I will be the first to admit that fighting with anyone you love is the quickest way to ruin your day (and their day). No one wants to fight with the one they love, especially their spouse.
I can’t imagine any man or woman waking up and saying to themselves, “What can I do to really make him/her mad today?” However, we know our sweethearts inside and out, from their passions, likes, dislikes, and we learn really quickly what annoys them the most.
I remember the first real fight my husband and I had together, and it was about me leaving the toilet seat up.
Yes, I left the toilet seat up again…for the millionth time. I know, I know, but to my husband, this was a big deal (one of his pet peeves).
I grew up in a home with an “as long as I don’t fall into the toilet, I’m happy” attitude. However, for him, he wanted the toilet seat down. He expressed to me repeatedly (and patiently) to “please remember to put the toilet seat down.”
I promise I did my best to remember, but it wasn’t a habit of mine, so I neglected his wishes. The fateful day came when this escalated into an argument. I learned very quickly in the school of hard-knocks that marriage isn’t always bliss, holding hands, and romantic walks.
Marriage and any relationship for that matter are two very different people coming together for one purpose. Two people with two different viewpoints, opinions, desires, and wishes that make them wholly and uniquely them.
Over the years in my marriage, and with past relationships, I have learned 4 crucial steps to take in order to eliminate fighting in a relationship. These steps are seemingly simple but require a large dose of humility in order to be successful.
4 Crucial Steps to Eliminate Fighting
When you know a fight is coming take a deep breath. Pause for a moment and clear your mind. This will allow you to seriously consider your position and your loved one’s position and ultimately help eliminate the fight before it begins.
2. Step Back
If breathing doesn’t help to eliminate stress or tension, step back. Remove yourself from the room or situation if you have to. I recall a time when my sweetheart and I experienced a major disappointment we were counting on to come for our family. Negative words were exchanged as we expressed and vented our sorrows and frustrations with the situation (not at each other).
Instead of being therapeutic this quickly turned into “you said, I said” and I stood up, turned to my sweetheart and said, “I will be back in a few minutes when I’ve calmed down. I don’t want to say anything I will regret.” This allowed us both time apart from each other, negative feelings about the situation to subside (and the negative feelings that were beginning to be projected at both of us).
Allow yourself to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. There is no weakness in doing so.
Reflect on what you want to say. Ask yourself: what am I hoping to accomplish from this argument? Decide and specifically identify what YOU ultimately want from this experience and situation. If you and your sweetheart are fighting about money, ask yourself, what is the root cause that’s leading to this fight?
Is one of you spending too much? Eating out all the time? “Wasting” money when it could go elsewhere? Be specific and focus on your thoughts and then be prepared to calmly hear what your spouse has to say.
Allow unlimited time to talk to each other. This will take practice. It’s easy to jump into a fight of “he said/she said” but you want your relationship to last forever, so you need to decide what is best for both of you.
First, keep an open mind when you begin to talk with each other. Remember your sweetheart has feelings, dreams, opinions and desires also.
Second, a possible idea is to allow the first person ten minutes to talk freely, without any interruptions (set a timer) and then switch. Once the time is done focus on what was said and allow an open dialogue flow between you two.
If things start getting “heated up” then remove yourselves before the fight and try again when you’ve both calmed down.
I know as you breathe, step back, reflect and discuss you will begin to have more discussions than fights in your relationship. This will take practice, but I promise the practice and patience are worth your relationship.
Most importantly: If you, or someone you love, is suffering from domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. Please know that you are loved. You have immeasurable value and an important contribution to make in so many lives. Please talk to someone as soon as possible–a counselor, pastor, doctor, or friend, or call the Domestic Violence Help Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
To find out more information please visit: http://www.thehotline.org/
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