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Recently I had a virus and had a hard time shaking it. Just when I thought it was gone, it came back stronger. I know from experience that this is often when the turning point back to health will happen. I needed to not only take care of myself, but to look at how I had gotten sick in the first place.

Relationships can be that way too. Just when you feel that you won’t get through an issue, a breakthrough is often just ahead. Don’t despair. I remember years ago when we would argue, we both would feel like giving up. We didn’t. The next day we would grow to a new point and see how to resolve our differences.

We needed to learn to look at ourselves first. Are we being defensive? Did we project our bad mood all over our spouse? Did we feel hurt by our partner’s actions and need to share this with them? Were we being insensitive? If you ask yourself these questions, you will figure out the answer. Long ago it used to take me until after I had had a good night’s sleep to see what both of us had done (particularly me) and what was involved. Today I see the issue in just a little while. It took work and self-knowledge and honesty for my husband and I to get there faster. So be patient with your selves.

No two people are exactly alike. You are going to have differences. None of us starts out wanting to argue and hurt our partner. We can get all caught up in blame, judgment, defensiveness or whatever when we disagree. Step back and look at yourself first. Then have an honest and kind talk with your spouse. This takes self discipline, a deep breath rather than react, and a commitment to do all that you need to do to make your relationship better. You can do this and you will be glad you did. I know that we are.