Earlier today, I saw an article entitled, married couple whom fights the most are usually the most in love. Or something of the effect, can’t recall as accurately as I would like to.
But here is what I think of it, nonetheless.
The words and arguments that marriage generates effect people viscerally. The first couple, Adam & Eve, is said to argued over her independence (is not what I believed of course). When Eve suggested that the two work apart to get more done, Adam thought she was “tired of him”.
Eve response to his hurt feelings was to claim hurt feelings of her own. She takes his arguing that she’d be safer with him by her side as an insult to her strength and ability to look after herself.
And to make matter worse, their argument only intensifies after the two eat the forbidden fruits; Adam blames Eve for leading him astray. As in any marriage, the argument goes on. No one wins, and it never actually ends.
*Note: This is not as per my believe of how the story of Adam and Eve goes, but, it a good parable for the context of domestic arguments.
Couples estranged by years of argument sometimes try to understand what led to the demise of their relationship and seek to fix it, but that brings its own dangers. People can’t determine the origins of the disagreement because arguments have no official beginning.
They start in the course of normal conversation and escalate, seemingly most of the time are out of nowhere. The person who set off the argument often has no idea what he or she said or did to inflame the other person.
Spouse literally don’t hear each other. Other arguments last years or decades because most of the time, partners try to change each other which in itself are almost impossible task.
Marital arguments, like political ones, simply can’t be won. Marriage manuals acknowledge this and advise partners not to engage in the first place.
So, what to do?
Instead of pressing our position, stop, hug our spouse, offer a gift and make dinner, and just let it go. Listen carefully to what our spouse says; try to understand the disagreement from his or her perspective.
Resist the temptation to respond with our “first thoughts.”.
Repeat what your partner said, say it “make sense” and give an example to show you understand. Offering disarming empathy creates a “safe space” for discussion. Restraining and measuring our words all the time is impossible.
Even if we read every marriage manual, we’ll probably relapse when a crisis occurs. Gradually, the time between our bad reactions will extend as we learn to suppress our instincts.
Just don’t expect this resolve to hold our impulses at bay forever. Forever is a very long time.