I had a potential client call this week to seek couples counseling.
This person asked for my recommendation on how he and his partner could stop every fights. He really wanted support on finding a way to eliminate or decrease the small fights and conflicts that lead to bigger issues.
After the conversation, I had an Aha! Moment.
I started to think and really consider what are awesome tools for couples to use on their own to stop every fights.
2 ways to stop every day fights with your spouse
Be willing to tell each other what you want
At times in your relationship you may face a conflict or simply feel that its better to “not tell your partner or spouse what you want from them”. You may feel that by not telling them your needs, you are not annoying or “nagging”. In addition, you may also feel that if you say what you want, it’ll be different because you are telling them what to do.
I support couples each and everyday. As a couples expert, I can tell you that you need to communicate with your spouse and let them know what it is you want. By educating your spouse on your needs, you are able to:
- Strengthen the relationship.
- Focus on improving the relationship.
- Learn from each other.
- Help each other grow and change together.
To quote the movie my wife and I watched on our first date
Don’t go to bed angry
Often this is one of the most difficult tasks for partners to overcome. I want to encourage you to communicate with your spouse if you are angry, upset or frustrated with something they did. Before discussing the topic, try to structure it with the following steps:
Step 1: Ask your spouse if both of you can have a conversation about something that happened between the two of you. Tell your spouse that you do not want to go to bed angry and are willing to work on a solution.
Step 2: Tell your spouse that the conversation will take no more than 30 minutes regardless if it ends or not. (YES, regardless if it ends). The reason for this is simple.
When you and your spouse engage in the conversation it will allow both of you to share your feelings towards the experience. This is venting and a healthy release of feelings/emotions.
Once you meet the 30 min mark. STOP.
Thank your spouse for committing to the conversation and respecting you. Review that both of you have not finished the conversation and will return to it at a “specific time”. Discuss the specific time as if you are setting a date. Again, be sure to include the allocated time that will be spent on the discussion.
Step 3: Communicate with your spouse prior to engaging in the conversation that you understand if both of you are not able to achieve the same conclusion. Often, you and your spouse will disagree on certain topics. IT IS OKAY. The important thing is that both of you are able to respect each others opinions and feelings.
Step 4: Have a code word that means two things. Early we discussed in STEP 2 that there may be a second date scheduled for continuing the conversation. The code word is used for two things:
To stop the conversation when things are heated and nonproductive.
To continue the conversation at the later scheduled time.
Appreciate each other daily
Take time each and every day to comment on at least one positive thing your significant other has done. Invest energy into how it makes you feel and how it impacts the relationship.
Ways to make it easy:
- Add phone reminders each day to help you remember to send positive feedback.
- Schedule a time each day. Maybe at night prior to turning on the television as your time to communicate “praise”.
One thing I do with my wife, Elizabeth, is add a reminder on my Calendar app. I honestly do not have the best memory and I am open to tell you that life gets busy. Work, family, and the demands of a 2-year-old are a full time schedule. On my phone, I have a friendly reminder that vibrates each day, at the same time. The friendly reminder tells me “tell your wife that you appreciate her”.
I want to encourage you to be creative and willing to allow yourself to receive support.
By not going to bed angry and appreciating your spouse each day, you are directly working on “not fighting each day”. These two strategies discussed promote connection, communication, appreciation, and understanding in your relationship.
Relationships are not always easy.
You and your spouse can make relationships easy.
cover image by mike giles; kate;