This article gives tips on how to manage those heated moments where it gets difficult to express oneself and it gets difficult to express oneself and even listen to or understand what the spouse has to say.
• Say what you mean. Don't assume that the other person ought to know how you feel. Avoid sarcasm; for example, "Of course I don't mind if you go out with your friends again" (said with gritted teeth). Your partner gets a mixed message which is confusing.
• Avoid attacking the other person with 'You' statements, for example, "You are so selfish and irresponsible". They put your partner on the defensive and lead to counterattack: "You're the one who's selfish". Instead use 'I' statements, for example, "I was angry and disappointed when you didn't come home in time to go for that movie". You are stating how you felt, which cannot be argued, and it is also not directly attacking. At the same time you are clearly stating your feelings.
• Fight Fair. Don't make personal "below-the-belt" attacks. If you know your partner is very sensitive about his/ her height, education or other attributes, don't bring this up in a fight.
• When either or both of you are furiously angry, take some time to cool off. Go for a walk, take a shower or count to 100 before you discuss the issue. Harsh words said in a fit of anger can never be taken back, and sometimes take a lifetime to forget.
• Don't hold on to your anger. Tell your partner as specifically as you can about what has made you angry - listen to him / her with an open mind as well.
• What doesn't help – sulking, taking your anger out on someone else (often a helpless child - or the dog!) , becoming violent - none of these resolve the issue. If you want something to change, you have to talk about the problem.
Fighting (fairly) is good for a relationship. It keeps you communicating, helps you understand each other's needs and feelings better and work out better ways of relating. It adds spice to your life - and making up after a fight can be great as well!