There are times when tension and even anger seems to find its way into a marital disagreement. Sometimes, emotions take over creating more strife rather than resolution. Some couples even claim that the arguments get so heated that eventually they do not remember what they were arguing about. When spouses disagree, the argument does not have to turn into a full blown fight. Here are a few tips that may help keep things cool so you can find a resolution.
1. Most arguments do not begin with the intention of creating a blowout. They start when one spouse does not feel like they are being heard or understood. You may have heard them but showed little concern for whatever they are attempting to share with you. Try acknowledging them and respect them by listening to their point of view from the beginning and until the VERY end. Try to not evaluate the way they feel as being right or wrong. Simply listen to them and try to genuinely understand the way they feel. Remember that they are going to feel the way they do whether you agree with it or not.
2. If they are visibly upset or angry, then take a deep breath. This will help you to release your own tension or anxiety. If you feel yourself wanting to react in anger or defensively, breathe again and gently but sincerely let your spouse know that you hear and understand them. Then assure them that this is important to you as well because you do not want to see or hear them feeling this way. It is important to maintain calmness when your spouse is on edge and it is as well important to nurture them with much love especially during such a conversation.
3. Ask for some time to process the information so you can resolve things without it becoming heated. Then set a time so they know that you are serious and not just shrugging them off. For example; “Neshamah tovah, (or Sheifele for the Ashkenazim out there), I can see that you are really upset about this. I had no idea that my behavior affected you in such a way. I want to give this issue my best attention without becoming defensive. Can I have a half hour or so to really think this through?”
If you want the few tips to work best for you, then it is extremely important that you follow through for your spouse. If you tell them you need a half an hour, then spend that time to really consider your spouses’ point of view. After all, think of how much time was spent on arguing – only to find more regret for something you have said or done. Use your “time out time” to think about the situation from the perspective of your spouse. Of course you can blame them for your behavior. You can also try to find reasons why they are being unreasonable. But, I can assure you that this will not resolve anything or restore harmony to your marriage. It will only create more strife.
Remember that the key is to try and improve your marriage any way that you can. Then own up to your behavior. If you may have offended your spouse, try to repair the damage. This means that your marriage will benefit from you becoming humble and seeking forgiveness. Remember that conflict resolution is a skill that takes time and effort to learn. So practice, learn and practice some more. Your marriage is worth it!