After the Argument

So you blew it and had a big blow out. What do you do after the argument?

You want to fight!?

First, let your anger cool. Whether a few hours or a day, allow your anger to settle. Next, sort out impulse thoughts from reality. An impulse thought is one fueled by emotion, in this case anger. “What a witch, she always ignores me to ding me. She needs to learn to be more sensitive.” “He’s stupid, can’t even remember to do the littlest thing. He needs a dose of discipline.”  Share these thoughts  and you’ll reignite the battle. Here is your next step.

After your anger has cooled and your thoughts are more rational, follow this principle: approach your spouse with what you need to reconnect.  If you need her to take responsibility for her action, approach her by taking responsibility. Say, “Hon, I take responsibility for my part of the blowout.” Chances are greater that she will respond in kind, that she will take responsibility for her action or words.

Don’t tell her what she should do. “Hon, you need to take responsibility for your action.” She will not do it. Humans do not respond well to commands or “you shoulds.” If you want her to say she is sorry, then say you are sorry. If you want him to say he’ll try harder, say you will try harder. Think of what you need, what the marriage needs, and offer it. “What if she does not respond?”  Stay in that step until she does.  Keep reaffirming your part, keep saying you apologize.

Next, tell her what you will do in light of taking responsibility for your part. “I will work on my anger.” Then give a practical step. “I will buy that book, take that class, get coaching.” Again, she will respond in kind, “And I will be more careful with my sharp tongue and soften my delivery.”

Finally, ask forgiveness. “Please forgive me for what I did, said, etc.” Your spouse will likely say he/she forgives you and ask you to do the same. Now you are in good territory. The last step is to hug. And that’s easy. This is called a repair and if you don’t have them in your marriage it will fall apart.

Suspended Argumotion

Stop Argumotion

Stop Argumotion

Couples move in patterns that trigger arguments. I call this argumotion.  That pattern sets in motion a journey that leads to fussing and fighting.  We repeatedly hear wives say, “The same ol’ thing happens over and over and we fight.”

It may be about food, work, the house, or sex, but the familiar patterns lead to the same result. Next time this happens try something new.

When you feel a fuss coming on, stop and tune in to your feelings.  If he says something sharp, ask yourself if you feel unheard, rejected, or disrespected?  Name the emotion.

Next, shift gears and talk about the emotion. Say, “Right now I am feeling rejected.”  Be careful to not place blame on your partner, so add. “I am not blaming you, just letting you know what I am feeling.”

Discussing the emotion puts you on a deeper relationship track.   You might be surprised to learn about his emotion; he may feel criticized.  Deal with that emotion through forgiveness.

Shifting from details to emotion gets you to the heart of the problem, adds a new element, and breaks the old pattern.   A new pattern means a new result.  And you add forgiveness to your mix.  This sounds simple and a little innocent, but give it a try, it works.

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