According to The New York Times Magazine, April 18, 2010, in an article that ponders the question, “Is marriage good for your health?” surprising studies show that people who fight are not in danger. The research shows it’s not the fight that determines whether the marriage is good for you and your partner. It doesn’t matter how difficult the argument or how angry the fight, what matters is whether the people fighting stay connected. That’s right, you have to tell you partner right in the middle of a fight that you still love them. You have to find a way to grab their hand or call him or her a pet name, and you have to do this right in the middle of the argument or fight.
If you can do this you will have a happy heart and not suffer from stress. When we argue without connection to our partner we put stress on our hearts and other parts of our body. We get all keyed up and mad, sometimes we even get hateful. The key, according to research, is to find a way to make a connection with the person we are fighting with, during the argument.
Usually couples will have it out with each other and then they’ll have to wait until all the energy inside them dies down so they can talk to each other again, talk about what happened and start some sort of repair process to reconnect. Research shows us that if you can find a way to get out of the anger for just a second and make an overture to your partner, a small gesture or a couple of loving words are all that’s needed, you will keep yourself from getting into that mad zone that takes so long to come back from.
Going there, the mad place, and staying there, is one of the most harmful things you can do to your body. Your body is now dealing with enormous amounts of energy. It’s all stored up inside each of you and it has to go somewhere. Maybe some of it get’s released through loud words said to each other, but chances are if you are yelling at the other person you are pretty amped up and those feelings are going to take some time to dissipate. It’s this period that has the most negative impact on your body; elevated stress hormones, elevated risk of diabetes, elevated risk of heart disease, immune system weakens, increased risk of depression, nasty stuff to keep inside yourself.
Why not think of this now, before the next blow up. Talk with your partner, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend and discuss the damage you each are doing to yourselves when you get in prolonged arguments. Gain an understanding of the toxicity that fighting without connecting can produce.
Maybe you can come up with your special way of connecting before the argument begins. Why not create a safe word or a funny phrase, a physical gesture or make a silly face. Anything will work, as long as it brings the two of you close. The idea isn’t to end the argument or fight. The technique is designed to give the two of you a place away from the war zone. It doesn’t even have to last a long time. It just has to last a moment. If you can do this the research says you will be served by your relationship, instead of it feeling like a weight.
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