Are you arguing a little too frequently with your spouse? Do you worry your problems are getting bigger and your marriage is trembling on the brink of divorce?
Most marriages are far from perfect, so expect things to occasionally feel out of kilter. Living close with anyone invites tension and strong disagreements.
As a relationships writer with a national audience, I have developed over 1,500 newspaper columns and magazine articles on improving relationships. My expertise has led me to one conclusion: When we each change ourselves, we will have the most control in a positive way.
Deal with Your Real Mate
Keep in mind that you don’t have to change the other person, which is impossible for the most part. Focus more on living in harmony with your spouse. Pay attention to what you can do to make things better.
Psychologists often use the Briggs-Myers test, based on the research of psychologist Carl June, to determine someone’s personality type and how they interact with others. There are 16 basic types of personalities, so that’s a lot of room for different ways to approach life!
For example, some people are laid-back and not confrontational at all. Others are perfectionists and ready to fight over a ring around the bathtub.
It helps to cool tension by looking at the real person you’ve married. If your husband is an ex-Marine with a passion for orderliness, accept this. If your wife likes to cook for 20 people and mess up the kitchen every weekend, accept this.
By working to live in harmony with your spouse, you can make a few changes that add up to reducing tension between the two of you. You can even use your mate’s positive qualities to help yourself.
For instance, if your husband is freaky about a neat kitchen, ask him to stack the dishes in the cabinet or clean out the refrigerator. Tell him you’ll drive to the gas station to fill up the car for him.
Change the Pattern of Your Marriage
Reduce the heat of arguments by doing something positive. Figure out the power you have by looking for new decisions you can make. Your mate will be relieved you’re doing something to reverse the hurt and pain.
Use this checklist to cool tension quickly in your household:
1. Do something nice for your mate. Fix his favorite meal or buy him a DVD he’s been wanting. “Nice” is powerful.
2. Brag on your mate. Tell her, “Honey, I’ve been neglecting to tell you that I do feel proud of you for that promotion you got at work.”
3. Smile more and act upbeat. Sure, one of you might have yelled, “I want a divorce!” But, most intimate relationships do get that unstable at times. Switch gears and let the divorce word go. Avoid uttering it again, or it can take on a life of its own! Change the conversation to change your emotions.
4. Plan a pleasant activity. Going out to take a drive in the country with lunch at a new restaurant can work wonders. But, be sure to resist arguing or discussing your in-law problems while you’re having fun.
5. Do tackle true problems that won’t go away. Take the high road and devise a solution your mate will buy into. If your mother-in-law really needs to move in with you, figure out a workable plan. Tell your mate, “I don’t mind if we build her a small apartment in our garage. We could certainly do that, but she’ll need her own entrance to ensure privacy for all of us.”