I’m sure you’ve heard of the suggestion “never go to bed angry”. I, personally, feel that sometimes that’s not a good idea. If you try to force an issue until you’re no longer angry, you may not go to bed at all. There have been several times where I go to bed angry at hubby, and I’m sure he does the same. I don’t truly hold a grudge, but there are moments when the problem won’t be resolved in one night.
Arguing is healthy for couples. I think it proves that we’re passionate about something and that we care. There’s some disagreements that need to be had and there’s others that come up over things that are, well, stupid. Discussions can turn heated based on someone’s tone or someone’s words. However, there’s some things you should keep in mind when you and your spouse are arguing.
It’s important to set rules during arguments. Each couple is going to be different, but here’s some things hubby and I keep in mind when we’re not on the same page about something:
Don’t call each other out of your names
I don’t call hubby Terrance and he doesn’t call me Briana. We usually say “babe” or “boo”. When we’re arguing, however, we usually say each other’s names. That’s how we know we’re serious. I remember one argument we had a couple months before we got married, I called him an asshole. I was very upset, and I just didn’t care anymore. His feelings were so hurt, and at the time I didn’t understand why. Calling your significant other out of their name is very disrespectful. I know if he would have called me a name, I would have been just as hurt. After we talked it out, I vowed not to call him out of his name again. It was immature and it was hurtful.
Don’t bring up the past
It seems when people argue and they’re out of ammo, they bring out old things that are still sensitive. A wound can never heal if you keep picking at it, and the same goes for old things that have happened. If you and your husband or your wife had an issue before and you have already dealt with it, you should not be allowed to bring it back up into the conversation. Now, if there’s an issue that happened in the past and it was never dealt with or discussed, then I believe it’s allowed in the argument. However, it should be a mutual understanding that once you two have resolved it, it’s out of bounds as far as bringing it back up. It doesn’t get you anywhere.
Know which words and phrases are off limits
This sort of goes with calling each other out of your names, but it goes a little further. I just talked to my BFF and she said her and her boyfriend had an argument. When you get annoyed with someone, sometimes you say things you don’t really mean out of frustration. She said he told her to shut the ____ up three times, and she told him ____ you. I informed her that those phrases are absolutely off limits in my relationship. Again, to each his own, but the two of you should be in agreement on what you can’t say to each other. Hubby and I don’t say those things because they come from a place of anger and hate. I believe you can’t go back from those phrases. Other things that are off limits include hurtful things about family members (we all know what the phrase ya mama can get you), insecurities your spouse has confessed to you in confidence, and certainly the D word: divorce.
One book that has really helped me understand how to fight fair with hubby is Dr. Gary Chapman’s Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. I was given this book by Ronnie of Black and Married with Kids when I was going through a few issues with hubby. It has really taught me how to have healthy arguments, disagreements, and discussions. I highly recommend reading it, whether you argue everyday or just once a year.
How do you fight fair? What rules do you have in place for your relationship when it comes to arguing?
I like “be nice, because mean words can only be forgiven, not forgotten”
That’s a great point Kathleen! Even when you discuss the hurtful words, they are still there in the back of your mind.
Another extremely valuable resource for couples is knowing and understanding conflict personality styles. There are five different styles (Competing, Accommodating, Avoiding, Collaborating & Compromising) and, depending on the level of stress or conflict, you might switch styles or get more intense with your primary style.
Learning how to interact with each personality style changed the way I communicate with my wife, my kids, my family and other people in my life! It’s one of the first things I share with people I work with.
Here’s a link- http://quantumorganizations.com/tki.html