6 Things to Remember When Fighting with Your Spouse
Every couple fights and may often find itself on a threshold between bitterness or reconciliation. Here are 6 things that I think can help make reconciliation easier. Now these might be completely obvious to you, but I have to mention them because I have done enough marriage counseling to see that these thing are not so obvious to everyone. So, here are 6 things that I have learned in my marriage and from couples I have counseled:
6- Choose your words very carefully. Stick and stones… Words do hurt! You could say something that your spouse will never forget. You’ve probably already done it. You’ll probably do it again – but don’t.
5- Never say “never” or “always”. I hear this all the time in counseling. Some one says, “You never pick up after yourself. You always criticize me.” These sorts of absolute generalizations do nothing but escalate and derail an argument. Besides the fact that they’re not true. What happens is she says, “You never do anything!”, Then he gets defensive and says, “That’s not true, why I threw my shirt down the laundry shoot last Monday!” Now we have shifted the argument way over here to Monday’s laundry event rather than on the problem at hand. Stay clear of never and always and use words that de-escalate an argument. Say something like, “I feel like I do must of the work around here.” He then can’t say, well thats not true – you don’t feel that way.”
4- Don’t get historical. I head it said once, “When my wife gets in argument with me she always gets historical.” It does not help to bring up stuff from the past. The bible says that true love keeps no records. In marriage you are both changing, your making each other better. But it is really hard to change when your spouse keeps reminding you of your past. Plus it is proof that forgiveness is absent.
3- Leave the kids out of it. It is easy sometimes to talk to your spouse through the kids or to use the kids to leverage something in a fight. Don’t. If you find yourself doing something like that, try to imagine what it would like like if you saw some couple on tv doing the same thing. It is appalling! That is completely unhealthy passive-aggressive behavior and damaging to your kids.
2- Apologize and confess quickly. It is much so easier to forgive someone who is seeking forgiveness. In fact, what I have experienced is that when one confesses the other always quickly confess too. “I am sorry I didn’t take your schedule seriously and ran as late as I did.” “No, I am sorry for making such a big deal about it- I just really wanted to get out of the house.” I think one of the most powerful attributes of my wife is that she can not stand to go 10 minutes with out saying she is sorry, which always leads me to say sorry too.
1- Never “win”. Work for the “we” not “me”. I think that most of the arguments I have seen between couples could easily be fixed if they saw themselves as a we and stopped thinking of me-me-me. Remember that reconciliation means to change back. If one party wins then that naturally means that the the other losses. You can not have reconciliation of oneness when each spouse is striving to win. Instead fight for the “we” not the “me”.
Remember – we are striving for oneness. Forgiveness and reconciliation is hard work. If it were easy – well — then it would be easy – but its not! However, if each party is working for oneness – forgiveness and reconciliation is much easier.
Join my personal email list
& get one email from me once a month.
That's right... Just one a month... no more.