“Fighting is always fun,” said no one ever.
Fights suck. Most of us wish we could avoid them altogether or, at the very least, stop them before they start. Well, there are a few tips and tricks you can use in your relationship that just might help with that. Keep reading to learn how you can avoid your next big fight and turn it into an open talk with your spouse or significant other!
1 | Go for a run
Or walk depending on your general fitness level. Basically, when you’re mad, you’re going to have stored up energy and you’re going to need to do something with that stored up energy. Here, everyone comes to a crossroads where they must decide to use that harbored energy food good or for evil. What will you choose? When you feel like doing rather than thinking rationally (because who wants to do that when they’re mad??) going for a run can be a great and healthy way to take action without doing something negative your relationship. Running (and exercise in general) also produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. So chances are, you’ll return from your run with a somewhat lifted mood, feeling better about yourself as a person because, hey, you just went on a run(!), and you may have forgotten or at least cooled down about what made you so irritated in the first place. Win Win Win.
2 | Tell the other person where you think they’re right
There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling strongly about something and having your spouse or significant other (seemingly) completely disagree with you and refuse to see your point of view. Well, that might not actually be the case, even if it really feels like it. Try to remember, the next time you and your love start to disagree, to tell them certain aspects of their thoughts you do agree with. And then go ahead and (kindly, always kindly) tell them what you don’t exactly agree with, and why. The why here is important. I mean, if we have any kind of opinion worth arguing over, we need to be able to back it up with some kind of why, but more than that- explaining why we believe what we believe will help the other person to see our point of view, where we got our beliefs, and at the very least, help them agree to disagree if not agree completely. Which brings me to my next point.
3 | Ask questions
I was going to name this point “listen” but I didn’t because I sometimes think that we, as a society as a whole, are just crappy listeners. We think we listen, but really we’re just thinking of our next argument or point or simply internally rolling our eyes while we wait for our spouse or significant other to be done talking. Stop that! (Pointing to myself as well here) How rude! If you knew that your spouse was internally rolling his or her eyes at you, you would probably walk out of the room right then and there. I know I’d want to.
We need to become ACTIVE listeners! That means that we need to WANT to understand our spouse and how they feel and why they think the way they do. We want that, everyone wants that- everyone wants to be understood by at least their spouse. Otherwise, life can start to feel pretty lonely. Start by asking questions. Get your spouse to expand on why they feel the way they feel or believe certain things. Even if you don’t say as much, make them understand that they are in a safe place when they talk with you. Which leads me to my next point.
4 | Always always show respect
Respect is a toughy. Because we often feel as though respect needs to be earned and- like trust, it’s easy to lose are very hard to earn. If you feel like you don’t respect your spouse, try to imagine how hard it would be for them to feel close to you, even if they wanted to. A marriage or relationship without respect is filled with fear, angst, competition, and bitterness. And if the bitterness festers long enough, it’ll sure as anything turn into hatred- you wait and see. Respect is crucial to fostering a healthy, open, and honest relationship. If we start to show disrespect to our spouse, and then later wish to be close and open with them, it will be very hard for them to trust us enough to be open again. Keep the lines of communication open and flowing by always showing respect to your spouse, whether you think they deserve it or not. Just like love, it’s needed for a relationship to thrive and should not be dependant on either spouse’s merit. Read this book (I HIGHLY recommend: Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
5 | Go for a walk together outside
If you’re feeling like it’s time for a talk and it could get heated, sometimes a walk-talk outside can do wonders to steer a conversation in the best direction. I’m not sure why this is, maybe it’s the fresh air or the sound of birds chirping or remembering being more carefree when we were younger, but Josh and I always have the best conversations outside! So much so that we make a point to get outside and have a good conversation about once a week because we both can see how much of a difference it makes!
6 | Remind them you’re on their side
Sometimes when you’re fighting with a spouse or significant other, it can feel like they’re the enemy. Sooner rather than later, just remind them that you love them and you’re on their side even if you don’t agree. Agreeing to disagree is alright here and there, even in really close relationships as long as there’s mutual respect and the disagreement isn’t something that fundamentally goes against your belief system. If it does, you’re probably going to need to take several more walks outside or invite a counselor on your walks…
7 | Simply ask to not fight
So crazy it just miiiight work…..
Seriously though. I’ll be the first to tell you that sometimes- this actually works. Josh and I are- let’s call it “passionate-” and if we strongly disagree on something, we’ll probably have an argument about it. We’re at the point in our marriage where we’ve learned a lot about the art of “ “fighting” and we can “fight” fairly often without actually getting mad or even annoyed with the other person. But when we feel like the disagreement might be headed that direction, sometimes one of us will say, “I really don’t want this to turn into a fight” or, “Let’s try not to fight about this” and, of course, not fighting usually sounds pretty good to the other spouse, so we agree, “Ok, let’s chill for a sec before this gets more heated.” After that, sometimes we go on talking about the issue, both intentionally remembering to stay calm, open-minded, and more light-hearted, or… we decide to let the conversation go altogether. Chances are, it’s not worth getting in a fight over anyway and we can just move on to keep the peace. You’ll have to use this with caution in your own relationship. If you and your spouse have a tendency to sweep things under the rug and hope it goes away in a few days, then this phrase might do more harm than good. But if you’re like us where you literally get in a discussion about everything and could use a chill pill, then yes, this phrase may be for you.
8 | Move closer
You wanna know the science behind this one? Basically, if you’re closer to your spouse/significant other, you’re more likely to keep your voice down and not yell from across the room, which would probably make you sound angry even if you’re really not. So, try to move closer to your spouse. Worst case scenario, you’re closer to your spouse. Best case, maybe you get a hug out of it! Which brings me to my last (sub)point.
8.1 | Give a little touch
Now, you’re going to have to feel this one out. If you feel like your spouse is starting to get irritated for some reason, a touch might just send them over the edge. But it could very much remind them that you care and that, even though you may be disagreeing, you’re on the same team and care more about each other than about the issue.
What are your tips for stopping a fight in its tracks? Have you ever tried something, hoping it would help quell a fight, and had it blow up in your face? Leave your comments below and share which point was your fave!