- Agree: One of the biggest fight starters with a couple happens when someone tries to “help” by telling the upset person what to do or how to fix the problem. This can be as simple as saying to a driver who is lost, “Don’t worry.” If someone is upset, the last thing you want to do is tell them what to do because they have anger they want to direct somewhere, and you become an easy target when you appear at all bossy. In normal conversations, men tend struggle with this more because we want to fix problems. Thus, if our wife comes home and has a complaint about work we respond with something like “This is how you’ll fix it or prevent it next time blah, blah, blah,” or “You know that person is a jerk; what did you expect?” Boom, you’ve just made the upset person direct their anger at you. Save yourself the unnecessary fight. Just agree because then the upset person will feel heard and understood. Say something like “That does sound hard,” or “Wow, that person is a jerk.” It’s such a simple statement, but it can do wonders for how the other person sees you. When you agree, the other person will feel validated and open to connecting further with you.
- Allow: Allow yourself and your partner to feel what you feel. If people need to be angry, let them. If people need to cry, let them. It’s easy to see your partner cry or be angry and to take it personally like it’s somehow your fault. Maybe it is your fault, and that’s okay; let the person feel the emotion. If the first issue is something men tend to struggle with more, than this is typically a woman’s big flaw. Most men will have experienced a time when they were angry, but then the woman got counter angry at him: (originally not angry now angry) “You’re angry? Well then, so am I.” To have better relationships, let people feel the emotion. I once read that emotions are like guests to your house, let them in, spend time with them, and then let them leave. Too often we’re afraid to feel anything, but we need to because that’s part of the human experience.
- Appreciate: Saying thank you to your partner for something they did validates them and helps you realize the good they offer you. It’s often best to re-thank someone after the event because in the moment it can feel expected or go unheard whereas saying it later when things are calm can have more of an impact, especially because it shows you remembered.
- Apologize: It’s amazing how adults, even those quick to tell their kids to say sorry, forget to apologize. Again, like appreciation, it can be helpful to re-apologize later after the event to show you cared enough to remember and say something.
- Accommodate: Our partners need to feel like a priority, so work time into your schedule to talk and see each other, to send little notes/texts, to ask how they’re doing, and to have date nights once a month or every two months. Accommodating also includes making sure you say hi and bye in caring ways because how you do this will have a strong effect on what happens later between the two of you.
This week may you find a tool that helps refresh the love you have for someone