Every couple will have disagreements at some point, but there are a variety of approaches that can be used to resolve issues or topics of contention with mutual understanding and respect. If you find yourself allowing your emotions to get the better of you or avoiding topics that may cause disagreements, consider taking a proactive and positive approach to the situation by initiating an open dialogue in a healthier and more calm manner.
Part 1 Taking a Step Back To Decompress
1. When the arguments become excessively heated, institute a “time out” system. Discuss with your partner the possibility of using a signal such as “time out” to defuse a tense situation and prevent it from escalating further. When you and your partner are both ready to continue the conversation in a more relaxed manner, that is the best time to communicate effectively with each other.
The purpose of a “time out” or a “stop action” is to provide each individual with some space and time to regain their composure before resuming their activities at a later time (possibly in a few minutes, hours, or the next day).
After taking a “time out,” it is hoped that emotions will be less intense, allowing communication to continue in a more loving environment.
You should consider reminding your partner in a loving manner about the positive intent of calling a “time out” if he or she is unable to decompress or perceives the “time out” as an avoidance tactic as a result of your action. Taking a “time out” can be beneficial for both of you because it gives you the opportunity to decompress after an argument has occurred. In an ideal situation, both parties have already reached an agreement on when and how to invoke the action of “time out.”.
2. Once “time out” is called, everyone should come to an agreement on the logistics. Place your focus on where you and your partner will go to decompress and regain composure, rather than continuing an argument that is already in progress. It is possible that you will enter one room while your partner will enter another. Discuss how each of you needs to take a moment to think and relax before proceeding with the conversation in its current state.
Assess your willingness to continue the conversation in a few minutes or whether you both require a longer period of time to complete it. Establish a specific time for this conversation so that it does not go unfinished and unresolved.
3. Negative thoughts should be cleared from your mind. When you are experiencing strong emotions, your blood pressure may rise, and your ability to think and concentrate may be impaired. For the time being, try to put your stressful thoughts on hold. Take a moment to consider doing one or more of the following in order to deactivate your body’s stress response and relax even more:
Take a few deep breaths and count to ten.
Take a short walk outside or around the house, and then return when your mind has become more at ease.
Rest comfortably in a comfortable position and close your eyes while listening to soothing music.
In order to let go of your emotions, draw something in your journal or write down your thoughts and feelings.
4. Allow yourself to be open to hearing what your partner has to say. Be receptive to your partner’s ideas. While this does not imply that you should abandon or invalidate yourself, it does suggest that you should be more open to a mutual understanding of one another’s concerns. Be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking.
In your mind and heart, create a space where you can see your partner as lovable and deserving of your time and attention.
More space in your mind will allow you to listen more openly to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences without immediately reacting with defensiveness, judgement, or resistance.
5. Make an effort to re-establish communication with your partner. Whenever you feel composed, centred, and receptive, you should check in with your partner to see if he or she is ready to engage in more understanding dialogue. If this is the case, ask him or her to come and get you or to notify you when they are ready.
In the meantime, continue with the breathing and relaxation exercises that you have already begun. Whenever your partner is ready, you can move on to a more open dialogue about your feelings and concerns.
Part 2 Starting an Open Dialogue
1. Create a calm environment that is free of distractions for yourself. You won’t always be able to prevent things from getting in the way of a conversation, but you can prioritise your dialogue and minimise other distractions.
Find a quiet room or space where you can talk without being distracted by children, other people, phones, television, or other items that could interfere with effective communication.
Consider making amends with each other by holding hands, hugging, or simply smiling at each other as a way to make up for previous heated discussions. Physical contact may indicate to you and your partner that you are ready to get back to what really matters: open communication.
2. Consider the practise of couple’s meditation. Make use of this mindfulness practise to clear your mind of negative thoughts and train your mind to be more receptive to listening and speaking in a productive manner. Prepare yourself by doing this before beginning the conversation again as a means of calming yourself and becoming more “in tune” with your partner.
One way to practise this is to sit cross-legged with your legs gently touching each other while facing each other. Keep your hands together. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Take a moment to notice your breath.
It is possible to slow down racing thoughts and emotions by being present with your breath. Take note of the rhythm of your own breath as well as the rhythm of your partner’s breath. By doing this for a few minutes, you will be better prepared to return to difficult conversations with a more level-headed attitude than before.
3. Make a decision on the topic of conversation as a group. Instead of trying to rehash the previous debate, discuss the topics that are important to you with your colleagues. Consider the topics that have been presented, and identify which topic(s) is posing the most difficulties for you. Decide which topic to concentrate on, or whether to concentrate on more than one topic.
4. Make a pact to take turns speaking. The first person to act as the “speaker” could be chosen based on personal preference or by using a random selection method such as flipping a coin. As a “listener,” the other person will assist you. Each person will have the opportunity to be both a “speaker” and a “listener” throughout the course of making their points known, which may include several rounds.
It is critical to allow both you and your partner equal time to speak and to refrain from interrupting until one or the other has finished his or her thoughts.
Fostering understanding begins with the goal of active listening, which is the first step.
Part 3 Speaking Effectively
1. Before you say anything, take a deep breath. The ability to communicate more effectively is enhanced by carefully considering the content of your speech and how it will affect you emotionally. The goal of open dialogue is not to “win” an argument with your partner, but rather to foster mutual understanding between you and your partner. You must express yourself in a loving and respectful manner when you express your concerns.
2. Maintain clarity, succinctness, and focus in your message. During “your turn to speak,” you may feel as though you have the opportunity to make a laundry list of all the problems you’re having with a specific topic. Keep the need to vent to a bare minimum when using this mode of communication. Your partner will be able to listen more effectively to what you’re saying if you’re clear, focused, and on topic throughout the conversation.
Avoid getting sidetracked and talking about things that aren’t related to the topic at hand.
If you choose your words more strategically and carefully, you will be less likely to turn a friendly conversation into a heated debate or disagreement.
3. Make use of the pronoun “I.” Instead of saying things like “You’re crazy,” “You’re wrong,” “You shouldn’t…,” or “You shouldn’t…,” use statements that are about you, or “I” statements. It is common for people to become emotional and upset when you focus on how they are “wrong” or “crazy,” so try to express how you are feeling about the situation or their actions instead.
Specificity is important when expressing yourself, so avoid using phrases that are simply “you” statements disguised as “I” statements.
For example, consider the statement “I get worried when you don’t call me to let me know when you’ll be coming home.” It is possible to demonstrate how a feeling is linked to a specific action by using the phrases “I feel” and “when.”
Make use of these statements to express both your concerns and your gratitude. Discuss how “I feel insecure” when…., or how “I feel happy” when…
4. Avoid assigning blame and instead concentrate on problem-solving. This is not the place to place blame on your partner, despite the fact that it may seem like a perfect opportunity to use your time to speak as a way to talk about what your partner “should” or “ought” to do. Avoid using labels that will only serve to enrage people.
By brainstorming possible solutions to the problem at hand, you increase your chances of reaching a mutual understanding. You and your partner are simply that—-partners in this relationship. When faced with a problem, it is critical to concentrate on possible solutions rather than attempting to prove who is correct or incorrect in their thinking.
Part 4 Utilizing Active Listening
1. Consider the act of listening as a manifestation of love. Active listening entails giving your full attention to your conversation partner and demonstrating that you are actively participating in the conversation. Love, respect, and understanding are all expressed through paying close attention to and truly hearing what your partner has to say about you. Your body language can assist you in demonstrating that you are paying attention in the following ways:
Not speaking, or interrupting by remaining silent while your partner speaks are both acceptable.
Nonverbal cues such as head nodding or resting your head on your hand in a thoughtful manner are examples of nonverbal cues.
Leaning your body forward a little will help.
It is important to maintain eye contact with your partner without staring at them.
2. Consider everything that is being said by the speaker in its entirety. After your partner has finished sharing, take a moment to reflect on what she or he has said and consider which parts you understand and which parts you may not understand completely. If there is any ambiguity in your partner’s message, it is acceptable to ask them to clarify it.
By giving yourself time to process what has been said, you are giving yourself the opportunity to respond in a more calm and constructive manner that demonstrates your concern.
3. What you heard should be repeated back to you in your own words. By paraphrasing what your partner has just said, you and your partner are both reducing the likelihood of miscommunication and misinterpretation occurring. The ability to actively listen rather than passively will be enhanced through the use of repeating back and paraphrasing. In the event that your partner is able to hear what you believe you heard, there is a chance that you will be able to understand the other’s point of view on the matter.
In your words, “You feel when because , and you want .” Examine how your partner responds when you use this method of paraphrasing for a while.
Examine whether the speaker feels heard after you’ve asked questions or discussed clarifications with him or her. Consider using statements such as “Do you feel understood?” or “Do you feel heard?” Consider asking for clarification, such as “Could you please repeat what you said so that I can listen further?” if the speaker says no.
4. When listening, try to be empathic. Provide your partner with validation and appreciation for what he or she is attempting to say in an open and honest manner. Showing your partner that you love, respect, and trust him or her is extremely important. Because you have demonstrated that you are willing to “walk a mile in their shoes,” empathy is essential to reaching a satisfactory conclusion. “I understand why you feel the way you do,” say something like, “I can understand why you feel that way.” ” As well as, “Thank you for sharing that with me.”
Be forgiving and accepting of the fact that if you and your partner are able to engage in even some of these techniques, you and your partner are both moving in a more healthy direction.
Creative Commons License