“Every couple gets stuck in arguments from time to time -even for extended periods. But happy couples know that sometimes they have to disengage from the fight and find little ways to remind each other of their love for each other BEFORE re-engaging the discussion. While struggling couples either adopt a “fight till we die” approach or simply give up the fight from exhaustion, happier couples adopt a pattern that allows them to alternate between arguing, intentionally stepping away to build rapport, and then re-engaging the discussion from a more secure base. If you’re going through a rough patch, don’t stop talking about it altogether, but take breaks where you intentionally choose to do little things that remind each other that you relationship – and your commitment to loving each other – is bigger than this present problem.”
So I loved this because I have seen it help my own marriage. The fight till you die approach is likely to bring out words you wish you never said. It is also likely to sew real resentment because a prolonged fight tends to push us deeper into our own entrenched positions or feelings.
Look, disengaging is not magic. You still walk around for a period of time ( a day, two days, three days) feeling yucky, mad, hurt. BUT if during that time, you intentionally do little, nice things for your spouse, you begin to see your spouse differently. If you think about loving your spouse, your commitment to loving your spouse, and understanding that we are all imperfect including YOU – you will want to do those nice things. It’s not that the argument goes away. But you hopefully return to the argument a bit differently. Realize this might take 2 or 3 attempts – so get prepared. This is your spouse, after all – that person who you committed to LOVE in good and bad. And when you love – especially through little things – that love pushes away and drowns out the negativity.
Try going out on a date too. I know…that sounds hard in the state of mind you are in. Having a cocktail or two does help. But go out and stop talking about things that rile you guys up. Look nice, smell good, and be determined (it’s all an act of the will!) to smile and make your spouse laugh. No criticizing, no sarcasm, no jokes aimed to jab your spouse. Be in the moment and enjoy it…the beach is always beautiful at sunset….if you both are physically fit, take a run together and then go grab a bite; find a spot to eat or have a drink that is new. Sit at the bar if that is what you guys enjoy. Just get out in the world together and leave all the yuck behind for a couple of hours.
I would add here that in addition to doing little nice things for your spouse, you get down on your knees and pray. Put your need and your spouse’s need (from the argument) at the feet of Christ. Ask Him to take it… to help you see your own desires correctly…for assistance and courage to speak what might need to be said..with love!… and to ask Him for His love to love your spouse. Remember, your marriage is not just you and your spouse. God is the third person in it. Let Him be in it by asking His assistance. He never ever does not hear your prayer. He always answers. ALWAYS. And recall that if we, who are sinful, can give good things to our children, imagine how much more our Heavenly Father gives to us of the Holy Spirit if we but ask. So ASK!
And give him/her a kiss before you go to bed. My hubby always does that for me. Always. I wish I could say I am the one who does it. It’s him. I love him for it. I mean…I love him for it. A lot.