We’ve all seen it before. We say something to our spouse and, in an instant, we can see their face starting to turn red with rage and their hair standing up on the back of their neck.
To avoid an argument, try a “do over.” This useful tool, that Dr. Gary Oliver shared with me, works well for the spouse who tends to say things the wrong way, or without thinking.
If you realize you have offended your spouse or have been misinterpreted, you can ask for a “do-over” and rephrase the statement so that it is kinder and clearer.
Here are 5 “do over” rules:
1. Stop the conversation, immediately. Once you realize you’ve missed the ball, dropped the pass—or whatever other sports expression you want to incorporate here—then, right away, stop the play.
2. Ask for the do-over, with humility. A way to phrase this so your spouse will agree to it is, “Honey, I think I just said something the wrong way. May I please have a do-over?” If your spouse agrees to it, move on to step three. If your spouse says “no,” then ask for forgiveness and resolve to do better next time, and let it go.
3. Take a minute to regroup. Rephrase your thoughts in a manner that is not accusatory, negative or sarcastic. In other words, correct your mistake.
4. Re-run the play, correctly. Try it again. Remember just because you’ve been given this re-play doesn’t mean you’ll hit it out of the park. In fact, you may strike out. The objective here is to ensure fair play.
5. Hi-five, or fist pump, with enthusiasm! When your team gets it right, you have to celebrate! So congratulate each other with some encouraging words and a big hug.