Fights, arguments, anger, and frustration are common things that are bound to happen in any relationship, in fact it is said that non argument can be a sign of unhealthy, secretive relationship. But sometimes in an argument we tend to loose the control we have and behave in a disrespectful, toxic way which we later repent.
That is the time when you should stay calm and control your anger. However, there are some ways to stay calm that lead to a productive argument.
Knowing how to stay calm during an argument with your spouse might be just the key to marital happiness.
I mean, how many of us have been in a knock-down drag-out with our spouse that got us absolutely nowhere? Both of us yelling and screaming and throwing out accusations and blame.
How productive do you find those fights? Not at all, I am guessing. How do they work for your marriage? Not well, I am guessing.
There are ways to stay calm during an argument with your spouse. Knowing them, and putting them into action, will help your arguments be more productive and hopefully prevent you needing to hash things out over and over and over.
Here are my 5 tried and true ways to stay calm during an argument with your spouse.
1. Take deep breaths.
I know that this seems like a cliché but taking deep breaths is an essential part of managing any stressful situation.
When we are stressed out, our body goes into fight or flight mode. When that happens, our blood goes to our adrenal system, away from our brain, and our ability to think clearly is clouded.
To counteract this cloudiness, take a deep breath. Taking a deep breath will bring some of that blood back to your brain, allowing you to think more clearly and to stay calm.
As an example, picture yourself on the highway, trying to pass a tractor trailer. I am guessing that you, like me, are gripping onto the steering wheel for dear life, holding your breath as you do so.
I have discovered that, if I take a deep breath as I pass, my heart stops pounding and I loosen the grip on the wheel and sail by the truck unscathed. Try it – you will see what I mean. So, as you work to stay calm during an argument with your spouse, remember to take deep breaths. It will make a huge difference.
2. Step back but don’t storm out.
A friend of mine once told me that before I react to something that someone has done to me, take 2 hours and see if it is still an issue. If you find that it still is, talk to them about it. And if you do, I am guessing that you will find yourself calmer than you might have if you had gotten into it right away.
Sometimes it’s impossible to take 2 hours before you address an issue with your spouse but the key here is to take a step back to calm down and to reassess. I don’t mean to storm off in a huff but to pause, go walk the dog and consider next steps.
Does the issue warrant a huge fight? What is your role in all of this? Will having a knock down drag out really change anything or would a conversation be more productive?
Yesterday I was a furious at my step-father’s new girlfriend for throwing away my mom’s stuff. I reached for the phone to rip her a new one. But then I told myself to pause, finish what I was doing, and then see if I wanted to reach out.
2 hours later I was able to craft a text message that addressed my issues briefly and succinctly. I was able to walk away from the issue knowing that I had kept my calm and reminded her that she violated an existing agreement that she wouldn’t throw my mom’s things away.
So, take some time before you flip out. You will be happy you did.
3. Don’t take things personally.
For many of us, when we are having an argument with our spouse, we tend to take what they are saying personally, as if their words were a personal attack on who we are as a person. And when we are attacked, we tend to go on the defensive and lose our cool. No one wants to be attacked as a person, after all.
I have a client who, every time she and her spouse got into something, she immediately reverted back to the idea that he blamed her for everything that was at issue. That he was judging her for whatever had happened and that he thought her incapable of handing things.
As result, their arguments would get out of control and were, therefore, completely unproductive.