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finding meaning in the mundane

3 Steps to Have Better Fights With Your Spouse

Marriage, Fights,

Before you were married, did you think that you would ever fight with your future spouse? I didn’t. I thought that everyday I would be greeted by rainbows and butterflies. I thought that those birds from Mary Poppins would fly to my window and wake me up with their merry little song. Then after a homemade breakfast I would ride into work on the back of a unicorn.

I was living in a fantasy world.

Every married couple will experience times in their relationship when they do not agree, and will display their disagreement passionately. Let’s just call it what it is- every married couple will fight. I used to work with a guy who could barely say that he and his wife would fight. The word fight just sounded so harsh to him. Let’s just do ourselves a favor and call it what it is.

The first fight that I can remember having with my wife Tiffany was in the middle of Shop Rite over what kind of ‘taco family’ we would be- soft shell or hard shell taco’s. You think I’m kidding. I’m not. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. She wanted hard shells because that’s all she ever had growing up, and I of course wanted the opposite for the same reasons as her.

Normal people will experience disruptions in their relationships. How we deal with those disruptions is the question.

When you get into these heated disagreements, you can do three things to get to the other side of that disagreement.

1. Disarm

The best thing that you can do when you feel the conversation getting a bit more heated is to disarm it-take the pot off the heat before it boils over. This is when you need to quickly clarify the situation. Clearly the other person thinks that you have done, thought, or said something. Here is where you put a stop to that thought, and quickly.

2. Define

In the midst of a fight, words can often fall out of your mouth that you never would have let slip when your emotions are a bit more calm. Heated arguments often remove the filter that we have over our tongue. One of the most helpful things you can do is to define the situation. You can do this quickly and easily by saying something like, “What I hear you saying is _________”. Or by asking a simple question, “What do you mean when you say ____________?” “Help me understand where you are coming from.” Understanding the heart of the issue helps you find a resolution to it.

3. Dig-in

Any relationship that is worth having is worth fighting for; even in the midst of your most difficult conflict. After you have disarmed the situation, and defined what you are fighting about, it is time to do the dirty work of figuring out why each other is feeling the way that you are. Take a deep breath, sit down, relax your shoulders, and begin to discuss why you are where you are. Keep asking why—eventually you will get to the bottom of it.

Just because you have a fight doesn’t mean that you are the worst couple in the world. No! Normal people have disagreements. Maybe your parents portrayed that they were the perfect couple who never fought. I promise you they did, just not in front of you. Everyone disagrees at some point in time. Do yourself a favor, commit to working it through before you get to the place of disagreement. Decide ahead of time how you are going to function when the temperature gets hotter!

Guess what kind of taco household we are now! Leave it in the comments.

~Peter

3 Comments

  1. I hope the answer involves a hard shell enveloped with a soft shell with a thin layer of cheese or refried beans in the middle

  2. Great reminder! Thanks this came in handy today. I can totally see you arguing about tacos btw 🙂

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