Have you ever stopped to consider the many stages you go through in an argument with your spouse?
If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve probably “felt” the stages of an argument creeping steadily toward you. It’s almost like the foreboding music that signals something bad is about to happen on your favorite horror flick. You might even have the presence of mind (in your mind, mind you!) to warn yourself, “don’t go through that door!” or “don’t get into that water!” or better yet, “stay away from that fin!” But like in your favorite scary movie, you feel paralyzed to do anything to stop it from overtaking you and your spouse.
Maybe it would do us well to discuss with our mates ahead of time some of the common things that trigger us emotionally or ignite a fight. You can list the triggers, then talk together about how to better handle those challenging, “triggering” moments by writing down any answers that might bring peace to that situation or prevent it from occurring in the future. Then have that list of situations and solutions handy for quick reference when needed.
One of the things my husband and I do to help prevent arguments is praying together at the start of our day. We didn’t start this practice to prevent arguments, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s been amazing to see just how much a simple uniting prayer can and has headed the irritation and anger off at the pass.
One of the things my husband and I do to deal more constructively in the middle of an argument is changing our focus from “telling” to “listening.” Often we’re just misunderstanding each other, and simply backing up to discover the “holes” in our perspectives can squash an argument like a nasty bug crossing our path!
One of the things that Gary Smalley does is keep a list of all the reasons he loves his wife tucked away on his computer. He pulls that list up to reread while he’s still steaming after an argument. This gives him that jolt of perspective and reminder of love that has gotten distorted and lost in times of anger.
I invite you to watch a hilarious video by Brandon and Stephanie Matias on the Stages of a Car Fight and see if you can relate. Then I’d love for you to answer any of the following questions …
What’s something that invariably triggers an argument between you and your spouse?
What are some of the strategies you’ve learned to hedge off an argument or calm one that’s already begun?
If you’re interested in viewing more videos on the hurdles we all face in marriage, Bradon and Stephanie have a youtube channel called Modern Marriage Moments with all sorts of funny and clean true-to-life videos. Check their page out here.
FYI – Congrats to the winner of Tim Kimmel’s book, Grace Filled Marriage is Elizabeth from Warrior Wives! And thanks to all of you for participating!
Photo by Brian Snelson