Every so often me and Taylor will go through periods of time where literally all we do is fight. Really I think every couple goes through these periods of time every now and then. If you didn’t argue here and there the relationship would not be healthy.
Over the years of many toxic relationships I have gained a little arsenal of ways to effectively communicate things to someone. However, becoming a Navy girlfriend forced me to use the tools I had gained more often. Expressing your feelings and putting in words exactly what you want from someone is rough stuff when you are thousands of miles away. Because of this, I had to learn more tools and ways to express myself that weren’t necessarily how I would’ve handled an argument in a regular old relationship.
- Texting is a big no no
Things can so easily be misconstrued through text messages. For example, you could text someone “I’m really excited” but that doesn’t quite sound as excited as “I’m really excited! (insert a bunch of emojis here).” Maybe the person who didn’t use exclamation points and emojis was really excited but was in a rush or they are just the kind of person that does not like using emojis. You don’t know so it is easy to make assumptions especially when emotions are already high.
It’s also just a message. It does not show body language or facial features. You can’t hear the person’s tone in their voice. Talking about serious matters through text message or email is a big mistake. The point of talking through your problems is to express your feelings and that is mainly shown through your body and voice. Considering arguing face to face in a military relationship is impossible most of the time phone calls are always my go to. If me and Taylor ever start to argue I call.
2. Face Your Partner and Hold Their Hands
I picked this one up from a co-worker actually. She said that she has friends who are married and when they fight they sit across from each other and hold hands. Sounds kind of silly and really, when I am arguing with someone, the last thing I want to do is hold their hands…but think about it. When you are two feet from someone there is less likely a chance for yelling. By holding hands, you are establishing a physical connection even when maybe the emotional has disappeared briefly in anger. There is a loving touch and connectedness when you hold hands. Works wonders, I promise.
3. Wait At Least An Hour Before You Talk
Never say anything in the heat of the moment. Do yourself a big favor and just walk away. Make some tea, take a walk, go shopping, bake some food, do literally anything else but remain in that moment.
Then later, when you both have cooled off a little and have your head on straight you can talk about it.
Easier said than done, I know. But believe me, this is an important one.
4. Open Your Ears, Damnit
Just shut your mouth. Easy as that. Shut your mouth and think about what the other person is saying to you. Soak it in. Don’t think about your reaction or what you want to say next. Try to put yourself in their shoes and focus on understanding them instead.
We get so caught up in shoving our opinions down other people’s throats and making them understand us that we forget the whole entire concept of what empathy is.
5. Don’t seek to be chased after
Here is my big mistake. Whenever I fight with someone, I want them to show me love. I want to be chased after. If I say, “I’m going to sleep on the couch,” I want Taylor to tell me no, don’t leave.
Don’t even put yourself here. If you need space, take it. But don’t act like you need space just to get someone to chase after you…most of the time you’ll be disappointed and it makes the situation that much worse. Take it from someone who knows.
6. D.E.A.R. M.A.N.
I learned this really useful acronym from my social worker a few weeks back and it honestly really helped. I could clearly organize my thoughts instead of just spewing them all at Taylor.
I wrote all of this out on a piece of paper first. After that, I walked away for good while and then I came back and re-read it before saying any of it to him.
Describe: Describe the situation in plain, simple and clear terms. Don’t point fingers. Just simply state what the situation is.
Express: Tell them how you feel. Use body language, tone and words to help you. Tell them how what happened made you feel. Use “I” statements. “When x,y,z happens, I feel…” kind of statements work marvelously.
Assert: Say what you would like to happen now or in the future. What would solve this situation for you? What would make you feel better? Don’t be passive aggressive or say things you don’t mean (here is where tip number three gets in my way).
Reinforce: People want to feel good. Tell your partner why this will benefit them and/or the relationship. What is this going to do to improve things?
Mindful: Stay in the moment. Bringing up arguments of the past is a no just as much as text arguing is a no. Stay focused on one topic. Be empathetic towards your partner.
Appear confident: Head up, shoulders back, clear, strong voice. Be confident in what you are saying and what your needs are. When you take yourself seriously, others will too.
Negotiate: Realize that your needs are important but also realize that theirs are too. Many times if your needs can not be fully met there is a way to meet in the middle.
Arguments happen. No one gets along 100% of the time. The vital part to arguing, though, is how it is handled. How are you handling your own feelings as well as your partners? Show care, love and compassion while not ignoring your own wants and needs.