Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.
No matter how right each person in a relationship thinks they are, neither one really wants to stay mad forever. For most healthy couples, making up after a big fight is preferable to divorce. Learn more about what to do when you want to make up with your husband or wife after a big fight.
If you are committed to making amends after a big fight with your husband or wife, lover, or boyfriend or girlfriend, making up and moving forward is easier than you think.
No matter what the cause of your last fight with your spouse, there is no point in playing the argument over and over again in your head. Trying to figure out who is right, who is wrong, or who started the argument doesn’t get either of you any closer to making up and moving on after the melt-down.
Here are some ways to help you and your partner get back on track after an argument, a misunderstanding, or a relationship meltdown.
Tips for Making Up After a Big Fight
- Acknowledge your role in the argument.
- Listen to your spouse with an open heart.
- Express regret after you have said or done something hurtful.
- Give it time.
- Remember, most people don't stop loving each other after a big fight.
1. Acknowledge Your Role in the Argument
Acknowledge your role in the argument. Owning up to your words and deeds and apologizing for your actions is the best way to bring some closure to the argument and break the dreaded silent treatment. Fights and arguments are never fun. If you are in pain, you can be pretty sure that your spouse is, too. Even though he or she may still be acting stand-offish and defensive, someone has to make the first move. It might as well be you. Why? Because you are the only one who can take responsibility for your half of the relationship. That's the first step in making up after a big fight: taking responsibility.
Wishing and waiting and hoping that your spouse will say sorry first is the same as trying to make him or her behave in a certain way. You can’t change someone else. But you can change yourself. Holding back and staying silent isn't the answer to making up after a fight, either. Offering a sincere, excuse-free apology for your part of the argument is the next step in making up and moving on after a fight.
2. Listen to Your Spouse With an Open Heart
Listen to your spouse with an open heart. Making up after an argument requires that you set aside your own viewpoint and try to see the situation from your partner’s perspective. No matter how difficult it is, try to listen to what your spouse has to say, without jumping in and correcting him or her. Listening to another person mindfully, without interrupting, without judging and without feeling the need to establish right and wrong, is one of the most loving, caring things you can do for someone. And doesn’t your husband or wife deserve to feel your love and care?
In Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment, authors and marriage counselors Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. and Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D. share why interrupting your spouse creates big communication barriers in your marriage. They write, “Interrupting people while they are speaking is probably the most common type of devaluation in communication. When you are interrupted, the other person is saying: ‘I am more important that you are. My point of view has priority.’ Interruptions always cause problems in communication although neither party realizes why their interaction has become obstructed.”
Sometimes it is far worse to win the fight than lose.
— Billie Holiday
Read More From Pairedlife
3. Express Regret After You Have Said or Done Something Hurtful
Expressing regret after you have said or done something that hurt the person you love the most can be difficult. But saying sorry isn't necessarily hard because you don't want to give up being right. Saying sorry can be hard because you want to sound sincere and genuine, but you don't know the right words to express how bad you feel. You know you want to make up after a big fight, you just can't find the right words.
Here are some ways to express your regret in a card or letter to your spouse, from the book Thinking of You, Card Greetings for Every Occasion, by Katie Hewat:
"Please forgive me if what I [did/said] upset you. I never meant to hurt you and it breaks my heart to think that I have made you sad."
"I don't expect forgiveness. I just want you to know that you didn't deserve what happened between us. I am sincerely sorry."
"You are the one thing in my life that I am supposed to love, protect and value above all else. I'll try my very best to make sure I never lose sight of what's important again. I'm so very sorry I let you down."
4. Give It Time
Give it time. After a big fight, the balance and harmony in your marriage may have been thrown off kilter. Even when you and your partner have come to an adult resolution to your fight and talked through the problem, give yourselves time to warm up to each other and find your groove again. Making up after a big fight takes time. but if you are patient, it will happen. Reconnecting with your partner, husband, or wife after a fight requires a conscious effort on your part. And it’s worth it if you really want to make up with your lover!
Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.
— Margaret J. Wheatley
What is the right way to make up after a fight?
5. Remember, Most People Don't Stop Loving Each Other After a Big Fight
Most healthy people don't stop loving each other after a big fight. But sometimes it's hard to find the courage to say 'I love you' after you and your partner have argued. Say those words too soon after a big fight and you may come across as needy. But wait too long to say, '"I love you" and you might regret it later.
If saying the words " I love you" after a fight is hard, here are a few wordless ways to express how you feel:
- Nothing says "I love you" like giving your spouse your full attention when he or she is speaking. This is especially important after a fight since a communication breakdown was likely part of the problem in the first place.
- Respect your spouse’s right to make his or her own personal decisions, even when you disagree.
- Don’t be afraid to gently ask for a hug. Saying ‘I love you’ after a fight means showing your spouse that his or her affection will always be needed and desired.
What do you think? What are the best ways to make up after a big fight?
Patience is the companion of wisdom.
— Saint Augustine
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Sadie Holloway