What can you expect from this article?In this article, I’ll go over the most effective ways you can be a better crisis manager in your marriage/relationship and stop fighting with your wife or spouse. And when I mean “stop fighting with your wife”, I mean to stop fighting in ineffective and corrosive ways, rather than stop fighting altogether. As I mentioned earlier, there are good and bad ways to fight in a relationship, and it’s worth going over both of them to see what you should and shouldn’t do once you find yourself in marital conflict. First on the list are examples of bad fighting and how to control yourself in such situations. So next I‘ll talk about how to avoid fighting with your wife. Afterward, I want to talk about how you can have more productive and constructive fights.
How to Avoid FightingThe beginning of a conflict is very important. When you notice the arguments are starting to become conflicts and these conflicts start to escalate – well, then you’ll often find yourself on the “event horizon”, aka just at the edge of the point of no return. This is also the time to turn on the alarm bells and try controlling yourself in the following ways.
Don’t Let Anger Turn Into RageIt’s okay to be angry at your partner for something. It can be the same old dirty dishes problem or leaving the wet towel on the bed. Or, it can be something more serious, like them hurting your feelings by neglecting you, refusing to share things with you, or refusing your company. But, as long as your feelings are being hurt or your needs are being neglected, you deserve to voice it and share your concerns. When we don’t get enough attention from our partners and when we feel like we’re not being listened to or have our demands respected, we get angry, and sometimes even get enraged. But there’s a big difference between the two – being angry still allows you to articulate your feelings and show your partner that what they’re doing is troubling you deeply, more than they might’ve thought it will. They can see this by the emotional intensity in your reactions, while you’re still able to say what you think they’re doing wrong. But in rage, there’s nothing constructive. If the only thing it makes you do is smash dishes against the wall, and/or offend your partner for not respecting you by cursing and name-calling, then there’s not much to gain from that. Other than the broken pieces on the floor and an even bigger emotional gap in the relationship.
What you can do insteadSo, the next time you’re on the threshold between angry and enraged, try identifying the feeling – if you get the urge to throw something against the wall and across the room, don’t do it. Instead, tell your partner that you’re really angry right now and do something else with yourself that’ll help you defuse the tension and vent your pent up negative energy. You can try a short exercise, go jogging for 15-20 minutes, for example; or just take a really fast, angry walk through the neighborhood, and then come back with a clear(er) head.
Turn Your Feelings Into WordsWords help us rationalize our emotional (inner) states and they also help us control them. That’s why talking about your feelings before you get really angry is a good idea. It will help you and your partner deal with the conflict situation in real-time. When you say “I’m mad/angry at you for ___”, instead of yelling or cursing, you’re controlling your anger by not letting it escalate to rage. Words allow you to distance yourself from the affective (emotional) situation and look at it from a more neutral perspective. And they also allow your partner to find out exactly how you feel, rather than having to guess what lies beneath the surface of your angry emotions or nonspecific reactions.
Try Talking in a Normal/Lower ToneIt’s understandable that as the conversations become more intense, you’ll start to raise your voice. But often a high tone of voice will only add fuel to the fire rather than extinguish it. So next time you find yourself raising your voice, try to do the opposite, and express your negative emotions through a normal tone of voice. Just like you usually communicate on an everyday basis. This often prevents us from blowing arguments out of proportion and it shortens the duration of the fight.
Rules for Good FightingYes, there is such a thing as good fighting. Eventually, conflict in relationships can’t be avoided, and that’s ok. Even if you’re lucky enough to find your soulmate, chances are you’re still gonna end up fighting at some point. This is because we have distinct personalities, no matter how similar we think we are. This means that the way we process our partner’s behavior differs from person to person, as do our emotional responses. Fights can be a catalyst for change and resolving issues in a relationship – if you do them right, that is. Fights can offer couples space (a tad rowdier, though) to learn about their partners and learn to work better as a team. That’s why I want to talk about more productive fights in this part, and show how you can emerge stronger after a fight rather than the other way around. Let’s look at some of the strategies and ways you can make the fights with your spouse more constructive and ease the tension when they’re starting to become more explosive.
Pay Attention to the Beginnings of Your ArgumentsI mentioned this earlier when I talked about controlling anger and rage during fights with your spouse. Beginnings are important because they allow you to control the course of the whole argument and usually are the key point where things begin to escalate. Paying attention to the beginnings will help you stick to the point, rather than topping one reason to be angry at each other over another. So, next time you notice this is happening, try steering the “conversation” towards its initial course and try dealing with that first.
Don’t Hoard Old Resentments and Use Them as WeaponsHoarding resentments is a bad practice all on its own, but using them as a reservoir for future or current (ongoing) fights is even worse. Instead of dealing with each issue separately and in due time, you’re bringing an unresolved issue on top of the one you’re having right now. No wonder it’s all going to get out of hand! Instead, try dealing with the most pertinent issue first, and then, when you’ve managed to come to an agreement, bring resentments from the past at a more neutral time when both of you are NOT angry and aggravated already.
Don’t Turn Every Fight Into a Threat to Your RelationshipIf you threaten to leave your relationship every time you have an argument with your partner, then it might be considered as a type of emotional blackmail. Furthermore, threatening to leave after fighting shows a serious lack of communication skills. It also points to a lack of commitment towards your partner and the attempt towards maintaining a sense of security in your relationship. Partners who have a healthy way of arguing never threaten to leave after each argument. If your partner does this, confront them with it. Try making them work on this potentially controlling and manipulative tactic by asking them: Why do they always feel the need to leave after a fight?
- Is it that unbearable?
- Has it become downright impossible for them to argue without the thought of breaking up your relationship?