This applies to couples married or not. Fighting is a part of being in a relationship and it will happen. If it is not happening, chances are you aren’t communicating. The good thing about fighting, is at least your talking. Jake and I really didn’t fight for a while. Partly, because the honeymoon stage is so blinding that you really don’t get mad. Give it a year, things you never noticed before, start to appear what feels like overnight. But really, it is just the chemicals making you feel so head over heels in blind love wore off, and you are now creating bonds that will last much longer. This is a pretty natural progression and confrontation or disagreements should not make you feel like your relationship is less than. The picture below is funny to me because right before this “photo shoot” for lack of better term, we got in a fight. We were fighting all the way there. I was so stressed about what I was wearing and we were late and it wasn’t even a fight about anything. We ended up having a blast taking them, but everybody fights in relationships. We are human.
In Jake and I’s relationship, as well as many others, there are many couples that when they fight one person wants resolution and is never afraid to voice how they are feeling and the other person wants to keep the peace and run from confrontation. I work off of this perspective and our relationship. I need resolution immediately! Jake wants to think for a while and not talk about it or just wants to say ya okay your right and get it over with. These rules have helped me regulate my need for resolution so that he can speak, and him feel able to speak up so that we can resolve it.
RULE #1: Set ground rules.
Many times when there is one person who flees confrontation this can be helped if there are rules in place. Ask them if there is something you do when you fight with eachother that makes them feel like shutting down. This could be anything, from raising your voice, to attacking them verbally, to cussing. For us, it is raising my voice. I grew up in a passionate and loud family. Jake grew up pretty opposite. NO one ever yelled about anything. He was also in the military and was yelled at all the time and he just learned basically to block it out. I know, if I raise my voice, I am going to lose his participation in our arguments. So I refrain from raising my voice as best I can. This really helps him be able to verbalize the way he feels and me be able to hear him. Setting the ground rule can be a game changer if you are in a similar dynamic in your relationship. Communication in a marriage or relationship is a two way street and both people need to be able to speak and both people need to sit back and listen. Set your ground rules and do your best to respect them.
Rule #2: Remember you are on the same team!
You love eachother! That is why you are here. If someone wins you both have lost. You may not be on the same side of an argument but your significant other is not your enemy. So don’t treat them like one. We all have a tendency to hurt the ones closest to us the most. Be kind in how you speak, be constructive and listen. Remember you are problem solving and not trying to win.
If you are someone who needs to take time to gather your thoughts and your spouse wants resolution right this second, this strategy can be your best friend. One of my favorite things about Jake is he is very careful about things that he says to me. I have learned so much about thinking before I speak and how much words can do damage in a relationship. I love that he thinks before he speaks, but I WANT RESOLUTION. So, a strategy that can be helpful is for the one who needs time to think to say give me 10 minutes, an hour, a few hours and then let’s talk. This cannot be an ambiguous amount of time. A time-frame needs to be established so that the resolution seeker feels that you are respecting their need for resolution. Once it is established, make sure to abide by it. Do your thinking, gather your thoughts and revisit it when you say you will. NO longer than one day. On the flip side, the resolution seeker must respect the amount of time set. You will get a better answer and better communication from your significant other if they are able to take the time they need.
Rule #4: Sleep on it.
You may have been buying what I am selling right until this moment. Now, you are like no way. I do not go to bed angry. Not a freaking chance. Everyone says don’t go to bed angry. I GET IT. I am right there with you. I have a hard time sleeping if I am upset, but sometimes it can be helpful. Late at night when you are tired is probably not the most functional time for both you. You are more than likely not thinking as clearly, and drained from the day. If you sleep on it, you will be able to cool off and wake up clear minded. Many times, whatever you were upset about will be able to be resolved much more easily.
Thank you for reading and I hope that some of these “Rules” can help you and your significant other communicate better. Jake and I are so far from perfecting any of these and work on our relationship constantly. We are not experts with any training and this is just what we have learned so far. I hope they help and would love to get feedback. Thanks for reading:)