When you consider all the couples you know of have known over the course of your life, obviously some get along better than others. Some people just seem naturally simpatico; on the same wavelength, while others bicker so much you can’t imagine why they’d even want to stay together.
All couples are going to disagree or even make each other angry from time to time (if you find one who claims they never do, I’m going to bet at least one of them is stuffing down a lot of their feelings) but it’s HOW you fight that makes the difference. Incorporate some of these methods healthy couple use to manage their arguments, and get closer to the result you’re hoping for.
- Stay on topic. If you want to fight tooth and nail about one of you spending too much or the other one leaving dirty dishes in the sink, then do that, but don’t let this devolve into a character assassination or an attack on someone’s family and the way they were raised. Furthermore, don’t use this as a jumping-off points to name all the other completely unrelated incidents that made you feel frustrated, disrespected, or whatever the case may be. If you stick to this one topic and one topic only, the fight will naturally exhaust itself pretty soon. There’s only so much you can say about one incident.
- Don’t run to your parents or family members. Here’s the problem. When you have a fight with your spouse, you want to vent and seek comfort and validation from someone who will automatically take your side. But when you repeatedly tell your mother or sister all the bad things and annoying things your partner is doing, they are forming an increasing impression of your partner as a bad person. YOU will forgive your partner but they will not, and this will lead to increasing tension over time.
- This is a marriage lesson that can take a lifetime to learn, so I’m going to make it bold for you: Know that just because you feel angry or bad does not necessarily mean the other person did something wrong. The other day as I hugged my husband goodbye in the morning, I accidentally snapped the arm off his reading glasses, which were in his shirt pocket. He lost his temper, left the house angry, and continued to simmer about it all day. It was an unfortunate accident, but what had I done wrong? Nothing. (He had a hard time admitting that!)
- Find a balance between stuffing it all down and letting it all hang out. While you might appear to be happy if you constantly defer to your spouse, let them have everything their way, and keep the peace between you at all costs, inside yourself you’ll know that’s not a very fulfilling life. You deserve a voice in the relationship, too, and to have your way sometimes. On the other hand, don’t get crazy. Being loved and accepted by someone is wonderful, but don’t start thinking it’s time to do, say, and behave however you please (which may be like a spoiled brat). Even in your closest relationship, manners and consideration have their places.
- Have a “hangry or hormonal” policy in place. And this is not a joke! Learn to recognize when you or your partner are just not yourselves because your body chemistry is temporarily out of whack. As women, we don’t appreciate being asked if it’s “that time,” but if you work at it, you actually can become more adept at recognizing the imbalanced feeling you sometimes get, and dealing with it accordingly instead of picking a fight. And “hanger” is an issue for both sexes. When a meal is delayed and tempers are flaring, agree to just table the discussion until you’ve eaten, and you may find your whole frame of mind has improved tremendously.