How To Get Over Every Fight With Your Significant Other
Fights happen all the time in relationships. As uncomfortable as it is, arguing is an indicator of a healthy relationship. In fact, there are actually several benefits to arguing with your special someone. Regardless of the benefits, we can all agree fighting with your sweetie sucks. Big time. It’s one of the aspects of life that you hate but you have to get through once it happens. But fighting doesn’t have to be a big disaster that ruins your day. It doesn’t even need to last for an hour.
Over the course of a decade, my husband and I have been through a lot of fights. We’ve cried, accused, stubbornly argued we were right, admitted we were wrong, the whole bit. And because of that we’ve come up with a system that works for us whenever we happen to get into any disagreements. Here’s how we get through fights every time and come out smooching on the other side.
Give Each Other Space
For Nathan and myself, we need to give each other space every time we get into a fight. Sometimes that means physical space, sometimes it means just not approaching the subject for a while. Either way, the intent is to distance ourselves from the source of contention. It’s a necessarily step to clear our minds and gather our thoughts. A lot of things can be said out of anger, hurt or frustration and those things can have life long effects on the relationship. In order to avoid any of those emotional scars, we part ways temporarily and wait until we’re both ready to talk about it.
Revisit The Problem When Both Parties Are Willing to Talk
Once the tension has deescalated, Nathan will typically come to check in on me. Even though it may not be appreciated in the moment, it’s a gentle reminder that he wants to fix the problem and he wants to make sure I’m okay. Whenever we’re both ready, we come together and take turns expressing our point of views on what happened. It’s an opportunity to get on the same page and establish exactly what is the problem at hand.
Have Both Parties Express Their Grievances Separately (Several Times If Needed)
After the problem has been addressed, we start to get into what the other person said or did that might have hurt us. Maybe I raised my voice and he didn’t appreciate it. Maybe he literally turned his back on me and I took that as a sign that he refused to listen to me. Because of our different upbringings, we tend to interpret certain behaviors differently. This, of course, causes a lot of confusion and misunderstandings between us. So we have to air our grievances (often several times) before we finally understand where the other person was coming from.
Listen to Understand, Not Respond
A big mistake I used to make when we were dating is I would listen to Nathan explain himself with the intention to strike back at him. It’s a particularly cruel habit I picked up from my parents that really doesn’t help anyone. Whenever I would respond to him, it would be out of hurt and the desire to “win” the argument. But when you’re fighting with someone you love there is no “winning” or “losing.” Reminding yourself that your partner is not an enemy but a loved one will smooth the competitive edge threatening to overtake you. It will also give you incentive to listen with the intention to understand your partner rather than attack them. That’s where the solution lies.
Come to an Understanding/Compromise
Once both sides have had an opportunity to clarify and be understood, it’s time to come up with solutions. Sometimes there is no problem and all that was really required is an understanding of the other person’s perspective. Other times a wrong was committed and that needs to be addressed. Depending on the couple, that could mean deciding to change behaviors, changing the way a certain idea is expressed (ex. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with you?” ask “You seem sad. Is everything okay?”) or a plethora of other changes. The important aspect is for both people to feel like they’re getting something they need from the outcome of the fight. As long as there’s understanding, compromise and agreement the fight is already almost over.
Apologize For Wrong Doing
The last step before coming out on the other side is apologizing. Some might argue this should be the first step and for some that might need to be the first one. For me, personally, I need to cool off and hear everything I previously mentioned before I can genuinely give or accept an apology. So, for us, the best time to apologize is near the end of the argument. It’s when our expressions of remorse are the most sincere and spoken with the most clarity. Apologizing during this stage is when it hits the closest to the truth.
You’ve made it. It’s now time to kiss and make up. The loving embrace you secretly craved but didn’t want to give is now free and open to you. Something Nathan and I make sure to do when we’re making up is to hug tightly and tell each other, “I love you.” It’s great to hear and an excellent reminder that despite all we’ve just been through, we still care for each other. Additionally, it’s a great transition back to the happy state we typically reside in. Hooray! The fight’s over.
As long as both parties are willing to work things out, this advice should be helpful. Of course, every couple is different and may need some rearrangement, addition or subtraction of the steps I mentioned. Feel free to customize to your specific needs. This particular method is what works for my marriage and I hope it can work for your relationships.