Here is one of her articles to help you in your own marriage.
The tension and hostility are building. You either lash out at each other, sometimes saying some pretty mean and insulting words, or you clam up and create a wall of silence. Conflict between two people in a relationship, any close relationship, is not only inevitable but can be healthy and cleansing. Engaging in conflict, no matter how difficult, emotionally painful, or frustrating, can actually lead to resolution and better communication.
I once heard the statement, "If you want peace, prepare for war." Too many individuals in their most intimate relationships establish a pattern of not creating conflict, not rocking the boat, not upsetting their partner. So the person who does not express his or her true feelings tends to stuff the feelings. Just like a pot about to boil that begins to simmer and smoke and can actually shoot the lid off, that is what may happen emotionally.
Once you are engaged in conflict, it may be too late to figure out a better way. Your buttons have probably been pushed and you are in it all the way. Depending upon your style, you may yell and scream, curse and insult, intimidate and threaten, cry and sulk, or just give in sheepishly. In the middle of an emotional battle is NOT the time to first decide to fight fairly and follow proper rules of engagement.
If the conflicts have been building and being suppressed over a long period of time, it may require some professional help, an outside neutral presence, to help you break the destructive habit pattern. One, and eventually both of you, need to overcome some ways of communicating that continue to spark the conflict. You need to discover new ways of speaking and behaving that may enable a new conversation, greater acceptance and a renewed opportunity for empathy, affection and sharing love.
Here are some simple suggestions for couple conflict management, but these must be planned and practice in advance, not first used during a heated argument.
Speak with respect, a non-judgmental and neutral attitude; avoid put downs, blaming and insulting.
- Don't use exaggerated words such as "never," "always," "everyone else."
- Speak about your feelings, explain to your partner how "I" feel not how "you should" feel.
- Listen without interrupting and truly hear what your partner is saying.
- Ask questions with an attitude of curiosity, not blame, to truly gain a better understanding.
- Stay focused on the topic of the argument and do not bring up related, past and other details.
- Ask for a time out if the atmosphere becomes too heated, volatile or even dangerous.
- If you can muster up the feelings, remind your partner that you DO care and do love him or her.
About this AuthorDr. Erica Goodstone, a Spiritual Relationship Expert, has helped thousands of men, women, couples, and groups to develop greater awareness of the issues in their relationships and their lives, to overcome and alleviate stressors and discords, and to revitalize their relationships and their own mind-body-spirit connection. Get your FREE RELATIONSHIP SUCCESS REPORT or a coaching session at http://www.DrEricaWellness.com. Receive a FREE PERSONALIZED ASSESSMENT and bonus gifts at http://www.createhealingandlovenow.com.
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photo credit: Ed Yourdon