Arguments happen. They happen in the strongest, most loving marriages. They’re usually not fun, but they don’t have to be ugly and they don’t have to end badly.
Not long ago, a friend sent me a link to a video by Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Sheri Meyers.
The video is a good one and it talks about how disagreements can be a healthy part of marriage, as long as they’re done right. The video is only 8 minutes or so long and I strongly recommend that you watch it for tips on how to disagree constructively and how to keep arguments from becoming fights.
Ed and I usually have a decent argument or disagreement (something more than “No, it was your turn to take out the trash!”) about once every month or two. We’ve learned to keep them constructive and we’re grateful that we’ve also picked up some very romantic ways to end an argument. I’m not talking about making up in the bedroom, but about reminding each other that we may be arguing, but we’re still in the middle of a great romance.
Here are three things that one or the other of us has tried with truly great results.
- More than once, Ed has come into the room after an argument carrying a wedding picture that sits on our piano. He held it up and said, “I didn’t mean it when I said________(whatever snarky or upsetting thing he may have said), but I did mean everything I said that day.” I don’t remember anything he was apologizing for, but I dearly remember the apology. Reminding your spouse that disagreements don’t cancel out love is a wonderful way to put things back in perspective.
- We stole this one from a friend who’s been madly in love with his wife for almost forty years: After an argument (yes, they have them) he takes her a note. At the top of the note is written, “Things that are Not Important”, with the topic of their argument underneath. Below that is written, “Things That Are Important.” Beneath are the words “You” and “Us”. His wife told me once that she has a desk whole drawer full of them.
- This one may sound silly, but we love it. Several years ago, after a pretty good row, Ed and I apologized simultaneously. Through my tears, I laughed and said that I had apologized first so he should fix me some ice cream. He asked me what flavor and we shared a huge bowl of the stuff. We’ve used it many times since and it’s a great tension-reliever. Now we tend to race to an apology, usually laughing. If he’s first, we have mint chocolate chip. I try to be faster so that we can have butter pecan. We need to stop arguing so that we don’t gain weight.
These are just a few ways to make up in a romantic and fun way and erase the tension and unease of having argued. I’d love to hear some of your ideas for ending an argument on a romantic note – Ed and I are about due and I think we’re out of butter pecan.