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There’s an old saying that you should never go to bed angry in a marriage. While that’s great in theory, sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees.

When you’re in the middle of an argument, it can be helpful to take a step back and try to view the argument with fresh eyes.

Relationships aren’t always the glowing, happy experiences of Hallmark movies.

While my husband and I have built a solid marriage over the last ten years, our relationship isn’t perfect by a long shot, and it’s something that we’re continuously working on.

Creating a lasting, solid relationship requires continuous work, time, and effort. Sometimes, though, the work and effort might be put to better use at a later time.

Why you need to take a step back

No relationship is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth working on.

Granted, there are some relationships that are better off ending, especially in cases of abuse, but many relationship issues are solvable with a little work on both ends.

Maybe you’ve said things that you regret. When my husband and I were dating, we “broke up” for ten months because of the things that I said.

If you find yourself frustrated with the relationship or nagging, complaining, and picking apart things that don’t really need to be fixed, like I was, you may want to evaluate the relationship from a different perspective.

Here’s how you can benefit by taking a step back from your problems:

  1. You’ll be able to solve problems with a clear and more rational mindset
  2. Your concerns, as well as your partner’s, may be eased with time
  3. You’ll create a more fulfilling, understanding relationship

How to take a step back

Taking a step back and being able to evaluate your relationship from a new perspective is easier said than done. When you and your spouse are not seeing eye-to-eye, here’s how to take a step back and view your relationship objectively:

1. Listen

Are you really hearing what your spouse is saying? Sometimes in an argument, it’s easy to focus on what you know and believe to be correct.

Maybe you’re focusing on one thing and taking his words out of context. Maybe you’re putting your own spin on the argument. You may find that you’re not actually hearing your spouse’s viewpoints.

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2. Try to see the other’s perspective

Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes.

Are there extenuating circumstances that caused the argument? How did that make your spouse feel? How would you feel if you were in your spouse’s shoes?

3. Be open to suggestions

As much as we’d like to believe, we aren’t always right and we don’t have all the answers. Your spouse may have a valid concern.

4. Work on yourself

Is there a reason why you’re having this argument? Did you have a bad day at work and then your spouse added to your stress? Are you tired or not feeling up to par?

If that’s the case, save the discussion for another day.

If you’re already frustrated and stressed and upset, having a heated discussion with your spouse is not the best idea. Try to do something to de-stress, like read a book, take a bath or shower, exercise, or find a quiet place to relax for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at the clarity you’ll have after just a few minutes.

If you need to take a break from the argument, make sure that you explain that to your spouse. If you abruptly stalk off, leaving the argument unfinished, you’ll only exasperate the situation (I speak from experience on this one).

Calmly explain that you want to think about everything that’s already been discussed. Then choose a better time to finish the conversation.

Make sure that you actually take the time to finish the discussion, though, or the same issues may erupt on a larger scale at a later date (speaking from experience again).

Relationships aren’t easy, and it can be hard to view them objectively. When you’re in the midst of an argument, or when things aren’t going the way you think they should, a mental breather may be just what you need!

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