So when the Mr and I have a misunderstanding and it looks like it might hit the proverbial fan., the party that does not feel as strongly does not escalate it. How?
Recently, we were traveling, I had mapped out the route and knew what station we needed to get off at to board the connecting train when the Mr decides to change the route halfway. So we get off and the map shows we need to walk five streets to catch the train and I lost my gasket. I was so pissed off, 1) we were running late for a flight, 2) where were you when I was staying up the whole night to get the route? To give him credit though, he just kept on the task at hand and did not engage with my anger or my threats to get us a route ASAP.
This works for us and it is not prescriptive but it saves us from saying what we might later regret or descending into a shouting fit with each other.
If someone needs time to cool off, to think or process, we allow it and the other does not pressure them to discuss it at that time. However much time you need to, take it. Often we continue to engage on other matters as normal and either you don’t feel as strongly later or you have had the room to process why you felt so strongly or couldn’t engage.
I know they say not to do this, but it’s OK to sleep angry every so often. Sometimes it’s safer and better that way. Of course this can lead to silent treatment which is not great but eventually gets resolved.
No name-calling. EVER.
What rules do you and your significant live by when it comes to conflict resolution?
This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.
Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.
- I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
- Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
- All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
- My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
- I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
- Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
- Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.
I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.
Posted in Heart matters, marriage
Tagged about me, about us, conflict, date night, friendship, in-laws, love, marriage, meal planning, planning, relationships, Wedding
Relationships are not easy. Conflicts are a side effect of all relationships and sometimes it’s all about the perspective we select.