6 Strategies to Make the Most of Making Up

In any relationship, unhappy interactions happen.

Doors slam, voices raise, silent treatment ensues, and partners roll over without saying good night.

Making up and making peace is an integral part of a successful marriage. To make up well is to employ intention, strategy, and willing compassion.

Without a plan for setting things right, relationship repair is rarely effective or lasting.

In business relationships, friendships, or even brush-ups with strangers on the street, awareness, and acknowledgment are key. Both help you to move forward amicably, feeling validated.

Maybe this takes paperwork and negotiations; maybe it takes a few words and a handshake. The point is, to make up the most productive and rewarding way possible, you make the time to do it right.

Unfortunately, this concept is often lost when feathers get ruffled at home.

Deeper emotional connections and expectations can confuse things if you’re ill prepared for conflict. Without the benefit of excellent childhood models or solid marriage counseling, many couples find that dust-ups get swept under the rug or arguments are stashed away in a mental file marked ”resentment.”

Even worse, some grudges get buried in the name of harmony, only to erupt more explosively later, when the same argument is revisited again.

Making up is serious business…and with a little work, married people can make the most of it.

These 6 strategies can help:

1. Make up to communicate love and respect

To come together after a rift, big or small, love and respect must stay firmly in place and remain protected. Marriages that slip into ongoing resentment and eventual contempt often lack loving perspective and respectful responses.

Make up best by refusing to skim over hurtful accusations or biting comments. Address the things that were said with genuine apologies and pledge to work at protecting and honoring each other, even in anger. Making up will feel even better when you know that future arguments needn’t wound so deeply.

2. Make up to demonstrate security and a future together

To make up is to restore positive, forward movement to your relationship.

Essentially, employ your communication skills for good, actively choosing to get unstuck in the unpleasantness between you. With words and body language, you can intentionally draw close again.

Reassure each other. Show that you are available and willing to do what it takes to honor your future as a team. Making up should send this powerful message: We’re safe as a unit and the life we planned is on track.

3. Make up to restore empathy and humor

Close relationships are dependent on emotional connection. A significant conflict can seriously interrupt emotional engagement for a significant amount of time, if you let it.

Challenge the idea that your situation is too heavy or upsetting to benefit from a sincere “I hear you,” “I’m sorry,” and a bit of self-deprecating humor. Show you care and take the edge off the conflict with goodwill and a smile. Demonstrate the belief that your relationship is still loving and fun despite your differences.

4. Make up to repair interrupted physical intimacy

Conflict can also create a physical disconnect if hard feelings fester. Furthermore, if you’ve withheld yourselves from hugs, hand holding, and kissing, a lack of sexual intimacy is probably an additional problem too.

To make the most of making up in this arena, start with simple affection. Make deliberate eye contact and literally reach out to each other. Demonstrate a willingness to put yourself out there without demands. Simply and repeatedly show your spouse that you’re still attracted and interested in being close to him or her.

5. Make up to address unresolved issues

Rather than make up to simply smooth things over, make up to make peace with some troubling issues. Without engaging any animosity, ask each other questions, get curious and be a little more careful about hearing each other out.

Talk about those unresolved issues. Make resolution and reconciliation the objectives. This may be difficult for you to do on your own. You may need to agree to disagree. You may need to agree to marriage counseling for help with conflict resolution.

That’s just fine. Make the most of making up by gifting each other with invaluable relationship techniques and clarity that may prevent more frustration over the same old topics down the line.

6. Makeup to reestablish your relationship as your priority

It’s easy to take a long-term relationship for granted. A strong effort at making up should put your partner and your connection back in their rightful places: At the top of your list.

Life will always try to get in the way. Sharing those stresses and responsibilities with your partner can make it bearable…even enjoyable. Wasn’t that the point?

Make it a point to plan time together, call or text something meaningful at least once a day. Have a standing date every evening to touch base and actually care for each other. Don’t let your efforts fade or become predictable. Make the most of making up by making a habit of prioritizing your relationship.

Emotions run high when differences become disagreements. Healthy relationships can handle the strain.

The goal is to take care of each other, to keep your union cared for. Even when the moment causes you to feel that you don’t like each other much, make up quickly and make up well.

If you find that to be too difficult right now, it’s also okay to seek some help in marriage counseling. Don’t wait until making up seems impossible and breaking up feels like your only option.

Marriage can be your best work and making up can be a creative and restorative process that supports the happily ever after you build together successfully, day by day.

Click here to learn how to create a healthy relationship.

About the Author

Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work life balance.

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