Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Conflict and Couples: How To Stay Calm

What is it about couples and conflict? How can some people listen calmly when having a disagreement with their partner?

What is their secret?

When you are criticized or attacked, the first response is often to defend yourself or fight back with counter-charges. After all, how unfair does it feel to be criticized!

Responding to a complaint by getting defensive or mounting a counter-offensive, may work in the short-run. You may be able to end the conversation or diffuse the fight; however, there is usually damage to a relationship that may be difficult to repair. Couples who are unable to talk through concerns often grow apart and the distance can erode the loving feelings for each other.

Tips for Couples and Conflict
Here are some tips for you to keep your cool and listen to your partner as he or she talks about a problem or concern that they experience with you.
1. Keep in mind that the best way to have your opinion considered is to hear someone else talk about theirs. When someone feels heard and understood (not necessarily agreed with), then their mind is much more likely to hear your ideas.

2. When having that “defensive talk” inside your head, (statements like: “She is being unfair” or “How can he talk like that?”) take deep breaths and remind yourself that there will definitely be time for you to talk about your ideas.

3. Masters in couples and conflict keep in mind that the relationship is more important than “winning” an argument. This does not mean that you want to let your partner run all over you, you may have to clearly stand up for yourself, but the health of the relationship will be best if you can remain calm.

4. Remind yourself and your partner, out loud, that you love her/him and that you want to find a way to work through problems. Making simple repair attempts can really help to calm things down.

5. In the event that you find you are really flooded and having a tough time remaining calm, take a time out. Let yourself calm down and think clearly about what you heard, your partner’s thoughts and feelings and what you want to make sure you eventually get across.

Using these tips can help make you an expert on couples and conflict.

Counseling Relationships Online

Couples Counseling of Louisville

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Me and my husband don't know how to control our temper! We through valuable things and say thing that we don't mean. How do I just stop all of this???

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

It is good that you are asking for help. That is the first step. I strongly encourage you to find someone to talk with, a professional couples counselor, who can work with you both to understand your anger and learn ways to handle conflict in loving ways.

Anonymous said...

My problem is that I don't realize how upset I am until after I've said something I regret. I don't know how to stop and calm myself down before responding with an outburst and rudeness instead of a calm statement.

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

Part of it is, certainly, in finding ways to take a break when you realize that you are upset. You might try a few deep breaths or a simple comment like "I am not sure how to respond to that." It will take practice, especially for sensitive people or those who flood easily.

Anonymous said...

my husband is often very critical. Now this behaviour is driving me insane and I get loud and have even fisted him a couple of times. Iam so not happy as this is not my personality. How can I stop?

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

I strongly recommend that you seek counseling as soon as possible. Go alone if your husband won't go with you. One person can break a bad pattern. You need to take care of yourself and get the help you need.

Anonymous said...

What is there to do when ur partner gives up on you

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

There are strategies that you can try such as giving your partner space and finding ways to get yourself in a healthy spot while also being positive in the relationship. Not easy to do and you would most likely find a benefit to using the support of a good couples counselor who can guide you along with specific steps.

Anonymous said...

Yes as mentioned above by an anonymous wife, what if the husband is not ready for counselling, his problem for years in a maariage is to critise the wife, never sit down & talk eye to eye even for 5 mins. if we both speak, we end up in arguments as our interstes don;t meet at all. I grew up in a faith & culture where wife does not leave husband & go away, esp. when she has kids.
How is that a man who critisize the wife, who finds faults in in her, sees only the good in other women & have a woman in his life as a friend & also make his son become her best friend, leaving the wife alone to think, this too shall pass!!! A ife who believes thsi is a character test for me from god & go one....let go & go on in life. Still being human the thoughts taunt her daily hearing to the man's curses & rude talks to his wife who is pregnant again??

Anonymous said...

So me an my boyfriend can't seem too stop talkin we try too talk it out but at times it can get heated an in the end we end with I love you but why go threw that in the first place??

Anonymous said...

My fiance and I argue about everything, the most thing that I don't like about him is that he is a critic, shifts blames, never wrong and mostly has a selfish tendency. I may step onhis toes and apologies for the wrong act and he willgo on and on up until I take back the apology, he doesn't aplogise when he has to, I sleep angry and wake up feeling worse. This has been happening for a while now I sometimes hate him, swear and even poke him because I've tried to talk about our abnormal fights and solution but he doesn't listen. Even worse when he makes me angry and then I shout instead of him keeping quiet or apologising he starts dissing me and tells me that I also do the same and yells, it ends up like a screaming contest and I've had it. He's very spiteful and mean. What do I do?

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

You cannot change another person. You can only change how you handle yourself and how you react to anyone else.

Find ways to be a calmer and smarter person yourself.

You also may have to rethink whether or not the two of you are a good choice for each other.

Anonymous said...

I try but its never is enough. And instead of trying to show me how too do better way ..I get everything wrong thrown in my face. I cant have my friends over .They get on her nerves but wont let me go out with them. .and when she does it not a " go ahead and have fun" its go take him his getting on my nerves ext.

special one said...

My husband always throws stuff in my face I filed for divorce and he came back in my life saying he is going to change and I will c he will treat me good not go out without me and the minute I move back home he is back to the same old person. What do I do cuz I can't take him going out without me and he blames me for everything. Not only that but I left him cuz he was talking n hanging out w a female he works with. He is now going out with his friends again and not inviting me and when I ask him if I can go he throws a fit and starts putting me down. I have low self esteem due to his mean ways. What do I do I can't take much more.

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

Do you think that there really is a chance that he will change? Or does his track record show you otherwise?

If you think that there is any chance he will change, ask him to go with you to talk with someone. If he won't, go on your own. If you think that the likelihood is slim, find a good support system who can help you break this pattern so that you can have a clean break.

pamela said...

Hi! I'm a few month old wife but having a nightmare coping with being married. My husband blames me for everything wrong that cross our way when he's in a bad mood. And when he's in a good mood, he pampers me like a princess. I dont know how to handle situation because I dont want to end up this marriage. Whenever I try to reason with him he talks pointlessly blaming me for everything. He just dumps everything on me. I am really in a fix because I feel like I dont know him anymore. I just dont know what to do now.