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No one enjoys a fight — not even your mother-in-law! Luckily, if you sense one is brewing between yourself and someone you love while wedding planning, you can stop it in its tracks if you learn to do a few things.
“When you sense that a topic is becoming heated and that feathers are ruffled, it can be easy to squash it before it gets out of control,” says licensed marriage therapist Alisa Ruby Bash. “First, think about how passionately you feel about your side of the disagreement. Some things may be worth fighting for — but in cases where you would rather keep the peace than be right, you must have a tool belt of responses ready to calm and diffuse a tense situation.” Here are those tools.
Take a deep breath.
“Try to calm your fast heartbeat,” Bash says. “When we sense a squabble, our bodies naturally go into fight or flight mode. Picture something peaceful to try to return to your center.”
Put yourself in his or her shoes.
“Think about why they feel the way they do,” Bash says. “Then, try to respond with compassion and kindness.”
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If you can’t calm yourself, “realize that backing down might be the best approach right now,” says Bash. “Sometimes it is easier to bring up the subject again in a different time if it has not already been fought about.”
Think about what you’re really trying to say.
“What point do you really want to get across? Think quickly of a respectful, kind way to express your point in a way you’ll be heard,” Bash says. “Then, ask the person if they understand and how they feel about what you said.”
“Be willing to apologize for what you did or said that may have escalated the situation,” says Bash. “Although this might not abruptly end the argument, try to repeat it and ask the person if they can do the same.”
Finally, never walk away from a tense situation — even if it didn’t brew into a full-on fight — without “telling the person how much they mean to you, even if you have to agree to disagree,” Bash says.