Last night in Target, my spouse and I were not having fun.  Other shoppers could feel the tension.  Our body language screamed that we were not happy with each other.  This is how we were spending our date night? What are the signs that a fight is about to start?

  • Are you looking for a fight?  I was. I thought he was implying that it was ALL my fault.  As if…  Personalizing is the act of making neutral comments or looks that your spouse is making all about you.  It is a choice to start or perpetuate a fight by reading into situations.  Stop it.  Remember, what you look for is what you find.
  • Are you blowing things out of proportion?  Maybe I did some of this in combination with the above. Maximizing is the process of placing more emphasis on something than it deserves.  Is this situation a lump in the breast or a lump in the oatmeal?
  • Are you lacking empathy? After I blew things out of proportion, I then dismissed his feelings because I felt minimized earlier. Minimizing is the process of dismissing something as not being important, but perhaps it needs more attention.  Be sure that you are not sending your spouse the message that what matters to him or her is not important.
  • Are you tired or hungry?  Well, it was late. When energy levels are worn down, it is harder to tolerate things that cause irritation and it becomes harder to monitor reactions as closely.  This is where self-care becomes really important.  When you feel worn down, allow yourself the time to re-energize.

So what helps to kiss and make up?

  • Be vulnerable.  Talking about feelings without placing blame.  When we can do this and our partner understands and shows empathy, we feel more connected.
  • Reconnect by working on non-verbal communication.  Stand or sit closer together.  Try to connect physically.  Make eye contact.  All of these will change the feel of a conversation.  It is more difficult to argue from a relaxed sitting position.
  • Apologize with sincerity.

Has your date night ever gone south?  How did you reconnect?