Jack and Jill were at it again. Yet another pointless argument over absolutely nothing. And they were both furious with each other. They both missed the early days of their relationship and wanted their relationship to work. But it was so difficult to trust each other, let alone have a meaningful conversation. At least not without arguing. They needed help to get their relationship back on track. These 8 tips can help Jack and Jill:
Understand Basic Principles of Communication
We are never really taught how to have an effective conversation. Sure, we learn how to speak, how to read. We might even have a public speaking class. But there isn't a "How to talk to your partner about difficult things 101" class.
Learning how to identify what is important in a conversation, and how to tell that to someone else, is something that is critical to a good relationship. So is learning how to listen for what our partner is trying to tell us, and not simply what we think we hear.
The Warm Start Up
No one really likes confrontation. At least not the loud, shouting, argumentative confrontation. But having difficult conversations don't always have to go this route.
Using the pattern of When... I feel... I need can have a profound impact on the direction the conversation goes, keep the conversation focused on what is important, and helps to prevent the four horsemen from showing up.
Avoid the Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen are four things people tend to do in an argument that make things quickly blow up. They are called the Four Horsemen because, when they are used often, the relationship is quickly approaching an Apocalyptic end - but there is hope!
For Four Horsemen are: Contempt, Criticism, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling
It can be easy to see the faults of your partner. Especially in an argument. When is the last time pointing out their faults helped? Yeah, probably never. Instead, taking ownership of yourself, your responses, and your relationship can be a powerful way to avoid the Four Horsemen and make significant progress in your relationship.
Focus on Improving Yourself
Similar to taking ownership, don't focus on your partner's faults. Instead, focus on being the best person, and the best partner you can be. This will set an example for your partner and keep a high standard for what is expected. When you focus on yourself, it starts to matter less and less what your partner thinks of you because you know you are doing better, and are a better person.
It is difficult to have a close relationship when the trust is gone. And rebuilding trust can be one of the most difficult things to do in a relationship. It is also one of the most important.
Develop Family Goals
Date Each Other
Relationships - even romantic ones - are often based on friendships. And dating is a great way for a couple to rekindle the friendship they had. Get creative in finding ways to date each other again!
Stay tuned as we talk about each of these in more detail!