My husband and I have a great relationship and marriage. By great, I don’t mean perfect. But I do mean great. It wasn’t always this way and to be honest, I feel a little intimidated writing this as I know that there are lots of couples out there who have been married a lot longer. Longer, however, doesn’t always mean better. A huge part of “life” that I write about is aspects of everyday issues that I’ve fought through and won. But let me be clear on what winning means before I launch into my top 5 tips for winning. Winning means that the relationship is restored. It does not mean that I was right nor does it mean that Z gets his way. It means that we come back together into unity.
My husband is a truly unique man and feel so blessed to have married him. You may find me talking about him a lot and thats because I love him a lot! He genuinely enjoys spending time with me and working together on our marriage. Sure we have certainly had our fair share of slammed doors and hurtful words exchanged but together we have found a way to curb the hurt and get to the root. Here is my top 5 things that couple can do to win the argument and restore the relationship.
TOP 5 WAYS TO WIN
- Decide what winning looks like- We have all have very different ideas of what a happy marriage consists of. You and your spouse will also have different ideas between the two of you. Talk together before you end up in a fight about what “winning” the fight looks like for your family. While sometimes tensions take time to release, the peace can still be present. This is your goal of the conflict. You two together again, side by side taking on the world. For us, the peace in our relationship is restored. We don’t feel bitter towards the other but we work hard to forgive the other person (so important!). We can move on in life together. When your relationship was at its best, what made it that way? How did you act towards each other? How can you restore your relationship back to that? (Hint; relationships require humility…this isn’t time to go all independent woman, remind yourself of the goal and if this behaviour is moving you forward or back)
- Decide Ahead of the “Dirty” words- We both have sensitive areas to talk about (hello eyebrows!) that we have agreed together are things that will not ever come up in a fight and let me tell you how hard this truly is. As human, we look for the weakness in our opponent in an attempt to exploit. We need to remember that this is not an opponent, its your spouse that you love. The goal is not total destruction but just the opposite. My fighting style (yes we all have them!) is typically described as “bulldozer” as I plow over all feelings and facts with fierce anger while my husband is more of a snapping turtle who retreats after he lashes. Both ways inflict hurt. Here is a list of things that are our “dirty” words -Divorce, I need to stop here right now. Divorce is not an option for our marriage, it is never used as a weapon! Don’t even let it be mentioned! My husband was a child of divorce and it has caused some serious difficulties in his life and as such, it is probably our strongest “dirty” word. We don’t say things such as “you never or you always”. Name calling is also unhelpful and completely off the table. Are there weakness in your heart that can inflict damage at the mention? Perhaps painful memories of fathers, mothers, previous relationships or hurts that simply off the table? Talk it out with your spouse.
- Bury the Past with an Oil Driller- Z and I come from two very different pasts when it comes to this issue. My family has a squabble, resolves it (or ignores it) and then its forgiven and forgotten. I have no idea what we fought about as teens and I’m so good with that. It was a very different story when we got married as Z is not like that and would bring up previous fights or conversations and say “remember this?” This point took us a long time in our marriage to master. It’s challenging to “not keep a record of wrongs” But bringing up past resolved arguments will not do anything to resolve this one. And this brings me to my next point
- Not forgiving is like Drinking Rat Poison and Waiting for the Rat to Die- I don’t really care if you come from a Hindu or Christian background or if you don’t even believe in God, forgiveness is so freeing. Holding onto the hurts from your spouse is YOU poisoning your own marriage. Some forgiveness is a one time deal while other times it needs to be a daily occurrence. There are still mornings that I wake up with such intense bitterness toward certain people that I then have to turn them back over to God and say “no, I have forgiven them, this offence is over” and move on with my day. Holding into your forgiveness causes repeat offence, more pain and so much more difficulty winning at your argument. Sometimes, it is helpful to seek professional help in this area such as turning to a counselor or pastor for more advise.
- Inter———–uptions- As a general rule, we do not have serious arguments in front of our children. Sure we have discussions that get resolved such a disagreement on a restaurant choice but we do not fight in front of our children. Not only is it damaging for them but often times, they interrupt. I am very pregnant now and its safe to say I have serious preggo brain (I won’t eat you if you say it, I promise) and I often get derailed during our talks. We agree to talk about whatever serious discussion needs to be had later. Turn the TV off, put the kids to bed and look at each other. Then, work really hard, not to interrupt each other. There has been many suggestions for a “talking stick” of some sort. Personally, I felt like I was five when we first used a talking stick but it was necessary as we both had terrible habits of interrupting the other. Even now, if we get very heated about a topic we grab a near by object to remind us. Let me tell you, this take discipline and a substantial amount of self control! But allowing the other person to express their concerns in a non rushed way really helps you both to see where the other is coming from and come to some sort of win.
Winning takes discipline and practice but I know that you can do it as long as you both are committed to it. None of this advise is intended for abusive situations where much more help is needed. Also these are things that we have found in our own marriage to be helpful but we are certainly not perfect people and we certainly still have our fights! However, we are much much better at winning them quickly and leaving them in the dust. Please feel free to ask me about any of this if you have questions and I’ll do my best to answer. You can comment below (Comments go to my email only unless I approve of putting them up) or you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org