One day last week, my husband made me so upset that I swear I could see red! I was steaming; so much so that my heart was racing and my nostrils were flared and I think I may have even broke a sweat. I think my tongue still has bite marks from the series of things I felt like saying but did not say.
If you’re wondering why I was so upset, I have only one word for you: Business-as in mind your own! But on a serious note, below are three things that I did, that you can do as well, in order to win the fight.
1. Bite your tongue
Anytime you are upset, being upset colors everything. There is a reason why we use the word “mad” to describe being angry or upset. It really is true that in the heat of the moment, when a person is upset or angry, it could be said that they are “mad”. The wise thing to do is “bite your tongue” and not say anything until you have cooled off. If you choose to speak while you’re “mad”, you are more likely to escalate the fight-not win it. Running your mouth carelessly in the heat of the moment may feel somewhat good while you’re doing it, but it really only does damage in the long run and that is not winning.
2. Act the opposite of what you feel
When you married your spouse, you more than likely looked into each other’s eyes and made some declarations about what you would do as a husband or a wife. So if your spouse offends you in any way, you should be able to take it back-right? Wrong! Just because your spouse has made you “mad”, it does not mean that you can use that as an excuse to behave in an unacceptable way.
That day, after I wiped off the sweat and cooled off a bit, I proceeded to make my husband a delicious meal. No, there was no spitting in it or any ill will, somehow stirred into the food. What I was doing was acting in a way that was the opposite of what I was temporarily feeling. It doesn’t always have to be a delicious meal, it could be searching yourself and thinking about how you may have also offended your spouse and then approaching them and just offering an apology. Note: Offering an apology means just that-just an apology and no reason or explanations or expectations because that could just start something else. If you do this, you may not realize it, but you have won the fight with “the beast inside” and many, many marriages suffer from people not being able to tame that beast.
3. Say What you want
Saying what you want does not mean that you carelessly run your mouth and destroy the valuable relationship that you have built. What it means is that you make sure that you have calmed down and then ask your spouse if they are willing to hear what you want. If they agree, then it is okay to let them know what you do or do not want. This is not an opportunity to blame and name call-that is not winning; it is destructive and may just escalate the fight. If your partner says no to your request to let them know what you want or expect, repeat steps 1 and 2 and try step 3 again at a later time.
Most people typically get upset because they did not get what the wanted or expected. Saying what you want is an opportunity to open the doors of communication and allow room for negotiation and compromise. The only way to “win” a fight with your spouse is to dissolve it. Marriage is a partnership and no one wins when the two people in the marriage start to try to one up each other.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will add that any fly on the wall in our home can tell you that this process does not go smoothly every single time. If you fail at step 1, it becomes even more important to move on to step 2 and 3. Finally, remember that nobody’s perfect. We are all each a work in progress and a little forgiveness and humility can go a long way.
Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com
Originally posted at Black Blue Dog