My wife and I understand that a strong marriage needs clam, rational discussion to solve simple problems before they get too large. We have as many differences and arguments as any other couple that we know. For example, we often get frustrated with each other about spending and saving money. We can easily upset each other when we disagree about how much to spend on vacations, gifts, or even groceries. No matter the reason, though, we agreed when we had our son that we would not let him see us argue.
We stay away from each other when upset.
We rarely close doors within our home. We close them when changing clothes; otherwise, a closed door says that we do not want the other to bother us. When an argument starts to heat up, we separate from each other to avoid an irrational shouting match. I can get upset very easily, so I normally end up going into the bedroom or workroom and closing the door. My wife and son then know that I need time to calm down before we continue our discussion.
We discuss matters calmly.
We always separate when we get upset with each other. Our discussion continues only when we have both settled down and can talk reasonably rather than emotionally. For example, In December, 2012, we disagreed about how much to spend on Christmas shopping. She had her estimate, but mine was much less. I had already made out the bi-weekly budget for the current two weeks and did not want to change it. We both got upset. Rather than argue, I went to my workroom to do some online work. When I calmed down, I made our next bi-weekly budget and scheduled a few days and a compromised amount of money for shopping.
We explain to our son what happened.
After we resolved the shopping issue, we both explained to our son why I locked myself in my workroom. We shared the issue with him and told him about the budget. We did this together and in agreement. This moment presented lessons about two important matters: settling arguments and managing money. We have had similar talks after many other arguments. This process demonstrates to our son that his mother and father will work together to solve problems before they get heated and turn larger.
He is secure in his parents’ marriage.
Our son understands that his parents fight. However, we do not want him to see those fights. My wife and I both teach high school, and we have seen a tremendous number of our students with divorced parents, some not knowing which parent they will stay with from week to week. Our son knows many of the kids at our school, and he feels for them. Small arguments can turn into unsolvable problems. We resolve them early and as quickly as possible. He sees how we handle these matters, and that keeps him – and us – secure in knowing that his parents will keep their vows and stay together “until death do us part.”
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