My husband and I have gotten into some ridiculous fights. We had one recently involving ice cream. He scooped more for himself than me. Something so insignificant triggered something in me and we had a solid fight—but not about ice cream. When it was over, we did the best part: We made up. In successful marriages, reconnecting after a fight is more important than ending one.
Reconnecting after a fight gives you a chance to understand each other more and move to a deeper level of intimacy. Sure, you should apologize, but it’s more than that and it’s definitely more than just make-up sex. Try these 9 ways to reconnect and I bet you’ll be stronger after your next fight.
In successful marriages, reconnecting after a fight is more important than ending one.
What’s most important: the issue, making your point, or your marriage? Sometimes you just have to let go of the need to be right or to make him understand. If it’s an issue that you think needs to be addressed again, ask for a date and time that you can sit and talk about it. But for now, let go and focus on reconnecting.
Talk about what triggered you.
Part of growth is recognizing what got the fight going in the first place. Wait to talk about this until you are both calm. My fight with my husband didn’t start because I was hungry. Seeing the disparity between my husband’s amount of ice cream and my own triggered feelings of neglect. I felt like I had to sacrifice again. I got to tell him that lately I’d been feeling drained by the amount of meal planning and cooking I’d been doing.
Express how you felt during the fight.
During fights, I say and do things I later regret. I know I’ve hurt my husband. If I give him a chance to say that the way I spoke to him made him feel disrespected or unappreciated, I’m learning some of his core needs and desires.
Write each other love notes.
Don’t make the note about the issue or even an apology. Just write about your love and why it’s special. Not only will writing it give you all the feels, he’ll have it around to reread when he needs a boost.
Speak one another’s love languages.
A great tool for reconnecting after a fight is focusing on what makes the other person feel loved. My husband’s love language is “words of affirmation.” That’s not my preferred way to express love, but if it means our relationship will be mended, I know it’s worth the awkwardness.
Look at old photos.
Pour a glass of wine or brew some coffee, cuddle up and watch a photo slide show on your phone of your last vacation. Or better yet, get out your wedding album or photos from when you were dating and talk about some of your first dates, how you felt, and what made you fall in love.
Do something super sappy and romantic.
Is there anything that feels so romantic that it makes you roll your eyes? Good! Do that. Dance in the living room in the dark. Eat dessert by candlelight after the kids have gone to bed. Have a picnic on a blanket in the park. The act itself, while a little bit cheesy, communicates that you are willing to put other things aside and focus on each other.
Share 5 things you appreciate about each other.
Relationship expert John Gottman found that happy couples maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions, even in conflict. So start now with building up the positives.
Go to bed together.
After you’ve exchanged apologies, hopefully, there’s no lingering bitterness. If there is, it can be tempting to turn in while your husband stays up to watch TV or scroll Twitter. Going to bed together confirms your commitment to each other, gets you in sync, and helps you connect at the end of the day.
Which one of these do you think could be the key to reconnecting after a fight? Do you have other tools you use?