You and your partner are enjoying a normal weekday dinner while you suddenly remember that the suit jacket you need wear on your zoom call this week is at the dry cleaners. While you reach for the peas, you ask your partner, “hey, by the way, please remember to grab my jacket when you stop at the cleaners, last time you forgot I had to wear the one with the missing button”. Your partner does not respond at first but gives you that look. After a couple of minutes, the barrage of defensive and then nasty and comments erupts. While your partner continues to go on and on, you think to yourself, “I was only trying to help you”.
Fights like these are a common reason many partners seek couple’s therapy at The Relationship Suite. You can prevent a normal statement from escalating into a major blow up by following and practicing these three rules when something your partner says affects you in a negative way.
1-Find the intention in the message
Arguments like the one illustrated can easily have been prevented by finding the intention in the message. Fights often develop from reading into something someone is saying. So stick to the content of what is being said. Do not read into your partner’s statements. Stick to the facts and avoid adding your own opinions and interpretations. If you do not understand what the meaning or the reason something is being said, ask questions about it before jumping to assumptions.
2-Be aware of how you are feeling before you speak
It is important to be cognizant of how you feeling before you talk or respond to what someone is saying so you are not responding to them with what you are thinking or feeling.
When a topic comes up that is hot button topic, meaning subject matter that has caused arguments or problems in the past or that triggers immediate intense reaction, it is important to gauge how you are feeling by using the acronym HALT. Take a second to decipher if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, and if you are, politely tell your parent that while you do want to hear what they have to say, you would prefer to talk about it at another time because you are not feeling your best. Then schedule a time for later that day (or the next) to continue the conversation. This will give you some to get yourself in a more positive state of mind before you talk to your partner.
3-Think positively about your partner
What we feel impacts how we think. If we feel our partner does not have our best interest in mind this will have a negative impact on how we communicate or how we perceive what our partner is saying. So, assume only the best for your partner and use evidence from the past to remind you about their kindness and best interest and intentions. In response, how would you react to someone to who thought so highly of you? You probably wouldn’t ruin a peaceful dinner to start an argument about dry cleaning.
If you want to learn how to prevent and work through arguments with your partner we are a group of skilled therapists specializing in couples/marriage counseling. Since Covid started we have been working with couples providing Online Couples Counseling in New York, New York City including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, South Hampton, East Hampton, Montauk, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Westchester County, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Saratoga Springs, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Albany. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE.
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