Recently, I sat in a Starbucks and couldn’t help but overhear a couple’s very loud argument. Of course every couple disagrees. However, there was something a little extra with this one. All I could hear was the woman cussing the guy out. She yelled, called him an idiot, told him to shut the ___ up and eventually told him to just get the __ out. I was stunned by what I heard and wondered how do couples ever get to that place. Something is seriously wrong when couples start to speak to each other in that way.
She yelled, called him an idiot, told him to shut the ___ up…
Now I do understand frustration. My husband and I also disagree but I have never considered speaking to him in that manner. I could never see myself disrespecting him and vice versa.
Even when your partner ‘takes you there’ or provokes you, there is a way to handle everything. So here is what I’ve learned about words in my own marriage and by coaching other couples that will keep you from crossing the line when your partner disappoints you or makes you angry:
Know your triggers.
Relationship experts and counselors, Ayize & Aiyana Ma’at, from RealLoveHelp.com , say that: “One of the major causes of relationship conflict involves missing or overlooking triggers for conflict when we’re interacting with our partners.” The Ma’ats advise that you gain a greater understanding of what triggers you by identifying words, body language/gestures, actions/inactions that trigger a negative verbal/nonverbal response (like cussing your partner out.) Share your triggers with your partner. And then give your partner some other alternatives to these words, body language, and actions/inactions that you’d like to see more of with the intent of reducing and better managing conflict.
Pause, step away and regroup.
It’s okay to pause, step away and regroup, especially if you don’t have the best handle on your anger. You can’t resolve a conflict if you’re in such a negative space. That’s why it’s important to know yourself and know when your triggers have been activated.
It’s important that you remove yourself from the situation when you aren’t ready to address things properly. Be sure that when you do have to pause, you let your spouse know what’s going on. Walking away without saying anything will only add fuel to the fire. Asking nicely for some time alone while you process your thoughts and the situation is fair and should be understood by your spouse.
Think carefully before you speak.
Words are difficult to take back. Once they’ve left your lips and entered the atmosphere they are out there forever. Unfortunately, if they are hurtful enough your spouse won’t forget how those words made them feel. That’s something you won’t be able to take back. This is why we must think carefully about the choices we make with our words. We can consider the message we would like to send and the results we desire prior to speaking. Believe me, hurtful words will not generate a positive response.
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I understand that your spouse is that one person that knows you like no other. They are familiar with your triggers and can easily get you from 0 to 10…real quick. But the one thing you must always remember is that you are in control of your own actions. You have choices when it comes to how you communicate with your spouse.
Make your marriage a safe haven.
Your marriage should be your safe haven. In your home you should feel loved, honored and respected. Who wants to keep returning to a space where there isn’t any peace? Not very many people. Couples must be intentional by using words that demonstrate love. The way we talk to our spouse should be different than how we communicate with anyone else in the world. It should be gentle and kind. Words are powerful. They can build someone up or tear someone down. Again, how you use them is your choice.
BMWK, how do you use your words when you’re frustrated with your spouse?