Last week we took our kids to the OC Fair, like we do every year. We go for the rides, the exhibits, the games, and of course the deep-fried Oreos. We tried our hardest to ignore the heat, the inappropriate outfits the teenagers wear, the long lines, and the prices. We had only been there an hour or so, walking around and trying to find our way to the butterfly exhibit, when all of a sudden it happened. A miscommunication and a fight in public . . . at the fair . . . with tons of strangers watching us.
This is how it went down. Our seven-year-old daughter kept walking in front of the stroller! She stepped in front of it, Casey pushed her out of the way so she wouldn’t get ran over, and to me it looked like he purposefully pushed her. He got mad at Kylie, she got mad at him, I assumed he pushed her, and it all blew up from there. We literally stopped in the middle of the fair and hashed it out for almost 15 minutes until we sorted it all out. Casey felt accused, Kylie was angry, and I just wanted everyone to speak in love to each other rather than be angry and cause a scene.
Have you been there before? A fight in public, or maybe in front of family or friends in someone else’s home? We have . . . dozens of times. It makes you feel frustrated and restricted because you can’t completely lose it in front of others even though you feel like you want to pull your hair out and kill your spouse. It can also make the people around you feel very awkward and nervous.
The first thing to keep in mind is to S.T.O.P. which stands for See The Other People. Be considerate and go somewhere else so they don’t have to be subjected to your arguing and fighting. Whether it’s around strangers or friends, no one wants to see a couple fight. You’ll never be able to solve the issue in that environment anyway and the awkwardness of it will only escalate the problem. If you can’t leave right away, then pause the conversation until you get home. A little break might even be best for you both to wind down and check to see what the root of the issue really is.
If the issue absolutely cannot wait another second, excuse yourself or find a quiet area and discuss it. But keep calm, don’t name call or use dramatic hand gestures that might draw attention from others. Try to keep the conversation to no more than 5 minutes and remind each other you love one another and will work it out once you get home.
Arguing in public is bound to happen to all married couples, so be prepared ahead of time by being on the same page with how to handle the situation.
Reposted with permission. This article originally appeared here.
Casey and Meygan Caston are the founders of Marriage365, and the authors of Naked Dinners and Communication That Connects.
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