We all know how important communication is in marriage, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Talking to your spouse can be challenging, especially after an argument. And it can be hard to recover from a fight or disagreement when you’re feeling frustrated, misunderstood, hurt, or even like your feelings don’t matter.
Let me just say that I am no marriage expert. And I don’t know what struggles you face when it comes to communication in your marriage, but I would like to share some things that have helped me in mine. Especially when it comes to reconciling after having pent up feelings, after an argument or simply talking when it’s hard.
Here are 4 things that I’ve found to make a world of difference when I want to recover from a fight and make up with my spouse.
Letting My Guard Down
Our natural reaction could be to put walls up. And we can use this as a defense mechanism to protect our feelings. Maybe even to appear unbothered by the situation (even when in reality, we couldn’t be more bothered). We want to protect ourselves. Especially when we’ve been feeling misunderstood or frustrated.
This has definitely been a defense mechanism of mine. But I’ve had to remind myself that shutting my husband out doesn’t solve the problem. It only makes me feel more distant. And even when I’m most frustrated, deep down I still crave connection with my husband. And those walls can’t stay up if I want to feel connected.
I have to allow myself to be vulnerable and to come to him wearing my heart on my sleeve. To let him in and tell him when and why I’m hurting or upset, or feeling whatever type of way I’m feeling. I have to remember that this person is my partner, and if we are in this thing for the long haul and striving to grow together, then I need to let my guard down.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t take the time that I need to collect myself and my feelings. I don’t have to share my heart right away; especially if I’m feeling too upset to. But even while I’m giving myself time, I still have the intention of coming back, letting him in and having a conversation.
Paying Attention to My Tone and Approach
I notice I get a different reaction from my husband depending on my tone and delivery. I’m sure that this is the case for most of us right? It’s not always about what people say to us, it’s how they say it. When something is bothering me, or better yet, has been bothering me for a while, and I lead with a “why do you always..?” or “how come you never..?,” it almost always puts my husband on defense mode. And I can’t blame him because approaching him that way makes him feel attacked. And with a starter like that, you already know that I have a tone to match.
But “always” and “never” statements aren’t always accurate. Instances may occur often, but it’s usually not every single time. So using these words aren’t productive, especially when you’re trying to recover from a fight.
However, what I’ve noticed is that sometimes it’s better to just focus on the present moment. When I do this, instead of drawing from past instances, it comes off differently.
So instead of saying “how come you always get so defensive when I say things?,” I can say something like “did I hurt your feelings when I said…?” and then mention the specific statement that I made that triggered that reaction. Or instead of saying something like “why do I always have to do everything?“ I can say “It would really help me a lot if you started helping me get the kids ready in the morning.“
Tone and delivery are everything when you’re trying to communicate a need or an area in your marriage that needs more attention. You’re like 99% more likely (I just made this statistic up, but you get my point) to get a better response from your husband when you approach him in a way that addresses the issue, without making him feel like he’s being attacked or scolded. Because who likes being spoken to like that anyway right?
Taking the Initiative
Sometimes when tensions are high, there can be some silent treatment happening. And if not complete silence, definitely limited interactions. And although we may be tempted to hold out until our husbands come around, break the silence, or apologize, we don’t have to.
One thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is that no one really “wins” an argument or disagreement. That’s not even the goal. The real goal is understanding. It’s trying to understand where the other person is coming from and reconciling as soon as possible. It’s about learning our spouses and hearing their hearts.
I’m not saying that we always need to be the first one to apologize or take the blame, or even to try to resolve our issues. I’m just saying that we don’t always have to wait on our husbands to do the reconciling. We can lead by taking accountability for our part in the matter, by trying to see where they were coming from, or even by choosing to just let it go (if it wasn’t that big of a deal), break that silence, and move forward on a positive note.
Making a Real Effort to See Each Other’s Perspective
Sometimes this alone is what we need most. We just need our husbands to understand where we’re coming from. To see things from our perspective and vice versa, they need the same from us.
We may not always agree. In fact, we can agree to disagree. But sometimes just taking the time to see why your spouse may have been hurt by a comment or was feeling frustrated or even irritated by an action, can be just what you need to mend things.
Often times, we’ll need to push past our need to be right or prove our point so that we can understand theirs. Because when we take the time to see things from their perspective, it sometimes allows us to see things that we didn’t see before. Or see how something that we did or said could have been interpreted negatively. And then it’s good to let them know that we understand where they’re coming from, and apologize if we need to.
It’s not always easy to recover from a fight and make up with your spouse. And our feelings can make us want to lash out or stop talking all together. But it helps to remember that this is a forever thing that we’ve got going, with one of the people that we love the most. We don’t really want to stay mad or distant from our husbands. We want to feel connected, and to feel seen and heard.
So we need to let our guards down, watch our tone and delivery, not be afraid or too proud to be the first to initiate reconciling, and make a real effort to see things from their perspective.
By doing these things we’re nurturing our marriages, even in the face of frustrations. And we’re showing our husbands that even when we’re mad or hurt, we still care. And as a bonus, we can recover from a fight and make up all the more sooner and on better terms. Knowing that we were vulnerable, we listened, and we shared our hearts while also being sensitive to theirs.