How To Fight Fair?
Dear Fearless Love,
From time to time, my husband and I argue – over big and little things. While he tends to keep his cool, typically I usually get very upset and often say things that I regret. This makes it even worse. I love my husband and don’t want to damage our relationship, however I don’t know how to “argue” the right way. He says I overreact and create mountains out of molehills. What can I do to bring more peace to our relationship and to diffuse issues so they don’t turn into arguments or, if they do, how can I prevent things from getting out of hand?
This is a wonderful question. In an argument both you and your spouse are trying to be heard. Emotions are high; however, take responsibility for your attitudes and behaviors. Stay away from: criticism, defensiveness, sarcasm, blame or any vague communication style that’s disrespectful.
1-Mirror back what you heard and
2- make sure you understood his perspective.
3-Validate the parts you agree with and
4-ask if there is more he wants to share before you reveal your opinions and position on the topic.
5-Invite your husband to reciprocate this active listening exercise until you both feel heard.
Active Listening Exercise:
1-Mirror– “I heard you say that I overreact and create mountains out of molehills.”
2-Confirm—“Did I get that?”
Wait for response.
3-Validate or empathize— the part that made sense, “I agree that I usually get very upset and often say things that I regret.”
If he doesn’t feel understood, ask him to repeat the message and repeat the three steps until he feels you heard him.
4- Question– “Is there more on this issue you’d like to share?” and listen if there is.
5-Reciprocate– If his thought is complete, “Would you listen to my response and make sure you get me before responding? Thank you.”
Conflicts are natural to relationships. Fighting with your partner doesn’t need to disrupt the peace and harmony of your home. But it can deepen your connection and richness of your marriage. Remember making-up heightens the love and passion!