Relationships take work for both partners to be happy and thrive. Yet, many articles on relationship tips sometimes ignore how to bounce back when things get tough.
The other day, Chris and I fought. It was not our best moment, and certainly not our worst. Stress was involved and frankly, we were on the cusp of a major showdown. Chris likes to bring up the past when we argue. I, on the other hand, as to be expected, like to use every personal development strategy in the book, bordering on psychoanalysis. Think, ‘you are being irrational,’ or, ‘your behavior is simply modeling your father’s.’ Okay, not pretty, however at least we know one another’s patterns and after seventeen years together, plus almost two prior decades in each other’s stratosphere growing up in a small town, population 20,000, you can only imagine that we know how to get under each other’s skin and no, that is not a metaphor for something else!
I teach work-life balance and productivity. You might be wondering why I am writing about how to make-up after a fight in which case that would make two of us because this idea came to me during a recent conversation with two uber-successful gal pals who were lamenting all of the people teaching work-life balance who had no kids and make every Instagram photo look as though their lives were idyllic. As a side bar, I believe that we can learn from everyone however, my girlfriends and I were wondering why weren’t people keeping it real. When everyone knows that the filtered life is clever stage dressing for the raw and real, why aren’t we just cutting to the chase?
Well it is a new year and if you have been following me for awhile, I don’t hold it back. Life is messy at times however true balance can exist. It is possible to achieve a form of balance defined by you however guess what? If you are fighting with your partner, then you are going to be out of balance. It should not be a shocker that couples argue. I would imagine even Joel and Victoria Osteen disagree from time to time. Arguing isn’t the problem; how we choose to put it back together after the fight is the challenge. When couples fail to re-group quickly, they lose precious time, time when they could be doing many other more productive things other than fighting.
Fighting generally stems from stress. Stress tends to come when we are out of balance.
Have you ever noticed that you fall back in love with your partner when you are on vacation? Why? Because there is less stress! Maybe you, and your love, fight on vacations in which case this may not be the blog for you. If you are fighting all the time, this signifies deeper issues and in this situation, I recommend counseling from a pastor, therapist, or both.
These tips are for the couple who periodically have moments of angst which they like to take out on one another; the couple who admits that ‘yes, we fight,’ however we need to get back on track in a hurry because kids, life, careers, and basically everything, is in a delicate balance and when we are fighting the fragile, tissue-like, threads which hold our lives together become unraveled. With this in mind, here are my 5 best relationship tips for getting it back together quickly after a fight.
Own ‘It’ and Apologize
No one likes a sore loser and by the same token, no one likes a sore winner. Own your part in it, deeply apologize, and move on. Your inner three-year old may have something to say about it. After all it would be much more fun to stomp your feet and blame the other person however there are bills to pay, kids to pick up from programs, a household to run, work to be done, and the megalomaniac within you that doesn’t want to apologize needs to step aside and channel your inner benevolent, Mother Teresa.
If a couple has common goals they are fine. After the fight, talk about what your desired outcomes are for you, your family, and your life. Fighting is focusing on a problem. Healing, and getting back on track, is to focus on a common outcome.
Change Your State
Have you ever been fighting with your partner and almost started laughing? You realized that the fight was stupid and wanted to burst out in raucous laughter because of the hilarity of it all. Laughter, dancing, listening to music, going for a walk, or a run, are all ways to change your state. It is good to get out of the environment where the fight took place. Adding exercise, or movement, helps to induce positive emotions which can act as a post-fight clean-up crew.
I know. You are mad and now here I am telling you to hug the person who just made you upset. The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ Humans are designed to be held and nurtured. If your child falls, and starts crying, the first thing you do is pick them up and hold them. The wounds of a fight can also be diminished by holding one another.
Look at Photos of Happy Memories
Pull out the album of bringing your baby home from the hospital, your wedding, or a great vacation. Images that illicit powerfully positive emotions can help us get back on track quickly.
Lastly, I would love for you to share your thoughts about this topic in the dialogue box below. If you have tips to share on how you, and your partner, get it together after a fight, please post those too. Remember, no one is perfect, and the sooner we all stop pointing fingers and own our stuff, the better the world is going to be.
Susan Sly is a keynote speaker, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and mother of five. She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. Susan is available for corporate consulting, and speaking, on the topics of work-life balance, time management, productivity, and transcending challenges.