Avoiding Friday Night Fights - Part 5: Time for Timeout

Sometimes when we find ourselves in a heated argument with our spouse, we are so physically and emotionally wound-up that we will say something that we can’t take back later. You know how awful it feels afterwards when you go back to your spouse and try and make amends for what you said or did earlier that has damaged the relationship. These situations should be avoided at all cost, and one way to do this is through taking a timeout. Yes, this sounds just like the timeout that you give your toddler when they are misbehaving, and has a similar effect. The key to taking a timeout is communication and early intervention. If you notice that your emotions are escalating to the point where you feel that you are losing control, tell your partner you need to take a break from this discussion. But, make sure you tell them what you are doing! Do not just storm out of the house without explaining that you are taking time to calm down and will return to the discussion later. You must communicate your intention, and it is often helpful to explain that timeouts are something you would like to try out during a conversation that is not already involved with conflict. You and your spouse can even come up with a safe-word that signals you are headed to a timeout to simplify and speed up the process.

Lauren Barron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate who specializes in working with premarital and married couples. If you would like to set up a free consultation with Lauren, call her at (713)364-9748.

Avoiding Friday Night Fights was a blog series taking place on every Friday in the month of March. Today’s blog was the final post in that series but stay tuned to the blog or our Facebook page for updates on our latest blog posts for engaged, newlywed, and married couples each week.


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