Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

When you're in an argument, the worst thing you can do is say things you'll later regret.

Key Points:

  • Sometimes couples need to hit a restart button, or take a time out from the direction their conversation is headed. It’s wise to identify a code word or phrase to shut down conversation before it gets too heated. 
  • From the moment the code word is said, no other words can be said.  The code word means “I love you, but I don’t want to say something I don’t mean. We will get back to this subject later.”
  • What happens to your body when you are in a conflict situation is that it goes into fight or flight. The blood flow leaves the brain and goes to other areas of the body. You lose the ability for creative thought processing and listening skills. 
  • Take 20 minutes to an hour and allow your body to calm down from the fight or flight response.  Don’t turn to technology. Instead, try a walk, meditation, or even a small nap. Come back to the subject once you are able to have a productive conversation.  

Quote This:

Conflict can have a positive side, one that builds relationships, creates coalitions, fosters communication, strengthens institutions, and creates new ideas, rules and laws. These are the functions of conflict. – United Nations Training Manual

See Also: Marriage, Communication

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. What’s the worst argument you and your spouse have ever had? What was it about and why did it escalate? 
  3. What are the common mistakes you both tend to make when in a heated conversation?
  4. What code word or phrase could you and your spouse choose? How can you ensure that both parties are willing to pause as soon as it is uttered?
  5. Make a list of ways to cool down ahead of time. Why do you think turning to a screen would not be the most effective method of redirecting frustration?
  6. Why is it important to develop healthy communications skills? What are you willing to do to learn those?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.