Dealing with Disagreement for Couples
Dr. John Schinnerer
Guide To Self
Cupid may help people fall in love, but he fails miserably when it comes to helping couples remain in love. Thats because the degree to which you love someone, amazingly, has little to do with how long your relationship lasts. The biggest secret to a happy relationship has to do with how well you deal with your conflicts.
Researchers can accurately determine if a couple will divorce by watching them talk about their differences for just five minutes. Using this little chunk of information, researchers are correct 91% of the time in uncovering those relationships that will endure versus those that will crash and burn.
In partnerships headed for divorce, a woman typically brings up an difficult topic by criticizing her husband. For instance, when the woman wants her spouse to fix the sink, she might say You never do anything around the house. The husband usually responds by getting negative and blaming his wife with comments like, What are you stupid!? You dont appreciate all that I do! I never sit down. And so on down the road to divorce.
If you want to keep your marriage intact, find a healthy way to communicate.
To keep your relationships going strong, I recommend these emotional tools:
1. USE I STATEMENTS WHEN TELLING ABOUT THE PROBLEM:
When youre upset with your spouse, begin the conversation at a low level of intensity. Dont start by with an attack. Instead use the I statements. Start by explaining how you feel and why you feel that way. Follow it up with what you need your spouse to do. For instance, Im frustrated by everything I have to do. The house is a mess and we have guests coming over tonight. I need your help picking up the house.
2. STAY CALM WHILE LISTENING TO THE PROBLEM:
When your spouse tells you whats wrong, stay calm. Fight the automatic urge to attack. Instead, ask your partner to be specific about what he or she wants like, What do you need me to do? If youre too mad to be respectful, take time to calm down go for a walk, watch TV, go to bed before talking again. Its always helpful to have a standing time out rule where anyone can take a break from a disagreement because they are too angry or emotional to continue. Nothing will get resolved if one or both of you are angry. First, get past the anger, then solve the dispute.