Are your fights more about trying to prove that you are the one who is right rather than trying to solve the problem?
If this is the case, then your marriage is in jeopardy, and continuing this way could spell its eventual end.
Ask yourself, “Has the fight become more important than your partner?”
When conflict has become entrenched between two people, each person will think that the other person has behaved in a manner that is….
- irrational, and
- plain unfriendly
In order to resolve problems, tense situations or disputes before they become entrenched, it is more important to find out what your partner’s perspective and experience of the problem rather than talk about your own.
Three ways to put the brakes on…
There are three. valuable approaches that successful couples routinely practice. Each of which is worthwhile, because it can help other couples settle their disputes in a less aggressive and hurtful manner.
- Stick to the point (contain the issues)
- Acknowledge feelings (expand emotional understanding)
- Here what is being said (concentrate on listening
How to do that… ?
1. Containing the issues
One point of conflict becomes lost and more difficult to deal with when multiple issues are thrown into the mix.
- The only way to avoid the ‘run away’ factor is to stick to one thing at a time;
- Don’t get lost by bringing in other issues;
- Take time out, it will sometimes be important to take some ‘time out’ and return later to discuss the matter in a respectful and calm manner.
This approach helps build the trust, co-operation and confidence necessary for a loving relationship and marriage.
Why is ‘containment important in situations of conflict?
- Without containment, the negative feelings escalate and the words become more hurtful, all leading to a damaging impact on the marriage;
- Containment means you can clarify the problem at hand. Knowing what you are fighting over greatly helps you find an appropriate solution;
- Respect is gained through being honest with each other. However, honesty is not a licence for either person to speak in a disrespectful or hurtful manner.
2. Expand Emotional Understanding
- Acknowledge and talk about how you are feeling, before tackling any substantive issues;
- If your partner is struggling with feelings of rejection or trust, then you would be wise to address these feelings before beginning a rational discussion about the matters in dispute.
3. Concentrate on Listening
This cannot be emphasised enough. It is vital that your partner feels like they are being listened too.
This can be achieved by using the following ‘active-listening techniques’
1. Active Listening Skill # 1 : Self-disclosure
Open up and let your partner know that you feel this too. That you are hurting and want to know how they feel.
Some time and effort spent exploring the emotions behind your partner’s stated concerns is never time wasted.
2. Active Listening Skill # 2 : Repeat to Understand
To ensure you understand what you have heard, repeat the issues, problems or concerns to make sure you properly understand them.
This gives your partner a chance to clear up misunderstandings straight away… rather than create new ones!
You are show a willingness to get this right.
3. Active Listening Skill # 3 : Support each other:
Show care and love for each other. Show your partner that they are not the enemy.
It is in this process that couples begin to build trust, creating a further connection and love for each other.