The first thing you need to know is that conflict is inevitable—so you might as well learn to deal with it and become excellent at resolving it.
The next thing you need to know is “Hangry” is real—you know that cranky feeling you get when you haven’t eaten and you are crabby about everything? I would also like to suggest that “Slangry” is real –it’s the cranky that comes from being sleep deprived.
Quite simply most couples who generally get along but are starting to snipe and snap at each other usually need to stop talking and get something to eat and a good night’s sleep! Don’t continue discussing important issues when you are hangry or slangry!!
I’ve known couples that had the mistaken idea that 2 people deeply in love would never strongly disagree. And then when conflict inevitably comes they end up overly freaking out–thinking that something must be terribly wrong with their relationship and that they must not be right for each other. Or sometimes one person in the couple has a fear of conflict and just shuts down letting the other person make all the decisions, which seems fine for the moment but ends up causing resentment in the long run.
The reality is you are 2 people with 2 minds and even if you are super compatible you likely do not process information in the same way.
The best thing you can do for your relationship is to get use to the idea that disagreeing and conflict is a part of life and learn to communicate your deferring ideas in a calm and kind manner. Here are a few rules I suggest you two agree on before the next disagreement pops up.
How to Fight Fair – 8 Simple Tips for Fair Fighting
- Use a kind tone when speaking – it‘s easier for the other person to hear you when they are not feeling yelled at.
- Avoid sarcasm – it’s actually mean and not productive
- Don’t call each other names – that’s also mean and unproductive–besides that, a week from now you might have forgotten what issue you are fighting about but you will probably remember the name you got called.
- Wait until the other person is done talking before you talk – it’s a lot easier to remain calm if you feel like you are being listened to—being heard is a good step toward resolving an issue.
- Agree that it’s okay for either one of you to take a time out – If you find that your emotions are getting too intense then take a 10-minute time out. Agree to go into separate rooms or separate areas where you can calm down—try to breathe deeply, relax and pray rather than continue to rehearse all the things you want to say. Come back after 10 minutes and hear the other person out.
- When you find yourself getting angry ask yourself this question: “What am I afraid of right now?” It could be that you are afraid that your spouse doesn’t respect you or that what you want to happen isn’t going to happen. Learn how to say what you think or feel instead of attacking your mate’s behavior: “I feel angry when you interrupt me because I am afraid that you don’t respect me.”
- When you are a couple – fighting to win an argument is destructive to the relationship. I like to think of it as if my husband and I are a team—I don’t want to fight against my own team. Instead, I want to fight my own selfish impulses to be right and concentrate on understanding my spouse’s point of view. Once I understand his point of view, I might still disagree with him but I can at least understand where he is coming from and present my point of view for him to consider. When you are both feeling understood it is easier to come to an agreement on what to do next.
- Don’t start discussions about heavy issues late at night– decide now, what should be your cutoff time for heavy topics? Then be mindful—if 9pm is your cut off time don’t bring up sensitive issues at 9:10pm. Protect your night times! If a disagreement pops up late at night – kiss each other goodnight and agree to talk about it a specific time the next day. It’s amazing how after a good night’s sleep you can take care of issues more quickly than staying up all night arguing about them!
Fight smarter not harder! Remember to keep it simple, sweetie!
All the best,