Husband and I recently had a fight. Arguments are not unusual for us. Over the past 14 years we have certainly had our screaming (usually me), cursing (usually me), semi tantrum (me too) blow ups. We are also prone to bickering. Sarcasm is just part of our language.
A couple of years ago, I noticed that the fights seemed to occur far to often. A couple of times a week we would be fighting and the days in between were filled with endless bickering.
Hence, began my journey to finding techniques to improve my marriage, starting first with learning how to fight better.
One day my friend was chatting with me about an argument she had with her husband. I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but there is something that she said that has stuck with me ever since. She pointed the finger to herself and said, “My accountable version is this….”
Accountable version. What a concept. To point the finger at oneself rather than at husband. Did I ever do this? Take responsibility for my actions? Or was I always so busy blaming that I forgot that I play my own part in every argument.
I was captivated by this idea. Husband and I fought so often and I was so fed up with it! Something had to change or we were not going to make it to “happily ever after.”
Sitting there with her at that moment, I decided that I was going to start being accountable in arguments. I was going to try to point the finger at my self and not at husband. What could it hurt? I needed something, anything to help me resolve the constant arguing.
This is how our arguments have changed. When we argue it may still include screaming (still me), cursing (still me) and semi tantrums (me too), but it will always come to a point where we take a deep breath and turn the finger on ourselves.
Here is what I have learned. It is much easier to solve a disagreement when you are not constantly pointing blame.
Does this mean that I let my husband always be right? Absolutely Not!!!! What it means is that I recognize that I play a definite part in any disagreement that escalates to a fight. Maybe I overreacted. Maybe I said something that was mean. Maybe I didn’t do a good job of listening. Maybe I raised my voice and it was uncalled for. Whatever my role was, I apologize for it.
When we look at ourselves and how we contributed to an argument and apologize for it, we can get back down to being respectful of each other. We can get back to listening to each other’s concerns and talking about it as two adults who love each other should.
When I take accountability for my actions it diffuses the anger. When I point fingers it escalates it. And simply by example, my husband has started doing the same thing. Even though I have to bite my tongue so hard sometimes it feels like it is going to bleed, this technique has helped to transform our marriage. We fight so much less and when we do, we are better at resolving it.
Being accountable has just become a way of life now. Not only in arguments, but in every area of life. I am in control of the outcomes I want in life. There is no one to blame but me.
Today’s lesson in improving my marriage: Always have an accountable version.