When we’re in the thick of it, many of us desperately want to stop fighting with our loved ones, but don’t know how.
We hope for peaceful resolution—but even if we get it, it can be so fleeting.
My husband, Brian, and I used to fight all the time.
Deep in my heart, I didn’t want that for us. I wanted our relationship to be a source of consistent joy, inspiration, and wonder.
Today, nearly 10 years later, it is.
I now know exactly what to do to put out the fire before one of us gets burned.
It all boils down to a 3-step process I’m going to share with you here. It may sound simple, but don’t underestimate it. These 3 steps literally saved my marriage.
The 3 Steps to Stop Fighting
Here’s a personal anecdote to help you understand how these 3 steps work in practice.
Just the other day, I found myself in the middle of a fight with Brian. Things had gotten heated and we were both escalating pretty quickly into the Stress Response.
In the Stress Response, we don’t have much choice over what comes out of our mouth. We are in full fight-or-flight mode and will do whatever it takes to make sure that WE win the fight, NOT the other person.
We started saying unkind things—the familiar words that long-term couples can so easily dig out and hurl at each other.
And then, in a moment of absolute grace, I remembered the 3 steps of The Feel Good Life Methodology and began to practice them immediately:
Step 1: Stop
I noticed the tension in my body, and the desire to lash out with my words. I literally stopped myself from taking any further action.
Step 2: Slow Down and Breathe
I took a few slow, deep abdominal breaths that helped me move back towards calm.
Step 3: Slow Down and Breathe
I told Brian I would be back in 5 minutes, went to my bedroom, put on my favorite song, “I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor—I know, I know!!!—and sang and danced wildly and playfully for the whole song.
The combination of movement and singing brought me back to the Relaxation Response, where I could once again reconnect to the peace, love, and joy that always lives in me.
I came back downstairs, told Brian that I loved him and that I wanted to work things out in a loving way. Within minutes, we found a resolution to our differences.
I feel so deeply grateful that this simple practice can pivot my experience so fast and create harmony rather than conflict in my relationships.
We need this practice more than ever.
I encourage you to try this practice for yourself.
How do you imagine these three simple steps might serve your relationships in the moments you need them the most?
I’m a healer, teacher, and licensed therapist sharing tools to help you relieve stress and restore well-being.