Although we'd like to believe the romantic notion of eternal marital bliss, the reality is that most spouses have arguments. How each spouse responds to disagreements, expresses anger and chooses to forgive might vary a great deal depending upon individual personality as well as behaviors learned in the past. If it's your nature to extend the olive branch, you'll want an arsenal of sweet things to say to your wife to soften her heart and dissipate her anger.
Consider the reason for your wife's anger. If she's mad at you because of something you did, or forgot to do, a sincere apology can go a long way toward mending fences. Don't hedge the apology by hiding behind phrases such as "I'm sorry you feel that way." Be very direct and accept the blame.
Show you understand how she feels. Speak with compassion. Men might fear that saying "I know I hurt you" encourages more self-righteous anger, but it usually does not. Most women want to know their husbands "get it" and aren't mystified about why they're angry.
Remind yourself of all the things about her that caused you to first fall in love with her and then tell her these things. Hearing you say that you love the way she smiles, walks or cooks chicken will help her remember why she fell in love with you.
Tell her how glad you are that she is your wife, and mean it. Remember that what you say is less important than how you say it. Anything that conveys honesty and sincerity, as well as your love and admiration for her, will go a long way toward helping her forget what she's mad about.
Pay her a sincere compliment. Tell her honestly what you love about her looks or how smart she is. But choose your moment wisely, or she might be too angry to believe you really mean it.
Put your words into writing. Most women appreciate an unexpected love note, especially when it's placed in a surprising location, such as in a kitchen drawer or on the bathroom mirror. Adding a small gift is also likely to cheer her mood.
Remind her about the good times you've shared. There's nothing like a trip down memory lane to recapture some of the happier moments in your lives together.
Recognize that if your wife has good reason to be mad at you, it might take some time for her to forgive you. Be patient.
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- If you find that your wife frequently becomes angry and finds it hard to make up, you both might need some professionally counseling. Consult your family doctor for a referral.
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.
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