When you are in an argument with your spouse, do you tend to move towards or away from your significant other? I was always the one ready to fight, and used my readiness as an advantage over my guy, who needed time to take stock. Given time, he could think things through and get down to the main point instead of staying up in the realms of emotion with me. It was so much better for our relationship to go this route because calmer heads prevail, but I really liked to win, so I would push him to talk.right.now. If I forced him to talk before he was ready, I was likely to get a very angry response, and little would be settled.
For most couples, there is one person who wants to communicate, always ready to talk and cannot imagine walking away and waiting a while. The other person may need time and space to determine what they truly feel and to determine the words they will choose to share. In my experience, it seems that women are often the party that wants to talk it out here and now and men need processing time. We have seen the same thing with our children; they often need time to think about their feelings instead of erupting with emotion, and yet it can be so difficult to allow them that space. The trick is knowing when to let up and let him walk away, and when to return to her to finish the talk.
The best thing to do is to talk about how you will handle conflict when you are in a good place. Go for a walk and discuss the roles the two of you usually take; being careful to note that neither way is best, just different. Then agree that when it comes to it, you will allow some room to breathe, but go ahead and determine how much – a half hour? A day? Making a plan when things are good sets you up for success later on.
There will be conflict, but having a game plan as to how you are going to honor each others needs insures that both parties can be heard and the argument won’t last longer than it has to. Have you noticed this trend in your relationship? How have you worked toward reconciliation with these differences?