As I was writing the post below this one, in one of those inter-connected moments, a friend came into the room to tell me about some problems he's having with his wife. He said it's not too big a deal, though quixotically, again, if that's the right word, (do these things have thesauruses?), he added that he wasn't sure, if they didn't have kids, if they'd still be married. But it's not a big deal.
They were having a 2-day long argument, though they've had longer ones where he's slept in another room for 3-4 days. Talking with him about it, it gave me a chance to spew all my best advices, from experience, to help get through such arguments with someone we love.
1 - Stay on one issue. If the other person counters with an example of something you did, tell them that they may be right, but let's come back to that later, and stick to this issue for now.
2 - If you feel the other person is being stubborn, tell them that as much trouble as that gets the two of you into, tell her/him that is also part of why you love them or are such good friends with them, because they are people of such conviction and passion.
3 - Validate their points, and ask that they do the same. When Cheryl and I get into arguments, which is remarkably rare, sometimes it feels like we're just saying the same things over and over again. At those times, I've sometimes asked Cheryl to tell me what she thinks it is I'm saying. And pretty much 100% of the time, she's been wrong...which of course is my fault for explaining it poorly as much or more than it is hers for not understanding, or possible listening well enough. So when she then says Then what are you saying, and I explain it again, almost every single time we've done that, it has brought the argument to a close, possibly as much because it causes the other person, if only for a minute, to take the other person's side and to try to argue their point.
4 - If possible, in the middle of your anger over this seemingly oh-so-crucial thing you're arguing over, ask yourself if whatever it is will still be important, or even memorable, in 10 years. If not, move on.
5 - The single best piece of advice I turn to when all else fails: I can be right, or I can be love.