This article was originally published on the Jacob's website, Nurturing Marriage. It has been reprinted here with permission.
When differences arise with our spouses, we often elect to dig in our heels and fight rather than raise the white flag. No one wants to admit he was wrong or be the first to apologize. Perhaps we hope to prove a point. Perhaps we're competitive and want to "win." But, deep inside, we all know that life is way better when we just kiss and make up (or make out!).
Here's a little technique that can turn almost any frustration into a unifying experience — and it's fun too! We like to call it...
"Kissing it out of them."
There's a reason kissing has been called a "gateway drug." Obviously, it has quite an effect on people. It stirs feelings inside each of us when we kiss that special someone, and that's why kissing is the perfect prescription for the "marital blues."
In "kissing it out of them," the "it" refers to stubbornness, pride, orneriness — that part of us that wants to hold a grudge, dig down and be mad. But even though we may feel frustrated or hurt in the moment, what we really want, deep down, is to feel loved and cared for and to give love and care in return.
A while ago, my spouse and I made a deal with each other. In those moments when one of us gets frustrated and ornery, the job of the other one is to "kiss it out of them." This essentially means that the non-ornery spouse cuddles, caresses, massages and kisses the ornery spouse until he or she is no longer ornery (and it's no fair faking being ornery just to get pampered).
Understandably, these actions are not immediately reciprocated. Remember, you're dealing with a frustrated spouse here! Sometimes it may take 5-10 minutes or more, but bad feelings tend to disappear when someone is expressing such love to you! Before you know it, apologies (if needed) follow, and you and your spouse find yourselves even closer than you were before the trouble began.
While this may not work for every disagreement (sometimes each spouse might just need to get out for a bit of fresh air, write things down, talk through things or take a break), this technique does have a high success rate. So, talk to your spouse about trying it. If you're both on board, it rarely fails. Not only will the overflowing expressions of love change rain into sunshine, but simply knowing that your spouse cares enough to stick with it and love a "prickly pear" will work wonders for your marriage.
It certainly takes a measure of patience, understanding and humility to successfully "kiss it out of them," but it is also most certainly worth it.
Showing love and affection to your spouse is always a good idea. It can bridge gaps and settle trivial disputes. The next time your spouse is feeling a bit ornery, give it a try and see if you can "kiss it out of them."
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.