Marriage conflicts can be productive if they are tackled effectively. However if you let them get out of hand, they turn messy and draw people further apart. Conflicts, fights and arguments are unavoidable in any relationship and they are going to happen, the sooner you accept that, the better for your relationship. It is not the pitch of your voice or the color of their face that will decide how the fight ends but how you react to it. If they attack and you attack back, the fight will get ugly. On the other hand, if they fight and you stay silent, they will vent all their anger and then feel empty. This is when they are ready to listen, when all of their anger has been vented out and they have gotten rid of all the emotional drama that was going on inside their head.
Give the Gift of Listening Before You Can Be Heard
When you finally do talk, you do not tell them how they were wrong and neither do you use their phrases against them, stacking them as your defense. Not at all, you tell your partner that you understand where the problem exists and your perspective in a calm voice and then you offer your partner a few suggestions. Next, you ask them if they have any suggestions that will work better and you should put these on the table and go through each one until the right solution has been decided.
When you talk to your partner calmly, it shows them how much you care about them. It also proves that you do not let your ego come in between and as a result the love you feel for your partner is much more important than safeguarding your ego. All their anger will melt when they realize how caring and affectionate you are towards them, even after being blamed for the cause of the fight.
How you and your partner feel when leaving the room after the fight will decide how effectively you resolved the issue. If either of you feels angry, bitter, hostile and defensive, the issue has not been resolved effectively. When an issue or one of the partner’s feelings goes unnoticed, the result is an overwhelming bitterness towards the other partner. The last thing you want is for your partner to distance themselves and become bitter towards you.
When that happens, the damage repair takes a great deal of effort and energy. A much better approach is to tackle fights effectively so that they do not reach the point of bitterness.
Here are some tips that will help you ensure every fight is dealt with effectively and as a result stop any negative after effects from rising.
Effective Conflict Tips
- Make sure one of you is always calm, if the other one is ready to fly off the handle. If one of the two partners is calm, they will let the other vent it out until they reach a state of calm as well.
- If both of you are angry and cannot stop shouting and hurling insults at each other. Call the fight off. Make the decision to discuss the argument and reach a solution in the morning until one of the two is calm. Chances are that either you or your partner will probably have mulled the argument over in your head and reached a point where the love for your partner supersedes the anger. When we take time to think of the fight and how it feels to be angry or not on talking terms with your partner, by morning the intensity of your anger would have reduced and you would feel much better. When this happens, you are better equipped to handle arguments without killing each other.
- However if the fight is too serious to delay, make sure that you give each other at least a fifteen to thirty minutes break in which the two of you can calm yourself down, away from each other. So, do not stay in the same room and use the time to think about how much your partner means to you and how much you love them.
- Show empathy towards your partner by admitting that you understand their emotions and feel sorry that your actions hurt them. Then continue with how you never meant to hurt them and so on. When you accept that you can understand your partner’s anger, you let them relax and let their defense down.
- If your partner has a good sense of humor, try to joke about the situation, in a way that conveys that you understand that you might have done something to hurt their feelings. This is the ideal approach to stop an argument from becoming too big – but be careful, you don’t want to trivialize the situation.
Finally, what you need to understand is that, your partner and you are the part of the same couple. You are not two different beings, and as a result, no matter which of the two wins, you both either lose or win. You two always want the best for the other and would never do anything that causes the other one to be hurt. It is this trust upon which this relationship exists and thrives.
When you remember this fact, you will soon start seeing how pointless the whole argument is and how it doesn’t really matter who wins as long as the two of you understand what the other wants. With this understanding, you can improve and strengthen your relationship.
When the argument starts escalating, stop yourself, take a break and then think of how you can resolve the argument which will work out best for both of you and this marriage. When you start looking at the bigger picture, the smaller arguments lose its place and seem unworthy of all the hype. Always try to look at the bigger picture when you arguing, instead of getting tangled up in emotions.
Having worked with thousands of couples, I know how hard it is to reign in one’s emotions and to ‘fight fair’. If you need some help in being heard and controlling the arguments in your marriage, call us today to set up an appointment. We can help.