Dealing With Marital Confrontations
By Randi Morse
A few short days ago my husband and I had a huge fight. It was an epic blowout which ended with my husband sleeping on the couch. The thing is, we weren't arguing over any sort of indiscretion or lying, we were arguing about how to raise our daughter. We're not alone. The majority of arguments between couples happen due to things like financial issues or how the children will be raised. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it's arguments like the one we had which can end a couple. When you get into a huge argument like we did, how do you resolve it without anyone having hard feelings?
My husband isn't the best at verbalizing, well, anything. He has a way of speaking that can sometimes come out garbled and confusing. This gets amplified when he's upset. In his mind, he's making absolute sense. When we get into big arguments he'll occasionally say something that I feel is insulting to me. In his mind, it wasn't insulting. When you're in an argument with your partner, don't get too upset about something they've said until you're able to confirm what they meant.
This leads right into reframing. If your spouse says something negative during an argument, reframe the comment and state it back to them. A great example of this would be when your spouse says, "you're being so stupid about this situation." It would be easy to feel that they were calling you stupid, but that might not be what they meant. Reframe the statement by saying, "what I hear you saying is that you think I'm stupid." By reframing the question and clarifying what your spouse meant, you're allowing them a glimpse into your mind so that they can understand how you are perceiving their comments.
It's extremely easy to get sidetracked during an argument. I'd estimate that during our big blowout my husband and I got off track at least a half-dozen times. This can lead to bringing up old, already resolved arguments, or making you lose focus completely on the issue that started the conflict in the first place. If you find that your argument is getting off track, steer it back. "This isn't what we were talking about. Can we please get back to the situation we started with?" Keeping the disagreement focused will end the argument faster and will prevent either of you from rehashing old confrontations.
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