaging if you and your partner are secure in these kinds of conversations.

To a child listening in, debate can sound like pure fighting, which is stressful and frightening for them. You can help ease their minds b talking to them about what issues they are old enough to understand, and also about having discussions where people don’t agree. This isn't just good for helping them understand that you and your partner aren't mad at each other, it will also help them understand how to work through their own disagreements as they grow older.

Marriage counselors often have to teach couples how to disagree with each other and take it in stride.  Having differences of opinion is normal; we can’t all agree on everything all of the time.  Remember that your spouse having a different opinion isn’t belittling you or your opinion.  They are different and they are allowed to think differently. 

It is also not about them being disloyal.  It is entirely possible to remain loyal and still think that peanut butter and jelly don’t go on the same sandwich… a real-life hot topic between the British and Americans.  Remember: relationships take work and disagreeing politely and with respect is one aspect of it.


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