Fighting is a natural part of marriage. Though it causes stress and tension, it helps couples resolve conflict. It helps them become better at dealing with difficult issues. It can help deepen their love and understanding for on another. But fighting the wrong way can also be damaging, like we discussed in a previous article.
So during arguments, it’s best to think before you speak. Ask yourself these important questions before you react, in order to avoid hurting your partner or causing damage to your relationship.
1. Do I need to take a breather before I speak?
This can be challenging when you’re overly emotional, but asking yourself this helps you assess your feelings. If you feel like you won’t be able to say anything good and that you’ll only hurt or scar with your words, perhaps it’s best to allow yourself a “time-out” before responding. You can distance yourself by simply walking away.
This isn’t easy, especially when you can’t stand not having the last word in an argument. But it’s important to remember that words can wound. Even if you don’t really mean the hurtful things you say in the heat of anger, it can be difficult to take them back.
2. Do I value being right over being kind?
Figure out what’s more important. Do you believe being right and winning an argument takes precedence over being mean to your spouse? Or does showing kindness and restraint matter more? If the latter is the case, simply keep silent or tell your spouse you need space. Once your heightened emotions have subsided, then you can resume your discussion.
3. Does it really matter who’s right or wrong?
…or is it just a matter of differing opinions?
Allowing your partner to reason out is a healthy part of relationships that can teach you how to resolve conflict together; it also helps you see their side of things.
Keeping yourself objective when upset is a challenge all couples face. We’re all human and our emotions can overpower even the most self-controlled of us. But it’s important to see an issue from both sides and knowing when to give it up and move on.
This doesn’t mean being passive and sweeping things under the rug. Some issues need to be discussed or argued about, like money matters or trust issues, in order for them not to cause further problems in the future.
4. Why does this matter to me in the first place?
Think about this: will this matter to you 24 hours or even a week from now? Why is this issue so important to you? Why do you think it’s worth fighting about? Instead of pointing fingers, look inwardly to see why you’re hurt by, for instance, a comment or an action. This self-reflection can help you define your feelings, allowing you to better communicate with your spouse.
When pride gets in the way, it can be difficult to think rationally. But it’s important to strive for rationality in order to avoid heated debates and hurtful encounters with your spouse.
Arguments can’t be avoided, but they can be controlled. Over time, you’ll learn to reflect before reacting and your marriage will surely be better and stronger!
sources: Family Share, Couples Center
READ: 5 Couple fighting styles that can harm your marriage