Coping With Different Fight Styles
Every married couple – no matter how well they communicate – will have relationship issues at some point in their marriage. However, every disagreement doesn’t have to turn into a fight. It is possible to diffuse an argument and literally stop a fight in its tracks.
How do you deal with fights in your marriage?
Married couples – and especially Christians- sometimes resort to unhealthy conflict resolution styles in an attempt to avoid fights and arguments. For instance, some people may yield or give up on an issue to avoid an argument. When this happens, the yielding party leaves the ‘ring’ feeling resentful while the other feels like a winner.
Other couples will simply refuse to talk about an issue. This is slightly different from yielding because this group doesn’t even begin the discussion. The parties may go into classic flight mode and storm out of the room choosing to spend their time and energy elsewhere. This makes room for undesirable behavior such as infidelity, workaholic tendencies and substance abuse.
Lastly, there are those who will stop at nothing to win a fight. They will use verbal, emotional or physical abuse and other underhanded tricks to win. This usually leaves the ‘loser’ feeling depressed and resentful and causes communication problems in the relationship.
If you recognize yourself in any of the above examples, it’s time to clean house and learn some healthy conflict resolution styles.
How to diffuse an argument
Take a break – This may sound cliché but taking a break to calm down is an extremely useful way of diffusing an argument. If you are feeling very angry, step out of the room and reconnect when you are calmer. Note that this is different from the flight response because here you actually inform your partner that you would like to take time to calm down before resuming the discussion as opposed to just storming out.
If you need to, sleep on it. Sleep clears your head and helps you to focus on the real relationship issues. The issues probably won’t seem as important the next morning.
Own up – If you did something to tick off your partner, own up. Let down your defenses and take responsibility for your part of the fight. This will go a long way in diffusing the situation.
Avoid the word ‘but’ – Whether you are owning up or acknowledging your partner’s position, do not use the word “but.” It is passive aggressive because it allows you to pretend to accept your partner’s position while still reaffirming your own.
Use your sense of humor – It is hard to be angry in a situation that you find funny. Finding humor in your relationship problems helps to diffuse the anger so that you can have a rational discussion.
Reconnect through touch – When all else fails to fix your relationship issues, simply hold your spouse tightly. This will help you to feel connected to your partner and remind you what’s important.