I was about to write: my husband and I never argue, but that isn’t really true. Like all normal human beings we sometimes argue, but it is soon over and done with, it happens rarely, and it is never ever out of hand. It is also, by the by, usually about his mother!
We have been married 34 years – a tad more. Here are the tips I have picked up over time, not because we argue but precisely because we don’t.
- decide in advance. Almost like a recipe, write it down so that you both agree and neither of you can deny it later. These are the things that are guaranteed to drive me mad. These are the things that are important to me. Where you cannot agree on the ingredient (for the recipe, so to speak) examine whether or not it is reasonable and what to do about it.
- decide in advance what you are going to do. Write down (it is better to write it down if you argue regularly so that you can point to it and say look, we agreed that we would never mention that again!) Set out the rules, e.g the following:-
- have a cushion. Or a jar, or whatever. Whoever is holding the cushion speaks. They are allowed to “hold the floor” for up to 3 minutes and after that they have to hand the cushion over to the other person to speak.
This technique forces the other person to LISTEN. It is way too easy to interrupt when somebody is trying to make a point (“that’s not true! You said it was the dog!”) The three minutes of listening also gives time to breathe deeply, decide to be calm, think of what you are going to reply …
- speak calmly. And check the expression on your face. An angry expression only makes everything worse.
- check the level of your voice too, and your body language.
- never ever use foul language. People who resort to calling their loved ones foul names are the pits. You can never take it back and no amount of “sorry” is going to wipe it out.
- Let go! For goodness’ sake let go of the argument. Is it in fact so so important ?! Does it really really matter that you “win” ? Shut up! Just leave it be.
- never argue (or even discuss) in the evenings. Emotions always run higher in the evening/at night, especially if you have had a drink.
- never argue (or even discuss) in bed. That is a special place where you love and it must be sacred to that.
- if it is still important in the morning, discuss it then. Chances are it won’t matter at all by morning. It may even seem very silly!
- never try to reason with somebody who is drunk. A drunk person is temporarily mentally handicapped.
- remember who you are dealing with. This is somebody you love, for pity’s sake. S/he loves you! This is not the enemy. This is not a fight, nor a competition.
- count to 10 before you even begin. Seriously, it is amazing how after just 10 seconds you can calm down. If not, go for a walk or in to a different room. And tell each other that this is what you will be doing so that it doesn’t seem that you are stomping out. Write it on your list.
- and take a few moments before you answer. Think. Is this worth persuing ? Would it be better to simply say “oh, really? Did I? Sorry about that, I hadn’t taken it on board somehow…”
- if it helps, know that when you are angry you look very ugly! Most people would be shocked if they knew what they looked like.
- remember! That awful argument was because you once again forgot to put the bins out. You promised that this evening you were taking Freddy to football. You agreed that your mother didn’t have to come over every single bloomin’ Sunday! Remember it! Actually I’d say that this is what most women get cross about – their husbands/partners quite simply forget.
- if it is over 7 days old do not argue about it. That is just silly. If it is something very important that happened over 7 days ago it should be something that gets discussed – not argued over.
- concentrate on what is going to end the argument rather than on proving your point. As the years go by you learn to side-step each other’s irritations anyway, so learn now.
- the key to a happy marriage is that you do everything s/he wants and s/he does everything you want! Why do something you know in advance is going to upset him/her ?
So many arguments are over the silliest things. I remember arguing with my husband over a fire poker. Quite recently actually. What a stupid thing to argue over.
And remember that men and women are wired-up totally differently. They handle things differently. You cannot expect each other to understand every time, because your partner’s brain is not wired the way yours is. So let it be. Peace.
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. Her books are available from Amazon/Kindle or can be ordered from most leading book stores and libraries. They can also be purchased as e-books from this site (£1.99):-
https://payhip.com/b/tEva “A Call from France”
https://payhip.com/b/OTiQ ”French Sand”
https://payhip.com/b/BLkF “The Man with Green Fingers”
https://payhip.com/b/1Ghq “Saying Nothing”
A very good book, even if you don’t argue:-
- See more at: http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk/blog/how-to-avoid-arguments-how-to-deal-with-arguments/#sthash.6bQEEelm.dpuf