Fighting with your husband is the ugly side of marriage. It’s uncomfortable and painful. But the reality is that it comes with building a life together. Who isn’t going to bicker with the one person who sees you the most and knows you the best? It would be stranger if you didn’t fight at all.
I’d even say couples who fight frequently have more passionate marriages than those who don’t. I know, I know. Don’t kill me.
It’s not easy to “fight fairly” but it’s vital to learn how, according to Dr. Phil. “Disagreements are going to occur,” he says on his website. “Do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that.”
Learning how to kiss and make up is an important skill to master in marriage. Many couples have sex to defuse the tension, but we — I mean, they — know better. As fun as THAT is, here are 5 more constructive ways to stop a fight with your husband.
1.) Laughter: “When I fight with my husband, we each try to make each other laugh. Whoever is the least angry tells a joke. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but either way, it reminds us of our love,” says Jenny, 41, a mom of three.
She and her husband have a system when they fight, but you don’t need a “fight plan” to employ this technique. Just step back, see the absurdity, and remind yourself how much you love your spouse. Maybe then the fight will seem less dire and you can both lighten up. There have been plenty of times my husband has made a voice or done something in the middle of a fight that gets me rolling. By the time we are done cracking up, we can’t even remember why we were so mad.
Send him funny gifs or do your best impressions and soon you’ll forget why you were even mad. Hopefully. If not, you can always resort to make-up sex!
2.) Hand Holding: “When you hold hands with your partner while discussing a concern, it emphasizes the strong bond between the two of you,” Psychology Today’s Stephanie Sarkis advises.
Personally, I can’t imagine holding my husband’s hand when I want to smack him, but I get the point. Showing affection even in the midst of a massive squabble reminds you both that you are connected and love each other. Try it next time. I dare you.
3.) Distraction: My husband and I are masters of fighting, walking away, and then forgetting the fight and being affectionate again. It won’t solve a major issue, but for the petty everyday crap — whose turn is it to do the dishes, for example — it’s easy to just forget it, move on, and readdress it later. After all, with kids and a full life, time to battle is a luxury we can’t afford.
4.) “I Love You”: I am NOTORIOUS for forgetting I love the people I am angry with and going fully crazy on them, but sometimes it’s smart to just stop and remind him (and yourself) that you DO love him and that you are going to be OK.
Blogger Megan Finley says she and her husband stick their tongues out at each other during a fight as a little reminder that, yes, they are angry and want to scream, but they are still in love and can have fun together. Might sound silly, but a subtle reminder like that might make the difference between losing it completely and making up.
5.) Work It Out: I swear the BEST thing for me after an argument is to go for a six-miler. All that pounding of my body makes me either forget why I was so angry or learn how to deal with it more productively. It’s true that some fights need to be fought, but screaming and yelling are never healthy. Using exercise as an outlet can help both of you keep the peace in your discussions. And we all know that exercise is good for your stress level, period. Science backs it up! Want a happy marriage? Get thee to the gym, STAT.
No matter how a fight is ultimately resolved, the single best way to end it is to forgive and move on. Let it go. Don’t hold on to it and plan to bring it back again.