It’s hard to fathom creating a win-win environment when you’re in the middle of an argument. This is why it’s important to create a fair and balanced relationship ahead of time and hope it helps influence what happens during fight. Remember – they’re challenging to create and easy to destroy so handle it with care. The one thing that you must keep in your head at all times is we’re on the same team. That is your partner to the end (or to the bitter end which can happen if you’re not in a win-win).
You create a win-win environment in a relationship incrementally. This is all about trust. Can you (both) be vulnerable and trust that the other person will protect that vulnerability? If the answer to that question is “no” then you either have a lot of work to do or you need to get out of this relationship. You create trust by being trustworthy. Never lie but more than that, be pro-active in your honesty. Be fair in your dealings with him and with others. Listen to what he has to say and make him feel heard. Be consistent so that he knows what to expect. Do this from the beginning and continue it through-out your relationship and you will create an environment where both partners feel that they’re on the same team.
When you argue, do not undo all of your hard work. When you feel that desire to go in for the kill shot, look into their eyes and know that you’ll be living with that nasty comment for a very long time – you can’t un-ring a ball. It is more important that you both win rather than for you to win. If you win the argument but lose the man, what have you really won? Try to see his side of the argument. Take time to consider what he’s said and if you’re being unreasonable. Be first (and quick) to apologize for any mis-steps you might have made in the course of the argument. Negotiate a reasonable solution that both people can live with (note: I did not say skip through fields of daisies singing its praises, I said live with).