Another week and we are almost at the end of September. How did that happen? This week I’ve decided to put the fall content on the back burner and talk about fighting within your relationship. Everyone fights, to say you never fight in your relationship/marriage is just simply untrue. We are all different people with different thoughts and opinions, so it is natural to not always be on the same page. I wanted to give you guys some rules to have a healthier, more productive argument with your spouse. Next time you are in a heated argument with your significant other remember these rules.
1. Remind Each Other That You Are on the Same Team
In the heat of the moment, you forget that you are both working towards a common goal. Remember in any argument it’s not you versus them we are all on the same team.
2. Give Space to Cool Off
If things get too heated take time to cool off on your own. Take a walk, go to another room, etc. Give yourself time to cool down or you may say/do something you will regret. If you are giving yourself time to cool off tell your partner, we will discuss this later. Do not just walk away without giving a time where you can talk about this more calmly and rationally.
3. Don’t bring up the past
Do not dredge up the past when in a new argument. Leave the past in the past and focus on what the current issue is. Bringing up the past can make your partner feel attacked and overwhelmed.
“A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal to one to another.”
– Gordon B. Hinckley
4. Just listen
A simple rule but something many of us forget when in the heat of the moment. I know in arguments it can feel like a battle and you want to have the last word. Listen to your partner’s concerns without interrupting or talking over them. It gives you time to get your thoughts in order and calm the emotions.
5. Don’t Get Lost in Emotions
Going off of my last point about calming the emotions. Try to stay neutral, we are not going to war, and it shouldn’t look or sound like it. Many people including myself get lost in their emotions and the way they feel at the moment. Sometimes it is not what you are saying but the way and the tone of how you are saying it that matters. Think before you speak. Word vomit will get you into trouble.
6. No Name-Calling
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. There is absolutely no reason to call each other degrading names. Express yourself in a respectful manner no matter the context.
7. Don’t Vent About Relationship Problems to Family and Friends
This one is difficult for a lot of people. If you aren’t venting to your spouse your other outlet is usually your friends and family. Avoid doing this at all costs. It opens up your relationship to other people and their opinions. Also, it may make your family and friends have a different impression of your spouse. Remember the words you say in the heat of the moment can’t ever be taken back.
8. Don’t Fight in Public
It doesn’t matter where you are. Just try to save your argument for behind closed doors.
9. Don’t Go to Bed Angry
A little cliché but something I swear by. We try our best not to go to bed angry and really work out any issues before ending the day. I just do not think it is healthy to bring negativity into the next new day.
“When a man can listen to a woman’s feelings without getting angry and frustrated, he gives her and incredible gift. He makes it safe for her to express herself. The more she feels heard and understood, and the more she is able to give a man the loving trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval and encouragement that he needs.”
– John Gray
10. Eliminate “Always” and “Never”
When you are in an argument these words just seem to jump to the forefront of our minds. “You never listen to me…” “You always nag at me…” Generalizing that someone always or never does something when we are mad is just to be hurtful. It’s a process but try to eliminate these words from your arguments.
11. One Issue at a Time
Don’t use an argument to get everything off your chest at once. It will feel to your partner as if you are attacking them and they will get defensive. Deal with one issue at a time.
12. No Yelling
This is a big one for many couples. You don’t have to get loud to be heard. Speaking calmly and rationally will still get your point across. I know it is hard not to match someone when they are raising their voice but no one is listening if everyone is yelling.
13. No Stonewalling
Stonewalling is a term used to describe how someone in an argument just completely shuts down and will not communicate. Keeping an open line of communication with your partner is extremely important. Especially when in an argument because most likely you need to talk it out to find a resolution.
14. Attack the Problem Not the Person
The problem is the issue, not the person. Do not go into attack mode on your partner.
15. Don’t Walk Away
I am especially guilty of this and need to work on it. Walking away doesn’t give the other person a chance to express how they feel. If you feel you are getting too heated.
I want to thank my amazing coworkers for giving me their wisdom on this topic. Dalton and I are really just starting out in our marriage. We are very much still learning and will take any advice we can get. I hope some of these rules will help you in fighting fair in your relationship. It’s ok to argue and disagree just do it with respect for your partner. That is all for me this week, I will talk to you all next week!