5 Conflict Resolution Strategies To Try When Your Spouse Is Driving You Crazy

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5 Conflict Resolution Strategies To Try When Your Spouse Is Driving You Crazy

Is your spouse driving you crazy? Was your marriage hard enough before the quarantine began? Are you finding it nigh on impossible to resolve any relationship problems now that you're stuck at home?

You are not alone.

Divorce attorneys are reporting higher than average inquiries into the divorce process and researchers are not expecting a "COVID-19 baby boom."

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Due to the quarantine and isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, people are struggling individually and sometimes even more so as couples.

So, what can you do when your spouse is driving you crazy, both during these crazy times and once things get back to normal?

There are 5 conflict resolution strategies you can try when your spouse is driving you nuts.

1. Take a time out.

If your spouse is driving you crazy, the most important thing to do is to get away from them. Yes, it's easier said than done these days but it is possible.

Your biggest enemy when your spouse is driving you crazy is proximity.

When you are in the same space with someone who is watching T.V. all day or farting often or slurping their coffee or whatever, unless you get away from them, you will most likely explode. And you probably already know from previous experience that exploding doesn’t make anything better.

So, what can you do to take your time out? Ideally, you would be able to go for a walk or a run. Exercise and sunshine are the best medicines when we are feeling angry or stressed out.

If it’s possible, go outside and as far away from your spouse as possible. If you can’t go outside, go into another room, take a bath, watch your own T.V. show, or read a book. Put some distance between the two of you.

If your space is really cramped, headphones can be a lifesaver. Listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. Or, you can simply use your headphones as earplugs.

If you can’t hear your person, more than likely, you will no longer be annoyed by them. Out of sight — or hearing — and out of mind.

2. Communicate.

Yes, talking to them will just make it worse, right? And it will, if you do it right at the moment that your spouse is driving you crazy.

After you get enough space for your frustration and anger to dissipate, talk to your spouse about what is driving you crazy. Do it in a certain way in order for it to be successful.

If the way he slurps his coffee drives you nuts, tell him that the slurping sound makes you feel irritated. Not so much that you are irritated by him but at the sound of the slurping.

Of course, you can’t get mad at the coffee, so maybe it's possible for him to make an effort not to slurp. If the noise is gone or reduced, you most likely won’t be as irritated.

If you tell your husband that he is driving you crazy by slurping his coffee, he will get defensive because you are attacking his actions. Instead, talking about how his actions make you feel is something that he can’t argue with.

3. Cut them some slack.

One thing my therapist pointed out to me a long time ago is that none of us are perfect. And, of course, we rarely set out to drive each other crazy.

Be honest, do you think that your husband is slurping coffee just to annoy you or is it a longstanding habit that you used to find endearing?

With that thought in mind, perhaps his actions would bother you less if you recognize that he isn’t setting out to drive you crazy — he is simply a person in the world who isn’t perfect.

There are probably a few things that you do that drive him nuts as well, and you do them because you aren’t perfect either, not because you want to bother him.

So, let your partner off the hook sometimes. It’s way better than getting all worked up.

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4. Consider what is really going on.

I used to snap at my ex-husband a lot. Of course, some of it was because he was driving me crazy but, more often than not, there was something else going on.

I remember a lot of snapping when we were trying to get the kids out the door, getting them into bed, managing to get to a family event, or some other mundane but incredibly frustrating daily activity.

So, when your spouse is driving you crazy, take a moment and consider if it is actually them irritating you or if there is something else going on. It could be work or a body ache, your mother, or any other myriad of things.

If you can stop yourself before you get too frustrated, then the damage to your marriage might be minimal.

5. Get physical.

A hug can be better than a thousand words. One of the hardest things to do when your spouse is driving you crazy is to touch them, but it is the best thing you can do to fix it. 

I am not saying that you have to go over and hug your spouse when they are driving you crazy. But I would encourage you to do so when you have done the above steps and settled down.

Physical contact is incredibly important to keep couples connected. For many married couples, sex gets complicated the longer the marriage goes on. And as a result, physical contact can also be curtailed because everyone is insecure about what that physical touch might mean.

So, putting aside sex, make an effort to hug your spouse for 10 seconds at least once a day. They say that a 10-second hug can make a huge difference in creating a connection between couples.

Try hugging. Even if it feels kind of weird and unnatural, try it. It could make a huge difference. Even outside of times of crisis when your spouse is driving you crazy life can be unpleasant.

Of course, you can sink into the anger and resentment. That happens in marriage because of unresolved issues. Or, you can try a few simple steps to try to repair things.

Take some time away to calm yourself down, make an effort to talk to your spouse about how you are feeling, recognize that they are only human and that perhaps they have something internal happening, and reach out and touch them.

Your spouse is someone who you committed to love forever, in good times and in bad.

Try to manage those moments in time when your spouse is driving you crazy and you are way more likely to live happily ever after!

You can do it! I promise.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.