I’m terrible at fighting. I wear my feelings on my sleeve so it’s hard for me to hold back my emotions. Sad, glad, mad, all you have to do is take a look at my face to see how I’m feeling.
This explains why I suck at poker.
A fuss with my husband makes me physically ill. Besides a headache or stomach ache, it causes me to lose train of my thought, so then I don’t get my words out.
This frustrates us both because we want the other to understand our point of view.
We recently had a disagreement and instead of trying to have a discussion, I yelled. I didn’t just yell, I cursed too. Totally out of character for me, I even surprised myself.
This did several things; it effectively stopped all potential communication, hurt feelings and regardless of the why, left me as the bad guy. Yikes!
The next day I pondered, what could I have done to have won the fight, or win the war? That’s when it dawned on me to research the best ways to win a debate. I specifically googled debate because I don’t like the word fight.
Fighting isn’t what I wanted to do with the person I love.
I found lots of ways to outsmart the other guy or ways to win for your team. But I’m not a team, I’m just me, who doesn’t want to be at odds with her husband.
Debate wasn’t really the right word, it didn’t accurately describe our situation.
Then I decided what we were doing was having an argument, not a fight. Even though I lost my cool and behaved badly we weren’t fighting.
We were having an issue that we each wanted the other to fix but at our direction without being fair. Instead, I figured out that I didn’t want to win a fight, I wanted to solve our problem.
When I came to this realization it was a lightbulb moment. Eureka, I’ve got it! I could now argue my point without fighting or even arguing about it.
I left things in a mess. My husband definitely took the higher road but we were still in a deadlock over whatever the original dispute was. After much soul-searching I came to the conclusion that I should be the one to extend the olive branch, so I reached out to my husband.
Here are five tips that I used to identify, examine and settle our major disagreement.
Understand the center of your dispute. Pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Do you even have a real problem or are both of you just being cranky? Finding out what’s at the heart of the issue and this will be your starting point.
Give your partner a fair shake. Before you start any conversation, get it in your mind that to be effective you’ve got to have everyone on the same level. This means, no bullying. Don’t be that kid, I’m right and you’re wrong. That will kill any peace treaty you hoped for. Also, no brow beating. Being pushy or blaming the other one will only put them on the defense.
Use your words. There aren’t any mind readers in this, so communicate. Say out loud what you want the other to know. Speak up so there’s no guessing games, that never has any winners. Talking is very important so do it.
Pay attention, while the dialogue is open, to what the other is saying. Yes, you should be interested in the conversation. Put your electronic devices down and turn off the TV. Be respectful of their time.
Give off good vibes. You want to be friends again right? Show up to this discussion with a positive attitude and it will speak volumes about your willingness to be a team player. When you send out positive energy, it’ll become infectious.
Once you have given merit to your partners concerns, it’s easier for them to empathize with you about yours. Be in control of your emotions, it will help you both come to a rational conclusion and the other person won’t be so resistant to a different point of view.
A cooperating attitude will achieve a compromise between each of you and presto, you’ve just had a successful fight without fighting at all!