While Adam and I have been married for just two years, we’ve kept our arguing down to a minimum. In part, this has to do with both of our personalities and how we mesh together, but this also has to do with how we handle a situation where one of us is upset. We can’t offer legitimate marriage advice but here are some of our thoughts on fighting fair in marriage.
Tone of voice or disposition is ultra important.
When we argue, we both attempt to remain as neutral as possible. Maintaining an even tone of voice or disposition helps us to remain logical. This is helpful during all arguments but is extremely helpful when one of us is acting on emotion.
If one of us isn’t calm, the other must be. Even if one of us is forced to sit and listen to a string of insults or accusations, we have to do just that – listen. It’s difficult to do but with some practice it becomes second nature.
We are both constantly working on this. We aren’t perfect at all but this does help the frustration fade and the fighting comes to an end much faster.
Admit when anger or frustration is misplaced.
It happens all the time. We take our anger out on someone else, someone we know will forgive us and love us no matter what. It’s easier, safer.
But it’s important to inform your significant other (usually after the fact) that you weren’t frustrated about something that they did or said. It helps clear up confusion, especially if there is a sudden change in disposition.
An argument is not the time to be proud.
Sometimes we have to swallow our pride. It sucks, I know, but sometimes admitting that you’re wrong, that you made a mistake, that you’re being irrational…helps.
This is especially true when one of us is being irrational (hey, it happens to the best of us – admit it!). I’ll go ahead and state that I can be emotional at times. This can cloud my judgment on occasion and, even if I can’t admit it in the moment, I will go back and tell Adam.
This is usually when he bites his tongue and does not quote some rendition of the all-too-familiar I-told-you-so statement.
See, two people have to lower their walls during an encounter such as this. Even when we’re not prepped to feel vulnerable, we have to remind ourselves that we love each other and that there is no safer person to be vulnerable around.
Use restraint when choosing words/statements.
During arguments (or heated conversations) when we are complaining about things, we attempt to be mindful of using the words always or never.
For example, I don’t tell Adam that he never helps with the laundry (because he does help, even if it isn’t very often). In the moment, it’s hard to forget all the times that he did help and telling him that he never helps is just going to illicit a response from him.
Now, if one of us does use one of these words, the other person does tend to respond (I mean, could you not defend yourself?) with a question. It’s usually a can-you-really-not-think-of-a-time-I-did-that question. I know that, if this type of question is asked to me, I tend not to respond with emotion. I will often pause and think of my response before giving it.
That’s usually when I realize that I’ve used an extreme and will admit (remember the pride thing?) that he does (or does not) do what I accused him of.
Five Things we Agree Upon:
Don’t go to bed unless things are resolved. It is important to us that things feel resolved between us prior to going to bed. Sure, both or one of us can still be upset, but it’s important that the core issue has been dealt with.
Apologize. Honestly, sometimes an apology is all that is needed. If Jamie mentions that her feelings were hurt (even if Adam doesn’t think so), he will always apologize. It makes things better instantly; therefore, we don’t waste time being upset.
You can’t really be angry at another person; you can only be angry with yourself. Another person’s actions or words can’t make you angry unless you let them.
People treat you the way you let them. This starts from the onset of a relationship. If you teach your partner that it’s okay to ignore your wishes, they will do that. The best way to alter someone’s behavior is by altering your own first.
We could get into behavior – and write a post just on that! Is that something you’d be interested in reading? For us, it’s a huge aspect of marriage in general – and it’s an important thing when it comes to fighting fair in marriage.
Interested in more marriage or relationship info? We haven’t read a lot of publications but did receive The Five Love Languages book as a gift. We found it helpful in being able to tell the other how we like them to express their love.