So you had a fight! Now what?
And no, I'm not talking about a fight with a kangaroo!
I'm referring to a fight with your partner. Those, my friends, are inevitable. Sometimes arguments are a way to let off some steam. But, it's important to fight fair; to not hit below the belt, to not say things that will linger, and create wounds too deep to ever heal. Fighting between couples happens, then what? What are some measures you can implement to make things better? To come out on the other side and be stronger for it?
Here are some helpful suggestions:
Don't drag it out.
Know when it's time to call it quits. Sometimes arguments are kept going, and going. It's like beating a dead horse. At that point, you have to ask yourself, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to make your partner cry, become defensive, get angrier, etc.?What you need to be doing is attempting to solve the problem at hand. What went wrong, and how can it be fixed? And even if you feel you're right, avoid getting in some last minute digs. Again, what are you trying to accomplish? Is your Ego that fragile that it always needs to have the last word?
Once you engage in the argument and resolve it, let it go. Don't keep bringing it up a week, a month, a year later. Ask yourself, "Will this help my relationship grow, or will I just get the short-term satisfaction of "being right"? That will not keep you cozy at nights, believe me.
Give them space.
Avoid clinging. Sometimes the best thing after a heated argument is some space. Some people, however, hold on too tightly. Perhaps they feel like they're going to lose their honey and think that by holding on it will make things better. Not always. Space to just cool off is a great thing for both parties involved.
Take time to focus on your end. How did you contribute to the fight? Was there something you could have done differently? After some introspection, you may develop a better strategy so that the next time there's a tete a tete about your feelings, you'll be able to address them in a healthier way.
Also, resist the urge to punish your partner for wanting some time off; needing to be alone. All concerned parties can benefit from this since it can, more than likely, add a new, and fresh perspective.
Communicate honestly and calmly.
Try to establish what it is your partner is actually wanting from you. This can only happen by you truly listening, which takes a great deal of effort. Most people in a fight aren't listening; they're waiting to talk, to attack, to make sure they end up the victor. You will not resolve anything with this strategy.
Ask yourself, "What's my intention/motivation behind the words or actions I'm using?" do I really want to fix things, or just make my partner feel bad about himself/herself? This question can offer you a guide on how to proceed.
Give up the need to be right.
Give up the need to drive home your point. That's your Ego wanting to be fed; wanting to receive kudos. Remember, you can either be right, or you can be in a loving relationship.
Ask yourself, "What do I really want? Is this a person I love? If you answer yes, then how do you normally treat a person you love?
Furthermore, recognize your part in the argument and accept responsibility. No argument happens in a vacuum. There are two people, two points of view. And each of you believes you're right.
If you realize you're wrong, an apology goes a long way to make things better. Of course, it has it be a genuine apology with the intention of settings things right.
Avoid becoming defensive.
Think about your relationship and THE BIG PICTURE. If you feel a surge of energy as your partner is talking, that means they've hit a nerve. That nerve only has 30% to do with what's going on at that moment, and 70% with your personal baggage. Who are you really fighting? Your mom, your dad? What attributes does your partner have that are exactly the most negative aspects of your parents? For a great book on this topic, check out:
Deal with one issue at a time.
There's a tendency while arguing to start rehashing old wounds, past wrongdoings..."Remember when you...?" Or, "With your track record, nothing you do surprises me!" Don't drag in things from the past. That serves absolutely no purpose. In fact, it just complicates the situation even more. This includes saying things that hit below the belt. You know your partner's sensitivities. Don't use them to get them where it hurts. Who are you at this point? Some hurtful dictator? Remember who you were when you met? Be that person again.
Don't make ACCUSATIONS.
I know you want to. You really, really want to, but as soon as you start accusing your partner of something, it will just lead to defensiveness on their part. You want to be able to express yourself so that they can listen to your grievances without immediately getting defensive or/and attack mode.
Above all, be kind. You always have a choice as to which way you're going to go. Kind or angry, aggressive or passive, truthful or deceitful, etc. You have the choice. Be kind and make the choice that will honor your relationship in the best way.
If things are just too messy and you feel like it's out of your control, seek the help of a professional. I'm available on Talkspace.com, if you need to find a therapist. But there are many other fantastic therapists out there waiting for you to find them so they can help your relationship get better.
Like I said, fighting between couples is inevitable, but the outcome doesn't have to be. Fight, but fight fair. Get to the root of the problem in a kind and loving way. Work to fix the problem, not to tear your partner down.
Then enjoy the benefits of being married to your best friend. Nothing can beat that on a cozy, rainy night!