At Family TLC we teach couples anger management strategies such as don’t take things personally, stay calm, listen first and breathe. “Easier said than done,” many of our clients have told us. It’s one thing to learn and practice calming strategies when nothing’s going on, it’s another to use them when a spouse is pushing all of your buttons.

“How can I be so calm one minute, and then the next minute my spouse does or says something and I’m storming off or yelling or shutting down?”

Great question! With our spouse we always want things to be synchronized. We believe we need to be in harmony in order for us to stay together. We subconsciously expect our dreams, visions and thoughts to be in line, happily ever after. So we get scared when things are not synchronized. It hurts us when our spouse does not like something we do or thinks differently about us than we do about ourselves.

Think about this: Do you get mad when a friend doesn’t like your outfit, or when your buddy forgets to wipe up the counter after he makes a sandwich, or your carpool partner decides to drive a different route than you would, or your co-worker cannot remember what you take in your coffee? Probably not, but boy do you get mad when your spouse makes the same transgressions.

Be careful what you wish for. If everything with your partner was synchronized then you will end up being the same and the things about your partner that you were attracted to may disappear. So instead of being ticked off about the things that don’t fit into what you want, celebrate your differences and embrace the genuine uniqueness of your partner.

Always ask yourself, “Is this really worth the fight?” Remember – you love each other. Above all, respect your differences and see how being out of harmony actually helps you play a more beautiful tune.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

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