Today we fly home from Cabo (insert sad face). All the Cabo fun is over and it’s time to get back to reality. We are en route to Scottsdale where we have 2 straight days of back to back meetings for the house. Did I mention we’re building a home in Scottsdale? I should probably work on a post about it. I sometimes forget because it feels a little out of sight out of mind. But we are building a home and couldn’t be more excited about it.
Onto today’s topic:
Bickering. Do you and your partner bicker? Because we sure do. Especially when our families are around. After having come off of 7 days with Brandon’s middle daughter, it’s just something I’ve noticed. We bicker a lot.
Over the past week, I found myself significantly more irritable and, therefore, initiating the bickering. I would say it’s 70% my fault and 30% Brandon’s during any given bickering exchange but I’m less interested in whose fault it is and more interested on how to make it better. So how do you stop this? I’ve been doing a little research and here’s what I’ve found to help calm the bicker:
WHY YOU SHOULD STOP BICKERING
Make the decision:
I don’t want to bicker with my partner.
Some couples bicker because it’s part of the narrative of their relationship. They bicker because they want to and don’t necessarily find it to be an issue. It’s how they communicate and it works for them. If that’s you, check back in for another post on another day. This one isn’t for you. If you’re more like me, and want to stop bickering, the first step is realizing you don’t want this behavior. You consciously have to make that decision. And try to flesh this out. What are your motivations for not wanting to bicker? Why are you putting your energy into stopping this behavior?
For us, we are laser focused on our futures. On building our careers. On establishing our family dynamic. On getting fit and being active. All of our time and energy needs to be focused on these things in order to create the levels of success we desire to attain.
So this is the question we’ve been asking ourselves: Does bickering about things that don’t matter positively or negatively contribute to our goals?
This wasn’t a hard one for us to answer – it contributes negatively because it is energy spent on something that doesn’t contribute to our bigger goals.
Okay so we’ve made the decision. Woohoo. That’s our why.
HOW TO STOP BICKERING
But let’s talk about how, shall we?
How on earth do you stop bickering?! It seems easy, doesn’t it? If you’re a habitual bicker-er ( I hate to use labels but when the shoe fits), quitting this behavior sounds significantly easier than it actually is. But I challenge you to do it anyway. For just one week. Make the decision to stop bickering with your partner and see how it feels. See how things change. See if it works for you.
*I’d like to point out that you can’t know something until you try it. And just the act of trying can make significant improvements in your relationship. When you make a decision to try something new to better your relationship, you’re reminding both you and your partner that you care about your future and you’re committed to doing your part to make it work. Don’t wait until you’re in couples counseling to work on things. Chip away at it constantly. Always seek out new things to try. No one likes a stale relationship.
Okay: so your partner does something that makes you mad – let’s use an example. Hmmm. I’ll pick something totally out of nowhere… like him leaving his dirty clothes on the floor. Right next to the hamper. Right after you cleaned the closet.
Arg. Why can’t he put the clothes IN the hamper? It’s right FREAKING there!
You’re about to say something. But the best version of you stops yourself and you…
Step 1: Remember your “why”
So we just talked about this. What are your reasons behind why you want to stop bickering? What bigger version of yourself do you dream of that is stifled because you’re wasting your energy on bickering? What example do you want to set for your kids? Your parents? Your employees? Your friends? Whatever that looks like to you, remember it. And when the opportunity comes, jog your memory and tap into this reason.
Okay. You’re ready for step 2.
Step 2: Does this really matter?
Once you’re in this frame of mind – ask yourself if this issue really matters. Only you can be the judge of this but let’s face it. We all know when something is important or unimportant. Some studies suggest that you should ask yourself if the issue at hand will matter in 5 years. I like that. Because I am certain that I won’t remember putting his clothes IN the hamper and not saying anything about it in 5 years from now. I’ll simply know that I’m a loving partner for keeping my mouth shut and not making it an issue.
So when you ask yourself, “does this really matter?” you have 2 options:
Option 1: It doesn’t matter. If so, shut up. Don’t say a word. Take a deep breath and move right along. You don’t need to make a point. You don’t need to give your input. Just. Zip. It.
Option 2: It does matter. If so, write it down. Open your notes in your phone (I prefer Google keep because it is a far superior note keeper than Apple’s notes), write down the issue at hand, but still follow the guidance in Option 1. Do NOT bring it up as soon as it happens. Once you’ve written it down…
Step 3: Pick a good time to argue
Let’s get a little technical here: bickering is defined as “arguing about petty and trivial matters.” I don’t know about you but I don’t want to waste a minute of time doing anything petty or trivial. I want things to matter and be meaningful. Arguing is defined as “giving reasons or citing evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.” If I’m going to have a spat, I want to state my case and persuade someone to my way of thinking – not lose my shit over the tiniest, silliest issue.
So pick a time to do this. I’m thinking once a week. On Sundays. In the afternoon. We’re going to schedule a time to argue each week. Throughout the week, I’ll keep a list of everything we starting bickering about and use this list to commence the argument.
What I love about this idea is 1) time heals all wounds. Giving an issue time always allows you to get over the emotions and think objectively about the issue. 2) We can get it all out at once. Bickering on a regular basis is SUCH a time suck. I’m a big believer in batching tasks so why not batch your arguments? 3) When you’re having a fabulous Sunday afternoon, the last thing you want to do is fight. If you’re too busy enjoying yourself to have an argument, you’ll fight less and be happier. Sign me up.
I’ll keep you guys posted on this little experiment. Brandon and I are going to give it a try this week and I’m PUMPED that he thought it was a good idea. I tend to come up with wacky experiments all the time that he rolls his eyes at but not this time. He was all about it.
Alright – we’re landing and the flight attendant just told me, for the second time, to put my computer away. Why are they so bossy?
Gotta go – chat tomorrow!
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