Repairing after a Fight with Your Spouse
When was the last time you and spouse argued and actually repaired afterwards?
Sometimes when I ask this question during marriage counseling sessions, couples will look at each other with a blank expression on their faces and say…”we don’t.”
This is so common. It can be hard to repair after a fight. For many reasons like not knowing how, maybe you’re still mad and don’t know what to say, maybe you’re afraid it will spark another fight.
There are so many reasons why repairing with your spouse after a fight doesn’t happen.
We all say things we don’t mean when we are fighting with our spouse. We ignore bids for attention when we would otherwise rise to the occasion. Say things in the heat of the moment that we instantly regret. Stay mad for several hours or even days.
All of these are natural and normal responses after a fight with your spouse. It hurts when we are disconnected from the one person we love most. It hurts when we are feeling misunderstood or taken for granted by the one we want to fully know and understand us.
So how do we change this. It starts with repair.
What does repairing after a fight with your spouse mean?
Repairing after a fight with your spouse can be summed up in one word…vulnerability.
This is why repairing after a fight with your spouse can be so hard. We don’t want to be vulnerable after being hurt. After having hurt feelings the last thing that comes to mind is putting ourselves back out there. Typically what we want to do is say to ourselves,
- “I’m never showing myself to him/her again.”
- “I can figure this out on my own.”
- “I can give myself what I need. I don’t need them.”
Any of those sound familiar?
Vulnerability – How to do it without sparking another fight?
After a little emotional distance from the fight – (for many, this is a cooling off time of at least 20-30 minutes to help our nervous system calm.)
We can approach our spouse from a calmer state, we can then ask them if it’s ok to talk. Asking permission will help your spouse know you’re sincere and might help them calm also.
When you both have an agreement that it’s a good time to talk and listen to each other, then you can take the next step of talking with your spouse about what it was that got you upset and what you were feeling and thinking.
This is not a blame thing.
This is opening up to your spouse so that they can know you better.
Opening up to let them know what hurt you and why. And can allow you to ask for what you need around this moving forward.
The other step in this process is allowing your spouse the same grace. Asking them about what hurt them. What their experience was during the argument.
This is a time where you both can attune to each other. To understand each other’s state. You don’t have to agree with everything they say and they don’t have to agree with everything you say. The point is: You Both Are Right!
You both experienced your own feelings and thoughts that are valid. And that’s what is important about repairing. It’s an opportunity to validate each other’s feelings. To help step into their shoes to try to understand what they may have been feeling.
If you need help with learning how to repair with your spouse after a fight, marriage counseling can help. Reach out today to see how we can work together.
Blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only.