Write Letters to Work Out Arguments Expressing your feelings with the written word may be the perfect way to work out a disagreement. BY SHARON BIRKMAN FINK
Writing your argument down will help you formulate your thoughts better.
One of the best ways to get your thoughts clear in your mind regarding an argument or disagreement with your spouse is to write it down. The simple process of organizing your thoughts can do wonders to let your feelings mature into something you can talk about rationally; and let you see how your partner’s behavior may be influenced by personality needs.
Figuring out your emotions can be as simple as writing about them. Marshalling the forces of language to understand deeper problems and worries forces you to confront the hidden aspects of troubles and to see the ways in which you are hiding or obscuring the deeper truths about what is making you angry in the first place.
Instead of fuming and confronting your spouse before you are prepared with what you want to say or with what you want to achieve from an argument or problem, putting it in a letter helps you see things from more than one angle and maybe even from your spouse’s point of view.
Additionally, your spouse may be much more receptive to your ideas or complaints when reading them with the added distance of a letter. Otherwise, a spouse who loves you but who must confront you when you are angry may feel cornered and defensive. A letter is much more reserved, much more rational and true.
In fact, while writing the letter, you may discover that you don’t have that much of a problem in the first place, or the problem you "thought" you had was really about something else entirely.
A great preliminary gesture to writing a letter to your spouse is to assess your own self and find out the underlying attitudes that you feel may be spurring a crisis—and to see the ways in which your personality is influenced by factors like fears, hopes, frustrations, and the coping mechanisms for anger and stress.
By taking the time to figure out who you are and where you are coming from and then sitting down and writing about it, you can craft letters that succinctly explain how you feel and why and let your partner know just what you mean.
Remember: You don’t have to give your spouse your letter just because you’ve written it. Once you’ve got it all out, maybe the problem won’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Or maybe you will be ready to confront your spouse face-to-face knowing exactly what you want to say. Either way, you took the time to think about it, and you always owe your partner that, no matter how you choose to do it.
Taking over for her father, Dr. Roger Birkman, in 2001, Sharon Birkman Fink is President and CEO of Birkman International, Inc. providing a unique assessment tool that accurately measures internal needs, behaviors, occupational preferences and organizational strengths. She can be reached at 713-623-2760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.