Do you and your significant other have “ground rules” set in place for when you argue? Prerequisites that might help to keep you from ending up fighting about the fight? The idea was introduced to us during the marriage counseling sessions that our pastor required before he would perform ceremonies for any of the couples at our church.
It seems a little “much” , but in practice, I honestly think that setting up those guidelines has prevented a lot of hurt feelings, unkind words, and just general unpleasantness, at least in my household. At first, it was hard, for both of us, to be really conscious of our words in actions during those heated exchanges, and over time, it’s honestly become second nature to us to play nice with each other, even when we’re angry! You shouldn’t have to be mean, or rude to get your point across, especially with someone you love.
- Curse at each other, or call each other names. Neither of us curses, so this one was really the easiest one. Even if you do curse though, there’s a difference between cursing and cursing AT someone. And the name calling thing? That’s just beyond me. I remember talking with a woman whose husband would consistently call her the b-word when he got angry with her. It was like someone knocked the wind out of me when I heard that. Your husband says WHAT to you? I can’t even fathom calling my husband, or anyone that I loved out of their name in that way.
- Yell. I mean, raising of voices is going to happen, but yelling and screaming is a no go. I’d be ready to cut somebody if they started yelling at me, so I figure that in our marriage, this is a courtesy that we should extend to each other.
- Don’t bring up things that aren’t relevant to what the problem is right now. This is more my rule than anything, lol. I have a tendency to be mad and not say anything, so by the time something DOES get said, I have wrath built up from 15 different things. That’s not really fair when we’re having a disagreement about the fact that he still leaves the toilet seat up, even though we’ve been living in the same household for more than 2 years. Arguing about one thing at a time keeps things from getting confusing. (Is it just my husband or all men easily confused when a disagreement occurs?)
- Don’t walk away/shut down. This works for us only because of the previous 3 rules. We’re able to talk through it because we’re not worked up that somebody said something crazy. If I don’t talk through it, I’m not going to calm down. I’m probably going to get angrier, because I’m imagining how the argument would be going if we were still talking, and in those daydreams, hubby always breaks one of the aforementioned rules, so now I’m mad about that and in reality he hasn’t even done anything. So we best keep talking, lol.
What rules do you have set in place to keep you from killing your spouse?