How to make up after a fight
Successful relationships require effort. Just as cherishing the special moments you have together is important, so is learning how to make up after a fight. We won’t sugarcoat it — in some cases, fighting is inevitable, and it’s up to the both of you to decide how you want to move past your argument once the air has settled.
If you want to know how to move past a fight with your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend or partner, then you should know the following: this list is NOT a guide to winning an argument, nor is it a set of tools you can use to justify why your other half was out of line. Instead, this is a list about how to recover your relationship after a big argument. What’s more, these tools might actually help you build up your relationship and make it even stronger than it was before.
Of course, none of these tips are a replacement for coaching, which we highly recommend. However, this list is a great place to start when it comes to getting your bearings after a tiff with your spouse. With that said, here’s how to make up after a fight in four steps.
How to make up after a fight with your partner
1. Assume positive intent
The first piece of the puzzle when it comes to moving past a fight involves assuming that your partner has positive intentions. This means that even though you may feel hurt, you can still presume that they still mean well, and come from a good place.
Why? Because now that the fight has been declared as “over,” both you and your partner have made a committed decision to heal from it. We won’t lie — it can be really hard to see good in your spouse when you’re still reeling from something nasty your other half just said, and your inner dialogue is filling your head with negative thoughts about your partner. But the simple truth is that there’s no good in holding an endless grudge against the person you love.
If you’re truly interested in making up, then your best tactic is to start by giving your partner the benefit of the doubt. Assume that they are kind and want to help you, and not that they’ve got bad intentions or are out to get you. This will be the foundation that allows both of you to unpack what happened, assess your current situation, and move on.
If you’re not ready to assume positive intent, wait a little longer until your emotions run cooler. Trust us; it’s worth waiting until you can discuss things with a calm mindset.
2. Start the change yourself
Fights are the byproduct of differing points of view. That doesn’t mean your partner was right to instigate or fuel a fight, nor does it mean you are to blame for the way things escalated. Still, there are always factors that lead up to a fight, and those factors need to be addressed.
Think about what your relationship is like when you’re not fighting, and what might have caused you and your partner to go off on one another. If you know your relationship issues well, you probably have an idea of what needs to change in order for you to be happier. Maybe you need to communicate better, be more intimate, make more time for each other… the list goes on.
The problem is, most couples get caught in a loop of partner-blaming, where they tell their significant other that they need to change in order for things to work better. But you can’t force anyone to change. That breeds resentment; worse, it leads to pent up anger and passive aggressiveness, which creates even bigger fights. Instead, it’s much easier to make the change yourself.
What do we mean by that? Think about it: while all relationships take work on both sides, it only takes one person to set a new course. Start behaving in ways that are conducive to a healthier relationship, and if your partner is onboard, they’ll fall in step with you. If not? They’ll falter, and you’ll learn a lot more about the health of your relationship.
3. Let go of boundaries
After a big fight, many couples set up new boundaries in their relationship. For instance, if one partner is accused of bombarding the other with questions as soon as they get home, one partner might insist that they leave them alone — and if they don’t, they’re going to have a big fight about it.
Unfortunately, boundaries like these end up doing more harm than good. Why? Because setting a boundary turns all your energy toward preventing a situation you don’t want, instead of creating a situation that you do want. It also builds resentment in your partner, and makes them feel like they’ll be in “the doghouse” if they don't follow your rules.
Think of it this way: making a boundary is akin to keeping people out of your house by slamming the door and putting all your weight behind it. That may work, but how are you supposed to enjoy what’s inside your home when you’re stuck holding the door shut?
Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, focus on what you do want going forward. This is as simple as making the switch from “don’t talk to me right when I get home” to “I want to have our conversations about our day over dinner.” You’re still essentially asking for the same thing, but the tone has shifted dramatically.
4. Choose to be happy, not right
This is a tough one. Sometimes, someone in a fight is just wrong. But if you don’t eventually choose to be happy — and instead choose to always be right — then the fighting never ends.
When you’re fighting with your partner, ask yourself: “Would I rather be right or happy?” The goal is to choose to be happy. Instead of penalizing your spouse every time you get the chance, try making a resolution that’s more productive, and think of ways that you can continue to be happy, instead of new ways to fight.
For instance, maybe you just need ten to fifteen minutes a day to sit down with your spouse and talk. If the two of you have any grievances, you can air them then. After, make the choice to spend the rest of your night being happy. After all, instead of fighting about who was in the wrong over something petty, why not spend your time creating new, happy memories together?
Addressing arguments with perseverance
If you’ve made it this far, then you know that a lot of these steps are NOT easy to follow at first, especially when you’ve been in a pattern of consistently fighting for so long. But, once again, if you’re truly committed to making up after a fight, these are the steps you’ll need to take.
Of course, nobody should have to walk the tricky road of relationship maintenance alone. Coaching is a great place to receive additional insights and support… and we’re pretty good at it. If you need help getting over a fight (or ANY aspect of your relationship that you’re struggling with), we’re on standby. Our coaches are ready to help you.