Everyone faces a battle in their relationships from time to time. Whether it’s a cold war or we are
shooting missiles at each other, you can improve your relationship quickly with
a few adjustments. Here are a couple of tips that will lead to better together time
instead of World War III:
#1 – Does it REALLY matter?
Does your argument
pass the five-year rule? Over my years of counseling I found many couples fight
over silly things. If you catch yourself fighting with your partner, ask the
question will this matter five years from now? If the answer is no, then why
are you fighting? Many times our arguments are simply an act of boredom. If you recognize the argument is silly it’s
much easier to stop.
#2 – Are You Angry or Just Tired?
Over 27 years of marriage my wife and I have realized that
many times we’re just fighting because one or both of us is tired. The easy
solution to this is to put off your argument until another time. We usually set
aside Saturday mornings at 10 AM for those arguments. I know many of you will
quote “don’t let the Sun go down on your anger”, but you miss the intention of
that. The idea is to have healthy relationship and sometimes that means
realizing you need to discuss this another time. I can’t tell you how many
times we decided to postpone our argument until Saturday, and when we get to
Saturday we can’t even remember what we were upset about. When we did have a discussion, we listened
better and came up with better solutions instead of just being angry. Another surefire way to keep your relationship
headed the right direction!
#3 Put Fires Out When They are Small.
Most wars are fought because little problems became big
problems. When my wife and I first married, we moved into an apartment complex with
a lot of newly married couples. A couple of weeks into our marriage I discovered
that my fiery Irish wife wanted to deal with problems directly. A few weeks
into our marriage, her frustration with my bone headed actions caused her to
raise her voice at me. Fearing embarrassment from the other newlyweds, I “shushed”
her. She pointed her finger back at me and said: “You need to learn how to
fight!” She was right! When I learned to
deal with our problems head on, we developed a healthy pattern of confronting
them. Trust me, every couple that’s together long enough will have a problem
that they need to discuss. By learning
to confront little problems before they become big issues, you will have a
happier and healthier relationship.
#4 It’s Good You Don’t Agree!
You are unique!
That’s a good thing! One
communication principle I teach is we “assume” others think like us. This is a
fatal mistake. People with healthy relationships have discovered that their
partner thinks differently than them. We know from research that men’s and
women’s brains are very different. We can solve problems in many different
ways. In a relationship it’s easy to
look at this as a problem but actually we were created to use this to make our
relationships better. Your partner thinks differently to help you think through
problems in a way that you might not think of. You truly gain great insight
from your partner when you ask them what they think about a particular problem.
Understanding that they think differently about it gives you new perspective
that many times leads to a better solution and a happier relationship.
#5 Is This About Them or You?
It’s not about you. Often in counseling I have had people
admit to me that they did not want to be right they just wanted to win. If you
are in a relationship and you just want to win you are not going to be in a
relationship for very long. Relationships are about sacrifice, commitment,
common ground, and putting someone else’s needs ahead of yours. Ultimately
fighting in a relationship is more about proving yourself right instead of
meeting the needs of your partner. I’m not saying you have to give in every
time, but don’t destroy the great thing you have together by being selfish and
inconsiderate. Your partner needs you to listen!
So which one of these tips does your relationship really
need right now? It’s amazing how one small adjustment in a relationship can
mean the difference between success and failure. The next time you find
yourself and your partner in World War III, realize you have the power to make
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