We have a disagreement, it escalates into an argument, and whether or not things are resolved, we sweep it under the rug and move on with our day. As the days and weeks go on, we find ourselves dealing with resentment bubbling up under the surface, and sometimes coming out in some not-so-pretty ways.
While this may not happen quite as much if the conflict was resolved, after a disagreement we are often left feeling as though we have emotional rug burn. It may not be an open wound, but we certainly still feel fairly tender.
This is why something I like to call “argument aftercare” is so important. Argument aftercare occurs when we follow the conflict by saying something like, “Hey, I know we had a disagreement, but I want you to know that I love you. What can I do to help you feel taken care of and loved?”
Some examples of simple ways to take care of one another include:
– Offering to get the other person a drink or snack
– Hugging one another for 6+ seconds
– Going for a walk with one another to enjoy a change of scenery
– Offering apologies to one another for anything you did or anything that happened during the conversation that may have hurt the other person
– Taking a few minutes to plan extra time together that afternoon/evening/week so that you can enjoy one another and even do something fun
Take cues from each other and communicate about what will help each of you feel loved and taken care of. It may be the same thing for both of you or it may be different. Either way is okay, just be attentive to one another and be intentional about caring for each other.
Instead of each person feeling vulnerable, frustrated, and disconnected, taking the time for “argument aftercare” helps to reestablish connection and teamwork—creating an opportunity to remind one another that you are partners, working together to achieve a common goal, even when you disagree.
If you would like additional support to work through challenging conversations or to reconnect with your partner, check out our resources at CatholicCounselors.com.
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