9 Simple Guidelines Happy Couples Follow When Fighting
"The road to intimacy is paved with ruptures and repairs."
As perfect as your marriage may be, there's no doubt that you've hit a bump from time to time. Have no fear, marital fights are regular and even healthy in some cases. Dr. Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., and author of The 30-Day Love Detox firmly believes that "The road to intimacy is paved with ruptures and repairs."
That said, even though you'll fight from time to time, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be playing nice. There are in fact rules and guidelines to fighting as a happy married couple.
Mom and dad, don't go overboard with your spousal fights, and don't go off the deep end! Check out the 9 guidelines and rules, as suggested by Walsh, that all married couples follow when fighting:
1. Listen to one another
It's difficult to keep a level head in a heated argument, but no matter what, happy couples will hear what their partner has to say during a fight. Lend a listening ear and try to empathize with your spouse on some level, and consider their perspective. You might not agree with them in the heat of the moment, but as Walsh claims, "The person who is not being heard will find somebody to listen, and that person will be either a lover or a lawyer."
2. Take time to respond
When in an argument or spat with your spouse, it can be easy to blurt out things that you don't mean. When angry, people tend to use the meanest, and rudest things that come to mind as a recourse, and this should definitely be avoided when fighting with your one and only. Take the time to pause before each response. You need to realize that once something is said, it can't be unheard, and sometimes words cut deep. Take the time to choose your words carefully!
3. Own up to your feelings
Basically, this means taking responsibility for what you feel. Dr. Walsh says, "Don’t begin sentences with 'you'. You need to take full responsibility of your feelings. Instead of saying, 'You’re making me angry,' try, 'I feel angry when…' This helps your partner feel less defensive and more willing to listen to what you’re saying."
In accordance with guideline #2, you need to take the time you need to verbalize what's really on your mind, and in a constructive way. However, you also need to take responsibility and ownership of your emotions instead of using confusing, unclear language.
Play nice, husbands and wives! Don't break these guidelines and rules when fighting with your partner!
4. Establish ground rules
Dr. Walsh suggests that understanding the way each fights is healthy. In fact, it can lead to easier to manage fights. If your spouse likes to take time away from the fight to come back and resolve the fight later after they've cooled down, utilize that knowledge. Set a ground rule that claims when you fight, both of you should take a breather instead of forcing a resolution on the spot. Know and understand the way each of you fights, and set ground rules based on your preferences.
5. Choose fights wisely
Little fights can always be avoided by taking the high road. You've heard the concept of "picking your battles"? Well, that definitely applies your marriage. If you're feeling grumpy, or tired, or maybe even hungry you might be fighting for those reasons instead of something important. Avoid little fights like this at all costs!
6. Keep the big picture in mind
"Couples who think every fight is the end of the world aren't able to realize that the bad stuff is just a difficult moment," says Walsh. Happy couples understand that occasional outbreaks happen but they don;t mean anything in the big picture. You love each other, and small fights over trivial problems won't be deteriorating your relationship anytime soon if you keep the big picture in mind.
7. Prioritize the repair
Walsh suggests, "The frequency of your conflicts is less crucial than how you fix those fights."
There are tons of ways in which couples resolve issues. There's no superior way to fix the problem, per se, but what's important is that you both realize the importance of fixing the problem.
8. Put the relationship first
Some verbal spats can be boiled down to a simple cause: I'm right and you're wrong. Walsh says that happy couples are ones who overlook polarizing ideas like that and instead let the relationship win the fight. In essence, sometimes you have to swallow your pride for the sake of the relationship. Trust me, your partner and the happiness of your relationship is worth it!
9. You can go to bed angry
The old saying, "don't go to bed angry" is a cop out! Don't get me wrong, sometimes fights can be resolved before bedtime, but that doesn't mean you have to force the issue. Sometimes, husbands and wives need a good night's rest to contemplate and realize they're sorry. I'm not saying never fix a fight before you go to bed. I'm just saying that you can go to bed angry and wake up with better perspective. Happy couples understand this!
This article was originally posted in Women's Health Magazine
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