Stop Fighting With Vinegar! (Use Some “Honey” Instead)
Couples bicker. If you’re “normal” and are from this planet, you will argue, fight, and have disagreements with your partner. If you don’t think so, you’re delusional.
Even the most blissfully happy marriages have run-ins.
If yours doesn’t, one of you is either giving in all the time, compromising too much, saying whatever you think you need to say to keep the peace, or hiding something – like your true feelings, for starters.
Are you perfect or infallible? Is your spouse? I didn’t think so. So don’t think there’s something wrong with your relationship or that your marriage is coming to an end when experiencing “rough air.”
Think about it, two imperfect people who live in close quarters and spend loads of time with each other are bound to have run-ins and get angry.
But healthy couples know something unhappy ones don’t: They don’t let things get ugly. That’s the trick.
Things get ugly when you use harsh words and make stinging accusations because you’re mad. But just because you’re angry at your spouse doesn’t mean they deserve to be your punching bag so you can vent your frustrations.
You cause emotional and mental wounds that create distance when you tear into your spouse and brutalize their feelings. And saying something like, “I’m not responsible for how you feel,” is an arrogant cop-out.
The Bible says the tongue has the power to take life and give life.
You can fight and argue without hurting each other. A loving husband and wife weigh their words, so they don’t wound their partner.
You can “fight” with kindness, or you can be mean.
You must be open and honest with each other for the relationship to grow, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it; there’s a loving way and a mean way.
How to Be “Lovingly” Angry wіth Yоur Spouse
Tape Your Mouth, Figuratively Speaking
You’re an adult; you can control your feelings.
You probably wouldn’t yell or throw things at your boss when they make you mad; you’d strive to be on your best behavior.
Your spouse deserves your best, too – even better than how you treat your boss. They’re giving you something more important than a paycheck; they’ve given you their heart. So protect it.
Erupt Somewhere Else
Just because you both said “I do” and are “stuck” with each other until “death do us part” doesn’t mean you’re free to be hateful.
If anyone deserves your absolute best when you’re angry, it’s your spouse.
Raising your voice and engaging your spouse with insulting words and angry body language makes things go south fast.
If things get out of control, take a timeout to go “erupt” somewhere else and cool off.
During your timeout, do something active like going to the gym to redirect your energy or do some deep breathing to calm your thoughts; a calm mind is a clear mind. Get clear on the real issue so you can communicate in a calm, honorable manner.
A timeout makes it possible to discuss what’s troubling you and explore ways to resolve the issue.
Stop With The Cold Shoulder Nonsense
The silent treatment is childish, manipulative, and passive-aggressive.
Some people use the silent treatment to make things go away. Others use it to control and manipulate a situation. Still, others use it to punish their partner emotionally.
The only thing the silent treatment does is sever the lines of communication, which worsens the situation and damages the relationship.
The silent treatment creates emotional distance. If it goes on long enough, it will create physical distance too. It can even lead to emotional or physical infidelity and divorce.
No relationship can survive an ongoing “cold war,” which is exactly what the silent treatment is, whether in withholding words or affection.
Face the issue
Don’t erupt like Vesuvius or be cold like an iceberg; face the issue.
Do your best to think about the issue from your spouse’s perspective – put yourself in their shoes. At the very least, be a grown-up about it and realize that they, even if you disagree with them, deserve the courtesy and respect of being heard.
Please, Not in Public
If you’re in public or with friends or family when an argument flares up, cease fire immediately.
Don’t let your lives be a “reality TV” episode for people’s entertainment. Nor do you want friends or family to make things worse by sticking their noses in your business; don’t give people a chance o give their unsolicited two cents.
Your arguments, fights, and disagreements are a private matter between you and your spouse only (or a therapist).
The most important thing is for you and your spouse to have each other’s backs – to be loyal and present a united front. Seal your relationship shut against unhealthy meddling and outside influences.
Don’t air your dirty laundry in public because it’s demeaning to you and can be embarrassing to others.
And another thing, when you fight in public, people tend to take sides, which can make you or your spouse feel attacked and ganged up on, leaving you feeling even more hurt, humiliated, defensive, and isolated.
No one wants to feel like the bad guy. Besides, people who eavesdrop don’t have all the facts; they don’t know what they don’t know, and it’s none of their business anyway.
Agree calmly to address the issue privately to avoid a big fight and an awkward situation.
Stop Clobbering Them Over The Head With Their Past “Whatevers”
If something is upsetting you, share it but stick to the facts at hand, as you see them.
Don’t bring old fights into this one.
If there’s an unresolved issue in your relationship from the past, deal with it separately. Some spouses jump from one grievance to another during a fight like a rabbit hopping around a field.
Keep your attention and focus on the current situation.
Deal with any other unresolved matters at a more appropriate time. If there are many, consider getting a counselor to process past issues in a way that strengthens and benefits your marriage instead of eroding your relationship by rehashing stuff all the time.
Lose the Micro-Aggression and Criticism
Some spouses are too hurtful and free with their criticism.
Seriously, some spouses say things to their partners like, “You’re stupid!” or “Yоu’rе а slob” оr “You’re lazy! or “You’ll never amount to anything!” or “Why can’t you ever get it right the first time!?”
Maybe their remarks aren’t so pointed or hurtful but are thinly veiled criticisms. A dig is a dig.
Cutting your significant other down to size makes them feel insignificant. Is that what you want?
A spouse can only take so much belittling, berating, and criticism before they check out and leave the relationship. Maybe they won’t leave physically, but they’ll undoubtedly leave emotionally.
If you love your spouse, be careful with what you say.
You can be honest about your feelings and concerns or some unacceptable habit or behavior that you don’t appreciate without being mean; you can be kind and caring while being tactful and direct.
Give Them A Chance
Give your spouse some credit – perhaps they will pleasantly surprise you by making some changes because they love you and care about your happiness and peace.
Evеrу relationship handles arguments and fights differently.
But уоu саn spare yourselves so much pain and unnecessary hurt by avoiding ugliness in fights and losing the spiteful attitude and cutting words.
The spirit within which you handle disagreements makes ALL the difference in maintaining a healthy and happy marriage.
It’s easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar! It’s easier to argue in a marriage when you’re being respectful, polite, and loving instead of rude, mean, and critical.
You chose to marry your spouse for a reason – because life together was happier and more satisfying together than apart. Strive to keep things that way so you can be madly in love for the rest of your lives by using more honey than vinegar when you fight.