A do-over is a new attempt or opportunity to do something after a previous attempt has been unsuccessful or unsatisfactory (Webster).

Do-overs are essential when you are trying to communicate, resolve conflict or finish an argument with your spouse, fiancé or boy/girlfriend. A spouse’s emotions can escalate the more they care about a subject, topic or circumstance being discussed, triggering cut-offs rather than connections.  Do-overs can restart a conversation or argument when emotions escalate beyond a person’s ability to listen.

A cut-off is a response that is triggered by offensive words, actions or misunderstandings between spouses. Some cut-offs are passive, such as leaving the room when a conversation is not going well or rolling your eyes. Other cut-offs are more aggressive, such as yelling, name calling, slamming shut a door or cabinet.

Have you ever used a word or phrase or mis-used a word that triggered an offense or cut-off in the person you were in a conversation with? You may not have intended to trigger a cut-off or an offense, but when it happens, very few conversations can get back on course on their own. These types of cut-offs can be avoided by asking for a do-over.

Arguments are normal and beneficial in a healthy relationship when both people view each other as thoughtful, caring and intelligent people who are committed to each other. A do-over will give you an opportunity to successfully finish a conversation when the first attempt has failed.

An argument with an acquaintance is typically very unproductive because there is no commitment or desire to have that person’s best interests in mind. However, an argument with someone you care about is worth the effort to be understanding toward them and understood by them.

Couples argue because they care about their relationship, family life and future together. Concerns they care deeply about include finances, faith, parenting values, respect, trust and responsibility. The absence or neglect of discussions about these things have the potential to disrupt the harmony, safety, security in their relationship.

A coach couple introduced the do-over many years ago to our marriage ministry. Do-overs sound like this:

  • What I said was harsh, can I have a do over?
  • What you said offended me, I need a do over?
  • My words communicated a judgment about you. I want to make this right. Can I have a do-over?

A do-over will allow couples to avoid cut-offs and remain relational during conflicts, misunderstandings or arguments. You can contact us at www.lifeinmotionresources.com for resources to improve married, engaged and dating relationships.