love bites

Probably why I still have 2 good eyes

Being married for 4 and a half years hardly makes me an authority on relationships but I consider it an achievement that we’ve survived 2 kids and not stabbed each other in the eye, even though there have been times when some severe stabbing seemed imminent.

Now and then, I have people ask me how we’ve managed to not do that – the stabbing, that is. The simple answer is to keep all sharp objects out of reach during epic showdowns.

Of course, there are other steps involved, which I will get to in a minute because we all know how important it is to keep our eyes intact.

You see, over the years, we’ve worked out an arrangement on how to deal with conflict in a mature and efficient manner. Although we’ve only been married for 4 years, we were together as a couple for 6 years prior to that so technically, we’ve had a decade of opportunities to lose either one or both eyes. Like I said, major achievement.

1. Have a conflict management plan. 

I know life almost never goes according to plan but it’s still good to have one nonetheless. Our plan has been fine-tuned over an entire decade and it involves clearly communicating how we feel about our disagreements. I do it with a series of telepathic eyeball rolls and strategically-timed audible sighs.

At which point the husband is supposed to respond accordingly with sincere and heartfelt apologies explaining how he takes responsibility for the particular situation. This plan works exactly 6.38% of the time.

2. Have a backup conflict management plan.

In situations when the original plan doesn’t work because the husband says “I’m crazy and unreasonable”, the backup plan kicks in. This is where I throw in several dramatic expressions of angst like forehead-grabbing and much louder sighs. Occasionally, actual words are used to explain how I’ve been in labor for 27 hours and gone through a c-section to birth his children so I get immunity from any blame for the next 250 years.

3. No name calling.

We call each other a variety of endearing names like retard and psychopath during peace time but during arguments, we have a rule about no name calling. Even though he feels like I’ve been a raving lunatic on PMS, he doesn’t say it because that falls under the category of personal attacks. Instead, we focus on issues and feelings so there’s less chance of making it personal.

4. No storming off. 

I know certain relationship gurus advocate a cooling off period so both parties can calm down a bit. If that’s required, it must be agreed upon in a civil manner with a specified time frame. Meaning that we’ll stop and say “Ok time out. I can’t talk to you right now, let’s pick this up after an hour.” That usually gives me 60 minutes to go off and sharpen my axe before re-engaging in battle.

In any case, it can’t be one party storming off and hibernating for 3 days.

5. Always go to sleep on the same bed even when we’re mad. 

No matter how bad things get, we don’t allow sleeping on the sofa or the guest room or a hotel because being that’s a sign of commitment that we want to work things out. Sometimes, I build a fortress using a whole bunch of pillows and mark my half of the bed with a “KEEP OUT” sign but nobody gets chased out to the dog house. Ever.

If you have any other relationship tips to share, take it to the comments! 

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  • Reply jasz August 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    HB & me were just talking that day.. Our friends have asked if we ever quarrel? Our answer separately to our friends were “nope, probably just some squabbling”
    We wondered how we managed & how many other couples could have big fights throughout their married lives.
    We came to conclude that we usually stopped after some intense squabbling, either or both party will keep quiet, walk away & cool down. If there are issues that need to be ironed out, we’ll do it after we had cooled down. At the end of the day, we will still go back to the same bed & wake up the next morning with a fresh new day.

    • Reply Daphne August 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Jasz, your conflict management plan is much better than mine.

      Neither me nor the husband can keep quiet in the middle some intense squabbling. I think we need more practice. Or less.

  • Reply Jane August 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    i always remember one verse my Pastor advised for relationship matters.
    Eph 4:26 (niv)“In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
    Meaning try and resolve all arguements before bedtime. But seriously it’s very tough in real life haha. Me n my husband are still learning!

    • Reply Daphne August 15, 2011 at 10:57 am

      We got the same advice as well! Which we’ve diligently tried to execute, even if it meant pulling an all-nighter to resolve the matter. Back when we were dating, we were on the phone till like 5am once and I could hear snoring on the other end.

  • Reply Susan August 13, 2011 at 12:37 am

    No expert myself too, but what works for hubby and I is knowing which battle is worth fighting. It’s no point “winning” a fight but at the end of the day losing our best partner. That said, I must add that he’s been very patient and gives in to me most of the time.

    • Reply Daphne August 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Nicely put! :)

  • Reply Corsage @ A Dollop Of Me August 15, 2011 at 12:52 am

    We follow the same advice as Jane’s pastor (above comment). That means sleepless nights on those occasions though as we strive to resolve the issues!!

    • Reply Daphne August 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Hahaha hi-5 on that. The good thing is that usually by 3-4am, we’ll start stoning out and there’ll be more incentive to work things out faster.

  • Reply Andrea August 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

    try putting aside pride and hold husband’s hand even when you are are super super super super super * infinity pissed… works (ok… only managed this once – man it was tough) Oh plus since you are holding each other’s hands, chances of losing eyes reduces to negligible :) Can’t guarantee the hands though…

    • Reply Daphne August 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Lol! I’ll try this the next round. Maybe I’ll handcuff him first just to make sure.

  • Reply Jovin August 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Hey Daphne, sharing this clip by Mark Gungor on Tale of two brains Have accepted the fact the men and women are wired differently. Hope you have a good laugh and find alternative ways to communicate your wishes so that get granted (your way) :) Jiayou!

    • Reply Daphne August 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Hi Jovin, thanks for the link, it’s hilarious and extremely true! :)

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