Every good and bad marriage has conflict. Couples who love their marriage and report being content are the same couples who argue well. Fighting fair and listening to one another are vital, but so is letting go, forgiving and choosing your battles wisely.
In the Washington Post recently, I found an article from a husband's perspective on how to prevent marital spats from ruining your marriage. The author made good points that we often times forget until we are in the middle of a no win squabble.
1. When possible before you go to bed make up…you'll sleep a lot better. Some arguments are, by their nature, two-day events if they begin late and one partner has to leave for work before the sun comes up. A good rule of thumb is to have a cut off time established in your marriage and not begin late night arguments when everyone is tired.
2. Moving forward. If one partner wakes up acting as if the argument never happened, instead of being angry, interpret their behavior as a willingness to forgive and forget.
3. Own your immature behavior. Self-awareness is a necessary part of a relationship and endearing. In marriage, your spouse will come to admire your willingness to recognize precisely when you have been/are being an idiot.
4. A win/win is the only way to end an argument (in marriage any point of view you fight to win, you'll celebrate alone). As the husband noted in his advice, "If you're going to get on in married life — if you're going to have sex ever — you've got to learn how to lose an argument. And to do that, you've got to learn how to be wrong."
5. Apologize: It's never too late to apologize.
One of the problems with arguments is newly married couples don't plan for or learn how to fight fair prior to marriage. They find themselves too emotionally invested in the argument to end it gracefully, solve the issue and/or spare each other's feelings. This leads to a faulty arguing style that continues on for years in your marriage. Below are a quick five rules for fighting fair that you would be wise to commit to memory prior to saying "I do."
1. Use I statements (in arguments you is a dirty word).
2. Listen; the more you listen the better it will end.
3. Make sure you understand each other's position; being able to repeat one's verbiage is not understanding.
4. Take a break from it.
5. Come up with a solution that works for both of you. Sometimes that means there is no solution. Agree to disagree.
Arguing is not a sign of a bad marriage unless the arguments become your marriage. –Mary Jo Rapini
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