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Men are from Mars but
Why Should Women come from Venus?
We had a little spat last night, my husband and I over a simple issue. And we all know that’s nothing but normal, right? We had quite a row and said mean stuff to each other. I am a very vocal wife, ya know. When I don’t like stuff, I voice it out quick. I get angry quickly but calm down quickly as well. But after a heated argument, we calmed down and said our sorry’s and I-love-you’s.
Experts on wedded bliss -- some with the pedigree of education and others with the scars of experience -- have recommended the following strategies for smoothing things over:
Go to bed angry or make peace before going to bed. Several therapists and couples say forget that adage about always resolving anger before turning in -- and let someone sleep on the couch. "We've found that going to bed angry is often the best choice," says Lisa Earle McLeod, author and a 23-year marriage veteran. "It allows partners to clear their thoughts, get some sleep, and make a date to resume the fight (which might seem less important in the light of day)." (This does not work for me at all )
Take a break. Even a 30-second break can help a couple push the reset button on a fight, licensed clinical counselor Timothy Warneka says. "Stop, step out of the room, and reconnect when everyone's a little calmer."
Own up to your part of the fight. Melody Brooke, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says two things derail intense fights: admitting what you did to get your partner ticked off and expressing empathy toward your partner. Brooke, author of The Blame Game, says this can be difficult but is typically extremely successful. "Letting down our defenses in the heat of battle seems counterintuitive, but it is actually very effective with couples."
Find the humor. Pamela Bodley and her husband have been married 23 years, "and Lord knows it [wasn't] easy in the early years," she says. "But it's much, much better now. We have a great sense of humor." Her husband Paul has kept the mood light by always saying he knows women keep skillets in their purse. So when he does something wrong, Bodley says, "I just pretend to hit him over the head with a skillet and say, 'TING!'"
Shut up and touch. Brooke says there's a point where discussing the matter doesn't help. So couples need to just hold each other when nothing else seems to be working. "Reconnecting through touch is very important."
Ban the "but." Jane Straus, author of Enough is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, says couples often derail a resolution when they acknowledge the other partner's position and then add a "but" in their next breath, reaffirming their own. An example: "I can understand why you didn't pick up the dishes in the family room, but why do you think I'm the maid?"
Remember what's important. "We soon realized that we don't have two beings in a marriage," Jacqueline Freeman says. "We actually have three: me, my husband, and the marriage. And we have to take good care of all three. So if we've been arguing about whose fault it is that the house is so messy, I might defend myself saying I was busy working on a project that will bring in more income, and he might say he was busy fixing something on the house that was broken. We used to be able to carry on a conversation like this for quite some time. But over the years, we seem to have developed a 15-minute timer for arguing. [Then] one of us will suddenly remember the key question: What's best for the marriage?"
Therapists also say that it's important to realize that no marriage is perfect and that fighting is often a normal part of the ebb and flow of your marriage life.
But as they say, 'Normal is just a cycle on the washing machine.'"