How do you handle disagreements? Do you and your SO have specific arguing styles? What topic do you seem to argue/disagree on the most? What were some things you and your spouse have done to work out disagreements?
Our disagreements have come a long way in six years, and we are still working on them (as I imagine we always will be, in many ways). We have come to understand that most of our disagreements are rooted in something else, or one person needing to vent, and we are becoming better about not taking everything to heart, and allowing our partner the space they need at times. Our arguments are rare, though they definitely happen, and we try to talk through whatever we can. I have always perscribed to the idea of never going to sleep angry, while Mr. HC likes to never wake up angry. So, we try to respect this about each other and make it work for us!
I am a person that rarely argues with anyone, and it took me a long time to realize that arguments are a healthy and important part of most relationships—it’s learning how to navigate these waters that is crucial. “Cool down” time has also been really effective, and stops many arguments from escalating to where they might have in the past.
I won’t say that Mr. MJ and I never argue, but we are not fighters. Often, disagreements are caused by miscommunication or misunderstanding. He says something and I misconstrue it to mean something else. Or, I have the expectation that he is going to do something, and he is unaware of me having this expectation. Stuff like that. Usually we just handle it by being adults. Yes, sometimes we get snippy or crabby with each other. But we mostly just apologize and get over it. I’m not sure about his internal processes, but I often stop and think, “Why does this upset me?” Honestly, it’s almost never even him or anything he’s said/done that is upsetting me. I’m just in a bad mood for some other reason (stress, something at work, whatever) and he’s the one who gets to deal with it (lucky him!). Really, I think that both of us just communicating our real feelings and reflecting on the things we say and do (and why we do them) has helped us understand each other and argue a lot less. This has been a very difficult process for me especially—I do like to get my way and keep my pride at the same time. But the thing is: marriage isn’t about pride or winning. It’s about being a team, and when you’re a functioning part of that team everybody wins.
I have to admit that I fight a little angrier when I really get going. In response, he does that blank-face husband stare. You know that one: he knows he has to keep eye contact and look interested, but he also has to calm me down somehow while not getting mad or appearing mad himself.
To fix it? Talk talk talk. And then talk some more. It always helps until one or both of us starts going in circles, but we’re pretty good about stopping that train right out of the station. (Usually).
And the usual rules of thumb apply: remember to use “I” statements and to let the other person talk.
I am a talker and Mr. Peep is not. He says, “sorry,” and then clams up, which drives me nuts. Years ago, I started to get quiet, too. This drove him a bit nuts—he didn’t like a taste of his own medicine. Now, I still talk a lot, and he still clams up. Sometimes one of us will storm out of a room, but usually it only takes about 20 minutes for one of us to find the other. Neither of us can hold a straight face, so the anger dissipates pretty quickly. At that point, we talk it out.
Talking it out is key!!
And of course, the best part of fighting, making up!
We don’t fight much. I think it’s because we have a live and let live thing going on. If one of us does something a little annoying, it’s more of a joke than an accusatory discussion. Like I laugh at him for leaving the cabinet doors open in the kitchen—it doesn’t build up into me raging about cabinet doors and how that is a reflection of his consideration for me (ha!)
At the end of the day, we would rather spend time together than stomp around and sit in different rooms stewing. So if there is an issue, we pretty much talk about it, hug it out, and get back to our very important TV schedule.
There isn’t a lot that Mr. Socks and I disagree on, but whenever one of us is irritated at the other, we usually state our frustration, and then say, “It would really help me if you could ___.” That way, we know the problem, we state a possible solution to the problem, and we make a bigger effort to accommodate each others’ needs.
The way that we fight is very different—I’m loud, I have outbursts of emotion and meltdowns, but Mr. Socks is very much a constantly level-headed person, even in the middle of a disagreement. He makes it very easy for me to calm down, because in the end, I don’t want to yell, I want us to solve the problem. He gives me the space I need to vent, and then we work on fixing the issue.
When it comes to arguments, my conflict style is more like a fireball (loud and finished quickly) whereas Mr E tends to simmer quietly. My whole family is the “loud and verbal” type, so I am still getting used to Mr E’s conflict style, and realising that not everyone approaches conflict like I do, and that is okay. Like Hermit Crab, I cant stand going to bed angry, so we always work on talking out things before they get that far. Like many couples, if we argue, then it is often about money. Thankfully, we managed to pinpoint this trigger before we got married, so now we are more aware of what sets each other off, and can work on diffusing the problem before someone (i.e. me) blows a fuse. Mr E’s patience also comes very much in handy when I get upset over nothing!
I feel kind of crazy for saying this, but Mr. Buttons and I don’t really fight…much. Honestly, I have NEVER heard him raise his voice to anyone. If we have disagreements, they are usually about something small (like making sure the dirty clothes land INSIDE the laundry basket) and they last for only a few seconds. For the most part, Mr. Buttons and I like to talk about the important things in our lives, and we tend to have discussions more than arguments. I know that I can tend to get extremely passionate about certain things, but Mr. Buttons tends to balance me out with his consistent level-headedness. It works, amazingly enough!
We don’t fight much at all either. We have moments where I turn into a Valley Girl: “GOD! Can you like, listen to me? You are being soooo unhelpful right now, I am totally stressed out. I need you to like, help me with this!” He’ll roll his eyes and make it better. And when he’s mad, he’ll go quiet until I ask him what’s wrong, and then I’ll promise to never do that again, and that’ll be it. Done and dusted in 5 minutes! I’m not sure if it’s okay that we never have big blow outs. What do you guys think?
We’ve matured a lot when it comes to arguing. We read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work before we got married, and I think we both took a lot away from that book. In the beginning I was really bad about telling Mr. Fro Yo what was wrong and just thought if he knew me well enough he could figure it out. Well, after many hours of just being angry, I realized this wasn’t going to work, and that I was being ridiculous. So, I got a lot more communicative, and he did the same. We don’t fight very often now because it’s just not worth it, and honestly we don’t make each other that angry. But, when we need to have a discussion/disagreement, we do it openly now rather than sulking in the other room. It’s made us much happier.
It’s pretty awesome how far we’ve come in terms of fighting. We’ve definitely had our share of knock-down, drag-out battles but thankfully, those are almost nonexistent now. A lot of them stemmed from when we were young, drunk and stupid. We’re both hot-headed (I’m Irish and Russian, I can’t help it!) and used to struggle not to make an argument worse once it starts.
Once we got engaged, we definitely started to improve our communication and now, we might squabble about idiotic things (TAKE THE DAMN GARBAGE OUT ALREADY!) but for the most part, we don’t really fight. If an argument does start, we’ve learned how to speak with a language and tone of voice that does not escalate things but rather allows us to step back and identify the problem, figure out why someone’s upset and work towards a solution. Yay for open communication!
I asked Mr. S how we handle disagreements and his response was a simple, “we hug it out.”
We are both people pleasers, but I tend to want to communicate if we run into issues, whereas Mr. Starfish likes to give into whatever to make me happy. It may sound weird, but I don’t like that. I don’t think it’s fair if I always get my way. If we originally disagree on something and he just gives in to what I want, I try to be fair and see why he wanted something, because otherwise things would just always be my way and that’s not healthy.
Oh goodness. I will admit that I usually instigate—I have a much shorter fuse and have the bad habit of letting work stress or little things piss me off. Mr. Pencils definitely is the calm one, which of course makes his real anger even more worrisome. I hate being wrong, so it’s often very hard for me to reach out first over small, or large, arguments. I am trying to get better at it though—I even wrote about it on my personal blog here. Luckily, we both are very good at verbally expressing ourselves, and we don’t let things go left unsaid, and very rarely have we used our words to hurt each other. The few times we have, we’ve instantly regretted it and both apologized. I think, overall, we fight fairly, and well, and try very hard to be open, honest and kind to each other. It works—most days. 🙂
We have very different arguing styles. I argue all the time—I mean, come on, I am professionally trained. 🙂 He doesn’t like confrontation. We found out this was a problem early on in our relationship, as he would tend to bottle up emotions and then they would come out in a weird, unhealthy way. I tend to not fight fair because I can argue with a trash bag. I can pick apart anything he says to me, and sometimes I argue just to play Devil’s Advocate—so not fair to him! We’re not perfect, but we’re a lot better at disagreeing now than we used to be.
Let’s see…what do we argue about? I really can’t think of anything specific. It seems like we usually get into disagreements when one of us is cranky and takes it out on the other person.
I would describe both Mr Pin Cushion’s and my arguing style as…stubborn. We hate admitting we’re wrong, which is really a problem, because to end an argument, usually someone has to make the first move towards apologizing!!
With time (nearly 11 years in our relationship and counting) we’ve learned to step back a bit and look at the bigger picture. Our fights can snowball from one issue to another and in the end, we might be arguing about something else entirely. That’s not healthy. We (try) to stick to one topic and figure out what we can do to fix the problem.
Sometimes I’ll call my parents to vent (is that weird, since I’m 26?!) and even if I’m looking for sympathy, they’ll tell me how they actually see it, even if it means telling me, “It sounds like you owe Mr. Pin Cushion an apology.” Nothing like a parent to put you in your place!
What about you? How do you and your SO handle disagreements?