When a couple tells me, "We have the perfect marriage and never fight," I think to myself, "You must be living in different centuries and on different planets from one another." There's going to be friction in every marriage-it's only normal. The question is, how are you going to handle it?
Here are my five tips:
- Think of an argument as a win-win. When most people fight, their endgame is to win. However, the purpose of having an argument is not winning – it's resolving conflict effectively.
- Don't hit below the belt. Arguing is not a justification to be mean. When you're married, you have intimate knowledge of each other's deepest sensitivities and vulnerabilities. Never use these as weapons to win an argument. Don't bring up things like "your parents," "your childhood," "that time you___," etc. You took vows to honor and cherish, so don't intentionally try to hurt your spouse.
- Keep on point. Deal with only one issue at a time (which also means, don't wait until there are eight before you say something).
- Take a break. When you're an inch away from exploding, say, "You know what, I'm nuts right now, and I don't want to say anything stupid. Let's take this up in a half hour." Remember, some things, which when said, can never be taken back.
- When the fight is over, make up. Do something nice for each other. Compliment each other.
Above all, keep in mind that your beloved is not the enemy. You may not feel very loving at the moment, but it doesn't mean you don't love them.