Ever notice how the fights with our spouses are typically the most lethal? How we often attempt to go for the hypothetical jugular with our words? Yep, I’ve noticed it too. But the question is, how productive are those “lively debates” with our spouses? Yep, you’re right again, they typically aren’t that productive at all. Here are some key ways to learn how to fight “right” with your spouse, so that you can actually find solutions, instead of just spewing fire-hot words for the umpteenth time.
Incorporate the “No Leaving” Rule
My husband and I are both hot-tempered people. Early on during our courtship and marriage, I had a terrible habit of walking away in the heat of an argument, and refusing to continue the conversation. Without fail, I would do this during every argument. And I wasn’t doing it for any useful reasons; I did it out of utter indignation. Being absent in those moments was my way of fighting back. It took quite a few arguments, followed by long conversations where we finally decided to hash out whichever issue we were going through in that moment for me to realize that my behavior was unacceptable. With that realization, we decided to institute a “no leaving” rule. We agreed that no matter how heated the conversation got, or how angry we became, we wouldn’t leave the conversation. We wouldn’t leave physically, meaning we agreed to staying in the same room until we’d resolved our issue; and we wouldn’t leave mentally, meaning we would be present in the conversation. Now this practice has certainly accounted for some LONG nights, but it also has ensured that we resolve the issue. And usually, after we both have grown tired of being stubborn, we finally hash things out like mature adults.
As it was for us, this practice might be difficult for some couples. You might even think that it’s better to take some time away, cool off, and then resume the conversation. And that truly may be a better practice for you and your spouse. However, there is some virtue in agreeing to come to a resolution right then and there. I dare you and your spouse to implement the “No Leaving” rule for your next disagreement. See how it works for you. I’m sincerely hoping that it alleviates things for the two of you in the future.
Keep the Drama AWAY From Your Mama
…and the rest of your peeps. Your family, friends, Facebook, Twitter, and etc. should not all know that the two of you are fighting. This is a HUGE no-no. For one, if they are the person that you’re running to in order to blow off steam, then they’re more than likely going to be biased in your favor. They’re more than likely going to tell you what you want to hear, and at the very least, they’re going to form a negatively biased opinion of your spouse. This is not a good thing. One thing to remember is that you two are in it for the long haul, which means that you’re going to have to do the footwork for yourselves. Mom might be well-intentioned, but she can’t do your marriage homework for you.
However, if you are in a situation where you feel that you completely cannot work things out with your spouse without enlisting a third party, then you should seek professional counsel. Counselors are trained to mediate conflict, and someone objective is the best person for you to share your marriage woes with.
This is one of the most simple things to do in concept, yet is extremely difficult to do in practice. Take turns talking. When he is talking, listen. Don’t just wait to interject. Don’t cut him off and point out how terribly wrong he is. Listen. Once he’s done speaking his piece, then take your turn to talk. But don’t just use your speaking time to say everything that you wanted to say when he was talking; actually address the issues that he mentioned. Doing this will help both of you to feel listened to, cared for, and loved…even in the heat of the moment. It will also allow you to forgo the bickering and tit-for-tat that are usual staples of (pointless) arguing. You’ll get to the solution-making a lot quicker.
So how about you and your spouse? Do you already use any of the tactics mentioned above? What do you two do to help make your arguments more like friendly disagreements than World War III? Share below in the comments!
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