Arguing and fighting with your spouse can seem like a never ending cycle. You spend hours yelling and being unkind to one another. After things calm down, you may go hours or even days without speaking. It’s no way to live and a loop you need to break.
You CAN break the argument cycle. It takes patience, self-reflection and humility. The next time you find yourself in what seems like an endless fight, try this simple three-step process.
- Call a Time Out
Don’t allow yourself to become stuck in an argument. Take a break. You might even give a hand signal to your partner indicating you need a time out. A visual gesture is a signal to your partner’s brain that something is different.
After you’ve called the time out, leave the room and go somewhere quiet where you can think and reflect.
- Identify Your Feelings and Feel Them
Stepping away from the argument is not time to watch TV or scroll Facebook. It’s time to deal with yourself and seek clarity about your feelings. Specifically, you need to identify your feelings and determine what’s triggering them.
On the surface, you’ll probably feel anger, but if you look deeper, you’ll probably identify other emotions. Fear? Anxiety?
Spend some time meditating or quietly thinking. Reflect on how you’re feeling. Once you’ve identified your emotions, you can investigate what’s causing you to feel this way. Is it something from your past making you feel vulnerable? Are you equating your partner’s behavior with a particularly negative experience in your life?
When you clearly know what’s triggering your behavior, it’s time to move to the last step.
Here is a simple and free mediation you can download to calm down during your next fight or rupture.
- Return Quickly and Repair
Tell your partner you’re ready to talk. If he or she isn’t ready, suggest a time when the two of you can reconvene. Instead of blaming your partner, talk about your feelings and what specifically caused you to become triggered. Explain what behavior or circumstance led you to react in such a negative way. But don’t place any blame on your partner. Make sure he or she understands that you recognize this trigger is yours to overcome. Make it a point to tell him or her that you’re working to improve your reaction.
Here’s a very thorough, and more detailed explanation, on how to repair.
If fighting and arguing are causing problems in your marriage, let us help. It’s a fantasy to think that fighting will somehow never happen if you meet the right person or find the one. Instead of that magical thinking, invest in learning how to work through conflict.
Take our virtual workshop on conflict here. Or hire a certified coach to help you stop the argument cycle and get the kind of relationship you’ve always wanted.