Matrimony and Arguments make strange bedfellows. But the two are inseparable. What’s a marriage without its healthy share of shouting matches? It is ok as long as it doesn’t turn nasty. Believe me it can. The couple may end up saying things they never meant. So despite its okness, arguments are better avoided. In my role as Materialmom, I distribute unsolicited advice to the young and the less experienced on how to do that.
Usually an argument has its origin in unconnected factors such as a bad day, a bad mood, a headache, deprivation or just about anything else. The signs of an argument are easy to discern- a frown, raised voice, rude words…. Once you detect the signs, be alert. Decide that you will not contribute to the quarrel. Deliberately adopt the body language that is opposite to that of the partner. If he (read she if you are a male)) frowns, you appear calm; if he shouts, you speak softly; if he is rude, you be extra polite. Now, this may seem too submissive, but it isn’t. Bide your time and later when the snapping dies out and he is feeling sheepish, you can remind him how childish his behaviour was and how mature yours. Besides when you have a bad day you may be the one shouting. ( make sure that your partner reads this post so that he /she will know the ideal response.)
The trick is not to get provoked. Let your partner’s harsh words fall off you like water off a duck’s back. Don’t get soaked by them. You can do this by understanding that your partner needs to let off steam and is too upset to understand what is really bothering him. So don’t take criticism personally. Even if you are the reason for resentment having things out in the open is certainly better than the cold and silent treatment. In such cases explain your behaviour/action and then shut up.
When you swap words with your partner it is not just a temptation, but an obsession to have the last word. But never insist on that for a) there is no last word in an argument. b) silence is the best last word. In fact during a war of words, the less said the better. Reticence is a virtue. Imagine your partner throwing barbs at you. When you don’t bite the bait, he would scream in frustration while you would have the last laugh and your dignity.
I know that many youngsters are frowning as they read this. I understand their longing to rebel- because I’ve been there and I’ve done that. Two decades of the real thing have convinced me that one stoops only to conquer. If you get involved and emotional you are in for tears and trouble. ( Sometimes tears do wash away a lot of accumulated frustrations.) When you stand outside yourself and watch a shout scene being played out, you find that it is but a laughing matter.