So, you had a big fight with your spouse. Maybe it was a three-hour screaming match. Maybe it was a 20-minute argument. Maybe it was one of those off-and-on fights that can last an entire weekend. Whatever the case, things were said. Anger erupted. Feelings were hurt. It happens. What’s most important after a big fight now are the steps you take to reconnect.
Arguments happen. Big ones. Little ones. It’s completely normal and healthy. Agreeing on everything isn’t possible. And a marriage without arguments — big or small — is a marriage without productivity. Arguing shows that there’s stuff to do in a relationship and that both partners are, in their way, working toward a larger goal, like attempting to understand each other and how to do better. No, it’s not ideal for arguments to spiral, and we must all learn ways to fight better and keep things from getting heated.
That said, what you do after a big fight is as important as what you do — and don’t do — during a fight. It’s easy to float around in the aftermath of an argument and just wait for things to become normal again. Understanding when someone needs time or space is essential. But acting like nothing happened is the wrong approach. It’s important to take action so that you both can, eventually, get things back to normal.
So, what can be done? Here, in no particular order, are 33 small, nice things to do after a fight.
33 Things To Do After A Big Fight
- Jot down something about how you feel. Anything. Put it in writing. The act of writing is meditative and helps you understand your thoughts better. If it’s something you want to share with your partner, do so because that’s something they can hold onto (and re-read). Even if it’s not, writing down everything helps you better sort through it.
- Resolve It Quickly (If You Can) “Explain why you were/are angry, and talk about what you feel is needed to go forward with the issue and/or prevent further fights about it,” says Laura MacLeod, a licensed social worker “Do this early. If you wake up and still feel so mad you don’t want to talk, say that. Acknowledge it and figure out when you can resolve it. Don’t let it fester.” But…
- If they need space, give it to them. Everyone processes things differently.
- Let them break the ice. Let them control the tone. If they don’t want to laugh about it, take their lead.
- Clean your house. Top to f*cking bottom. Don’t ask for credit. Don’t point out how spic and span the toilet is. Just do it to busy yourself productively.
- Play with the kids. Turn all your attention to them. This should help you cool off (if you need it) and helps make you emotionally useful while you two are shoring things up.
- Exercise, clean up, and take care of yourself. You two need to repair a rift. This starts with a bit of self-care for both of you.
- Makeup in front of the kids. Children learn by watching adults. When parents make up with each other after a fight, they should do so in front of their children to help them understand that even though people might fight and argue, it does not mean those relationships are irreparable.
- Do something to make them laugh. Shared laughter is incredibly powerful because of the neuropeptides that are released when we smile and guffaw. When partners share laughter, it can ease tension and break down walls, making it easier for a couple to find their center.
- Give them the dumbest card possible. There’s nothing more diffusing of any remaining tension than the cheesiest apology card on the greeting card rack. The sappier it is, the better.
- Write a sincere love note. Tell them that even after an argument, you are still their partner and that you will never stop loving them. They need to hear it, and you need to be reminded that’s the case. It will help.
- Tell them that they were heard. Say those words. “I heard you.” They are uncommon and they are powerful. And mean them when you say them. Follow them up with a clear explanation of what you heard them say — even if they didn’t exactly express it in the clearest way.
- If you’ve been putting off doing something boring/annoying because you don’t feel like it, now is the time to do it. Buckle down and install that damn smoke detector or fix the broken lock. It’s a small gesture that will be noticed.