Arguments are inevitable - we’re human. We all have unique pasts, bring our own perspectives, and we react to certain things the only way we know how. Sometimes it’s out of habit, sometimes it’s our emotions, sometimes it’s built up frustration. A major indicator of divorce isn’t whether a couple fights – but how a couple fights. I know my husband and I quarrel from time to time - it’s totally normal. Here are the things I’ve found to be helpful in the aftermath:
- Give it some time, but don’t prolong it. Yes, you can walk away - and in some cases, drive away - to give yourself some space to cool down. It’s healthy to create some physical distance and take some deep breaths rather than to continue to argue or yell in circles. However, don’t avoid resolving things. And don’t give them the silent treatment – it’s incredibly damaging. Take your moment, then face the issue head on by communicating.
- Reach out first. Bite the bullet and ask them if they are ready to talk. Apologize for your part in the fight. I know, this can be hard, especially when you believe they are more “in the wrong” than you are. Even if it doesn’t feel 100% authentic, do it anyway - don’t underestimate the power of an olive branch. Remember, it’s in these emotionally charged spaces that your significant other needs to be reminded that you love them.
- Kill them with kindness. Most of the time, the fight isn’t actually about what you’re fighting about. Sometimes it’s just because you or your significant other has found yourself in a funk. I find that when this happens to my husband, kindness is the best medicine. Make your significant other feel special and figure out ways to make things easier on them. In these situations, hugs are magic. If you’re both feeling frustrated a good, long hug can physically connect you and help remind you both of the love you share. Even if it’s only temporary relief, it feels good and is a step in the right direction.
- Try 30-minute couch session therapy. Read the article I previously wrote on this. Forcing yourself to talk to each other in 30-minute increments can begin your road to repairing the issue. It may take months of these, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Your relationship is worth saving. You can never over communicate.
- Suggest a reset. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Ask the other person if you both can start over. Start the day over, start the activity over, start whatever’s going on over. Agree to wipe the slate clean. Then start your reset with a hug and a smile.
If none of these work, start with what you can control - you. Fill yourself with joy and love. Don’t seek it from your significant other. Give him or her more space. Remember that you can influence change in others by changing yourself for the better. Do what brings you joy and happiness and let your significant other join you there when they’re ready.