From the get-go, Jake and I were arguers. We squabbled about literally everything. Thinking back, it is one of the things I scratch my head about and say, “Uh, how did we even get to where we are now?” It was pretty bad, but we were young. I was 18 years old when I met Jake. Obviously, at that age, we had a long ways to go and our communication was terrible. Over time, our arguing got less frequent, but more serious and, like most people, one or both of us said things we shouldn’t have, feelings got hurt and it was stressful. At the time, there was a man Jake worked with that he often confided in, and one night he came home with some advice that has been with us for the last six years. Literally, we used this technique yesterday.
When we fight with our spouses, often we are intent on getting our ‘side’ of things out on the table. This usually leads to a back and forth, repeating qualms and getting more and more heated as the minutes pass. Sometimes it may even become a spitting match, someone wants to win the fight. This is where the waters get dangerous. Fighting like this can be detrimental to a relationship. This is a habit that will destroy your bond eventually. I’ve talked before about how when communicating, it’s important to remember that you married your spouse for a reason. Your goal is not to defeat them in a screaming match, it’s not to get your way. Your goal is to come to a solution with the person you love.
This is where our little trick comes in. We call it Onions.
When Jake and I get too heated, and we recognize that our conversation is going down a bad road, one of us will say: “onions.”
Onions means: This conversation is over for now. We walk away, we kiss and we move on for the time being. We aren’t coming to any kind of a solution because we are too emotionally charged right now. We will revisit this shortly.
Onions doesn’t mean: This conversation is over and we will never talk about this again.
Think of it as a safe word. If you cry “uncle” during a wrestling match, your big brother is obligated to stop twisting your arm. If Jake said “onions” to me, it’s the same idea. It will hurt your pride, but I am telling you, using this word has done wonders for us. It’s not a surrender, it’s a reminder that the current argument is not nearly as important as the health of your relationship. Taking a breath doesn’t mean you can’t say your peace, it just means you need a little more time to articulate your feelings and calm down before you spit out something you can’t take back.
This is just what works for us. It has been a life saver and you can use any word you want! I plan to use this with my kids as they age as well. It’s just proved to be a great way to take a step back and remember to communicate in an effective way.
What about you? Do you and your spouse use a technique to extinguish a conversation that has escalated into dangerous territory? Tell me below!