When you get tense or angry, take responsibility for your behavior. Work hard to stay C.A.L.M by taking the following steps:
(Consider, Ask, Limit, Monitor)
Consider the potential for destructiveness before you speak during tense moments. Remember the wrecks–the conversations that have ended destructively. Consider how wasteful and distasteful those moments were, and how easily they could have been avoided.
Ask yourself critical questions that force you to think–to get your mind going before your words start flowing. Ask yourself any or all the following questions:
- ●What am I trying to accomplish?
- ●Is this going to be redemptive?
- ●Am I, or is my partner, in the right mind right now?
- ●How and when can I say this at a better time in a better way?
- ●Is this comment or gesture going to help or hurt, build, or destroy?
- ●Is the relationship able to bear the weight of this moment?
Limit your words. The Bible teaches us to avoid arguments by turning off our mouths.
Monitor your body language and your spouse’s body language. See and feel both what is and what is not being said.
Whatever happens, refuse to take up A.R.M.S (Anger, Rage, Malice, and Slander) in your own defense. Control yourself. Your partner needs to feel secure before he or she can begin to confide in you.
Trust or security is necessary for constructive conversations and redemptive relationships. Your goal is to get your partner to feel safe enough to share what he or she truly feels no matter how painful and upsetting it may be for you to hear. Your partner must feel that what he or she is going to say will really count for something. If your spouse feels that there is no point in speaking to you, then no matter how you probe and prod, you will not get a meaningful response. Never let anger be your motivation for speaking; and don’t open your mouth when your heart is closed.
Finally, here are some practical ways to avert catastrophic moments:
Avoid the 5 deadly D’s that lead to destructive conversations:
- ●Dumping: Throwing all of your emotions onto your spouse.
- ●Debating: Trying to win an argument instead of seeking mutual understanding
- ●Denial: Refusing to accept any responsibility for your behavior
- ●Deriding: Insulting your spouse
- ●Defending yourself: Making excuses to justify your behavior
Common Sense: Know when to stop and let the steam out of the room.
When you feel that you can’t control your anger, or you feel that your spouse’s anger is becoming uncontrollable, give yourself emotional and physical space. Excuse yourself politely, and walk away to gather your thoughts and to pray.
When your partner gets tense, look for the the root to find the truth.
Conflicts are like weeds. You can’t get rid of them until you find the root. Don’t fight the effects; find the cause. Don’t respond to angry words or gestures–those are just effects. Try to find the reasons that led to those emotions.