If you’re in a committed relationship, there’s a good chance you end up spending a lot of time with your significant other. If you spend a lot of time with another person, you and that other person are likely to get into arguments. No one agrees with someone 100% of the time.
Apologies are going to end up being absolutely essential to the health and sanity of your relationship. So, yes, you need to be able to apologize.
As an unbelievably stubborn and proud person, I typically keep arguing my point, even when I know I’m absolutely wrong. This is especially true when I fight with my husband (who is also a very stubborn person).
Throughout the first two years or so of our relationship, most of our arguments ended with him walking away, me stewing for awhile, and us acting like nothing had ever happened after a cool off period.
It just wasn’t healthy to fight like this. Arguments were never really resolved.
Eventually, we ended up in a marriage class, where we learned a lot about how to communicate. And most importantly, for us, we learned how to resolve arguments in a healthy way.
We’ve taken what we learned in the marriage class and translated it into a series of steps to help get us through our fights and move us in a healthy direction. We find when we actually follow these steps, we end the argument feeling closer and very proud of ourselves for handling the disagreement so well.
- Separate and cool off.
This is the hardest part for me. I’m the one who wants to pursue the problem and talk it through until we’ve come to the conclusion. My husband is the opposite way. If he’s upset, he needs time away from me, doing something that completely distracts him from the argument. He needs to cool off before he comes back to me to discuss and solve the problem. When I actually follow through with this step, I find that we avoid almost any escalation in the argument, and the problem gets solved much quicker.
- Say you’re sorry.
I may not be good at the separating part, but I’d like to think I’m getting to be a champ at just apologizing. The words “I’m sorry” may be incredibly hard to say (especially for someone as stubborn and proud as I am), but they can also be the most worthwhile at critical points in your relationship.I’ve also learned that it doesn’t necessarily need to be in person; use the medium through which you can best express your feelings. I have texted, e-mailed, and written letters to my husband to explain the way I feel after a fight, and all have yielded positive results. Get the apologies out into the air, and you’ll be amazed how quickly a fight can turn around.
- Own up to what you’ve done wrong.
When you fight with your significant other, chances are, you’ve done something to hurt him or her. Now is the time to think back on the course of your argument and figure out where in the fight you were wrong. Did you call him a name? Did you overreact to something that shouldn’t have been a big deal? Did you embarrass him, or go against his wishes in some way? Naming specific shortcomings of our own can be really painful at first.The good news is, though, the more you admit your mistakes, the easier it becomes, and the quicker the same reaction comes from your significant other. Trust me.
- Explain to your loved one how he or she hurt you.
The key with this step is to leave it until after you own up to what you’ve done. Your significant other will hear you acknowledge your own faults before pointing out what you perceive to be his downfalls.Explain these feelings calmly and tactfully; do not make this a vindictive, ranting attack. Say things like, “I could really use a little more help with the housework,” instead of saying anything that might imply that the person you love is lazy, unhelpful, or that you don’t appreciate him. After you’ve said your piece, let him say his. And listen.
- Decide how to move forward.This is totally dependent on the couple and the argument. You’ll have to navigate this on your own. Discuss with your honey, in a calm, tactful, mature way, how you plan to avoid getting into the same argument in the future. Decide what you’ll avoid saying, do more of, or communicate about more efficiently.