I have been extremely conflicted on whether or not to write this post. In case you might not know, a few weeks ago I made up my mind to start a self-improvement exercise wherein I will pick up a new challenge and try to do it consistently for 30 days in hopes of making a habit out of it. The list of challenges I made are all changes I really want to see in myself and this felt like the best suited and sort of fun way to go about achieving them. You can go here to read the original blog post on my 30 Day Challenges.
The first challenge that I decided to do was “No arguing with my husband for 30 days.” Just to clarify, we don’t argue all that much. In fact, The Husband doesn’t argue at all. He is all about having a meaningful dialogue and resolving a conflict while keeping our voices low and holding hands! I am the complete opposite. I feel the need to raise my voice, bang doors and cry a lot to get my point across. In my opinion, this is not too bad once in a while. It helps release pent-up frustrations and brings unsaid issues out in the open. But while the fighting couple might soon resolve their issue and move on with their normal life, such a dramatic display of anger and emotions can be terribly damaging if a child was to witness it. So the most important reasons I had to get rid of my loud arguing ways were;
- I don’t, even for a minute, want my daughter to feel insecure. A child who watches her parents fight or even overhears them arguing constantly can get the idea that they do not share a very strong bond, which can make the child doubtful about the stability of her family.
- I don’t want her to think that raising her voice is the best way to get her point across. She has to talk sensibly, in a normal volume and stick to the facts in the light of a conflict. This increases her chances of being understood and staying levelheaded ensures that she is open to accepting the point of view of the person she is arguing with.
- I want my daughter to always keep her dignity and self-respect foremost in every situation and also remember to respect the person she is in conflict with, no matter who they might be. No one can shout on her just because they do not agree with her and similarly she cannot raise her voice or throw a tantrum if she does not see eye to eye with someone.
I started this challenge in the month of August, and the reason why I contemplated writing this post for so long was because I found the challenge surprisingly easy to do. My aim was not only to change how I handle conflicts in my relationship but also to work on my irritability. I get irritated fairy easily and for no apparent reason which results in me getting snappy at The Husband and can also stem into an argument of sorts. I began by numbering days on the white board in our kitchen and I only got to Day 11. After that I had sufficiently trained my brain to let go of petty issues that had bothered me in the past. A few times when I did come across a situation that had the potential to turn into an argument, I calmed myself, made sure not to raise my voice and talk about what was bothering me. And a couple of times, I walked away from The Husband and took some time to calm down when I felt that I couldn’t deal with the situation without it turning ugly. I suppose it will be interesting to share a few lessons I learnt in this process.
- When you find yourself getting irritated or annoyed by your SO (significant other), it helps a lot to focus on the positives in your relationship. Now when such a scenario arises where I might lose my temper, I focus on my husband’s good intentions and his kind heart and I instantly lose the edge in my voice.
- In the event of a disagreement, stick to relevant facts only. I don’t know if this was my problem or do all women do this, but I tend to drag unrelated issues into an argument to make my point. This doesn’t help anyone rather it prolongs an already exhausting fight. This is my newfound mantra for all domestic issues henceforth. I only discuss what is bugging me at that particular moment and I find that we are good enough to move on within a minute or two.
- Always communicate what you need from your SO. After seven plus years of being together, I have accepted that no matter how much I wish or try, I can’t teach my husband to read my mind. So instead of festering over an issue that I have with him, I focus on how willing he is to help if I only let him know what I need from him. Now if I want him to take over tea party duties with our daughter, I simply ask him politely rather than making a speech about how tired I am of playing with her all day. And I always find that he goes out of his way to make me feel relaxed when he knows exactly what he needs to do.
- Sometimes it is perfectly alright to take a break from each other. In case of a disagreement which has the potential to turn into a full blown fight, I find that physically distancing yourself from your SO really helps put things in perspective. The least you can do is sit in a separate room, put your ego aside and assess whether the issue is worth wasting time and energy over. There is also an old adage about not going to bed angry in a marriage. Personally, I don’t agree with this because I have noticed that a lot of times, disputes that seem un-resolvable at night sound quite ridiculous to me in the morning. So by all means, sleep on your arguments, you might not be angry enough to continue them when you wake up.
- When your SO apologizes or simply asks you to move on from a difference you both have, it is best to stop sulking and let it go. I used to take the longest time making up with The Husband even after a trivial quarrel. But doing this challenge helped me see how much I can simplify my domestic situation if I just choose to move on from a subject when The Husband admits that he was wrong. Also, when I realize that I am the one at fault, I instantly accept it and I am certain my husband has been doing a secret dance at this enormous change in me.
I wouldn’t say that I completed the challenge without a single set back throughout the entire month. In fact, I completely lost my temper over something silly within a few days of starting the challenge. But this is not necessarily bad because a normal relationship comes with its differences and conflicts. My aim was not to avoid disputes with my husbands all together, rather to figure out a way to voice our disagreements in a constructive, healthy manner. And even if our daughter was to over hear us, she would not be troubled by our differences and would see that we love and respect each other a lot. All in all, I have loved doing this challenge and both The Husband and I have seen amazing changes in my temperament and disposition. Thanks for reading.