Topic: repairing after a fight
Q: Is there an easier way to repair the damage after a fight where both my husband and I have said hurtful things to each other? It seems when I try to start discussing what happened again more calmly, we end up back in the thick of it all over again.
Fights are always a bit messy, but repairing begins when one person takes responsibility for the hurtful words and actions that they chose.
I say chose because one of the mistakes we often make is attempting to justify our actions based on how we were feeling.
Once you try to justify things, the other person will do the same, and then you are right back to where you started.
The harder and higher ground is to own up to your poor choices regardless of what your spouse did.
Saying “I’m sorry for being disrespectful in how I spoke to you when I was upset” will get the ears of most men tuning in. Just make sure not to follow it with, “ ..but...because you…”
No buts. Just I’m sorry for being disrespectful, or any other adjective that you choose.
I know women have gotten really upset at me for suggesting they take the initiative with phrases like these and ask the question: “Why should I have to go first? I do all the work in our marriage to try to make things better!”
The choice is always yours to continue doing what you’ve always done, but if that’s not bringing more peace and emotional intimacy, then I suggest a new route, and it’s going to to require one of you taking the high road, and being more vulnerable first.
If Allah SWT gives you the capacity to repair, then why not be the repairer?
Here are several ahadith to consider as inspiration to hasten to take responsibility for your personal faults out of love and respect for your husband, but also so that in front of Allah SWT, you have also taken yourself to account.
The Prophet (SAW) said: "The best of the two persons is the one who begins with salam." (Related by Nawawi in his book Al-Adkar)
Abu Hurairah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The gates of Jannah are opened on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave (of Allah) is granted forgiveness if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancour against his (Muslim) brother, they will not be pardoned and with regard to them it will be said twice: 'Hold both of them until they are reconciled with each other."' (Muslim).
May Allah SWT allow us all to remember that we stand alone in front of Him on the Day of Judgment, and therefore, we should strive to be responsible for our character made up by our actions and intentions, regardless of who has upset us or why we got upset.
When a conversation becomes a fight it's because both people are no longer listening to each other's perspectives and having an open dialogue. Instead, out of defensiveness or insecurity, voices get raised, personal criticisms are doled out, and the next thing you know the conversation is out of hand.
To return to a discussion is to do so when you both can mind your manners, hear the other each other's perspective, and be patient with each other in finding a middle ground for both of you.
If you have genuinely apologized and your spouse gets upset when trying to return to the original topic at hand it may be best to let them know you want to talk but see they aren't ready yet.
Give them some space to think over things and come back to you when they are ready to talk. This way the apologize has time soften their heart and you've offered them control in opening the topic up again.
With time, you both will learn how to take turns offering this space to each other. Your husband will apologize first at times and you during others. The goal is to improve your communicate habits.