You got into an argument with your partner, now what?
So my husband and I get into arguments. Matter of fact, we did this weekend. Now, they are not always huge “you spent too much money in the account, or “you drove home after drinking and I’m pissed about it” fights. In fact, most often they are small, “you said you were going to wash the dishes and you didn’t”, or “it’s your turn to put the kid to bed” type fights. In my opinion, disagreements in relationships are healthy. If you and your partner never disagree, there may be a much larger issue going on, like two passive ass people trying to avoid conflict at all costs. I've decided that in my relationship, I don't need a “yes” man. I need someone who is going to challenge me on my BS, just as much as he supports me. I mean, how else do you grow? So I thought I’d share how we find our way out of disagreements when they do arise. All of it may not work for you, but you may find a few sticking points that you can introduce into your “get over it” practice.
GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
Usually after a big blow up we go our separate ways to cool off. While I am someone who can fight all night long, my husband is a “runner”. Meaning he walks away or leaves the house before he says something he may regret. This is something I appreciate so much about him! In any case, it’s important to take a break, lower your blood pressure, and think about what you’re really arguing about.
DON'T TALK TO ANYONE ELSE ABOUT THE ISSUE BEFORE YOU GIVE IT ANOTHER TRY WITH YOUR PARTNER
Now this one may be a hard habit to break. I will confess that I didn't always do this, but I'm so glad I do now. Think twice before calling your friends or your mama to vent about your issues. Not only may their advice make your situation worse, but it may also cause them to give your partner the side-eye the next time they see each other. Then the next thing you know they hate him/her because you always tell them about all the foul shit they do. See the pattern here. What I’ve learned is that it’s much easier to fix your problems when you don't have a bunch of extra people adding their opinions into the mix. **AND please, please, please whatever you do, don't put any subliminal messages on social media. Being petty may make you feel better in the moment, but it's not helpful for the long term. Just log out of all of your accounts if you struggle with this one!
PROPOSE ANOTHER TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT
So, don’t just start yelling as soon as they walk back in the door. Ask if it’s okay to talk now. If not, set a time to talk about it. Not next week, but rather in the next 24 hours. That's more than enough time to calm down, think it through, and try again with a clear mind. Plus it’s annoying AF to not get closure on an issue.
PRAY ABOUT IT
If you're a praying woman, now is the time to put it into practice. Now's the time to pray for forgiveness, patience, peace, guidance, your relationship, in short pray about whatever is on your heart and ask for God's strength and grace to move you through it.
Also, as important as it is to pray, its more important to make room for God in the conversation. So once you've said your piece, sit quietly and listen for God's voice. He may be trying to tell you something.
DETERMINE IF THE SUBJECT IS EVEN WORTH FIGHTING OVER
Okay this is extreme, but this is how I decide if I want to continue fighting. I think to myself “if my husband walked out the door today and got hit by a car and died, would I want this to be the last conversation we had". 9 times out of 10 the answer is no. So in those cases I call him and tell him I'm sorry and ask if we can talk when we're back in the house together. If the issue we were arguing about was serious and I feel like I need to stand my ground, then I at least yell "I still love you" before he slams the door. If this makes me the loser in the fight, I’m fine with that. In my mind, I'm a winner if my marriage lasts. And just so you know, this works both ways. Sometimes he and I will argue, I'll let it go and then a couple hours later he will apologize after reflecting on the situation. We're adult enough to know when we're wrong.
So now we’re back in the same room. Where to start?? My go-to is “I” statements and summarizing. I focus on my thoughts and feelings instead of telling him how I think he thinks and feels. Remember, you should be listening for comprehension, not to respond.
So for “I” statements try:
“I was upset about the amount of time that you were away from the house. I feel that all of the housework, cooking, and taking care of our child is put on me when you make plans for the weekend without running them by me first. “
“You don't care about our family. You put all your personal needs before mine. You clearly don’t appreciate me and all that I do for us.”
Here’s an example of summarizing.
Him: I was disappointed that you spent that much money at the casino when we had bills to pay. It made me feel that you don’t care about our budget and how much effort I put in to make sure that there is money in our account.
Me: So I hear you saying that me spending more money than I was supposed to made you feel that I didn't care about the budget we agreed upon and that I was taking your efforts for granted. Is that right?
Yes, in the beginning of using this strategy you may feel like a parrot. However, you'll be surprised at how sometimes we hear things that are not being said. Which inevitably causes more conflict in a relationship.
AGREE TO DISAGREE
You're not always going to agree on everything, so sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. This means being okay with your partner not seeing things as you see them. You also have to know when to use this tactic. For example: If I see the paint on the wall as blue and you see it as green. I can be cool with that and we can agree to disagree. Yet, if I want another child and you absolutely do not, then that's a much larger discussion that has to be hashed out. You can't really agree to disagree here. Someone is going to have to compromise to make it work.
If you can't agree to disagree this is also where a mediator or counselor may be necessary. If you can't meet in the middle or find that you keep arguing over the same thing over and over again, you may have to step outside of your comfort zone and bring in a neutral party.
And now, the best part! For us this is a long hug and a kiss. On a great day we’ll treat ourselves to a good meal. If we’re home alone then maybe a little "adult time". Whatever your ritual, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating getting a little closer to forever.
So how do you work out your differences with your partner? Comment below or share this blog on your favorite form of social media below to start a conversation with your friends. Want access to our library of resources about dating, sex, and relationships? Sign up here!