If you can’t communicate with your spouse, any dispute can turn into a full-blown battle that could last hours, even days (or years)!
Do you know how to resolve the conflict?
How does one get over the hurdle of a disagreement, offense, or argument with their spouse?
Here are four steps you can take that will help you resolve your conflicts and communicate like never before.
Following them may be hard at first, but I assure you, if you stick with it, and continue to do it repeatedly, it will get easier, and your communication will improve over time.
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Step 1: Remain calm.
Staying calm will help your spouse listen to what you have to say next. Think about it, are you more willing to listen to someone who is speaking with their “indoor voice”, or would you rather hear someone who is screaming, blaming, and slamming things everywhere?
Do your best to stay calm enough to talk through the following steps.
If you can control yourself for at least 2-5 minutes, then it will help you move this situation along towards a solution that everyone can agree on.
Step 2: Tell your spouse exactly what you’re feeling.
It’s probably obvious that you’re pretty upset. I’m sure everyone in the room can see it and the tension is pretty thick.
However, what else are you currently feeling at this moment?
Are you embarrassed? Humiliated? Irritated? Rejected? Lied to? Threatened? Do you feel as though your spouse did not support you? Etc.
Remember, you do not have to justify your feelings. Feelings are felt and if you are feeling them at the moment, then communicate them to your spouse.
Explain what you feel on top of the overall anger so that your spouse can understand that this reaction is not just an outburst.
Step 3: Explain why you are feeling what you’re feeling.
This step does not have to be laid out at the sudden moment, but it is a very important step to take if you want to see your situation improve.
Sure, your spouse is probably the reason why you are currently upset. They should know why this happened, what they said, and why you feel the way you feel.
However, everything happened so fast. Chances are, they have no idea what just happened.
By walking your spouse through what you personally experienced, it helps them to see things from your perspective. This enables them to understand your reaction and can help prevent it from happening again in the future.
Step 4: Tell your spouse exactly what you need at this time.
Some people need to talk and talk and talk until the problem is resolved.
Others need their space to process, think things through, figure out what just happened and how they gain control and calm down.
When you tell your spouse exactly what you need, that gives them the opportunity to become an instant part of the resolution.
Remember, this is not what you want. Right now, you probably want to chew off their head…that’s unacceptable.
What is it that you need? Space? Time? To talk about things right away? Affirmation? Be specific.
A few more things to keep in mind:
Do not expect to throw the conflict away, and choose to never bring it up again.
The conflict will never go away if you do this. It will only get added to the next conflict that arises and soon, all of your conflicts will build up to something that will become uncontrollable, making it much more difficult to resolve on your own.
As soon as you can, figure out what exactly offended you, what triggered the feeling that you are currently feeling, and how this can all be prevented in the future.
And yes, your spouse needs to understand all of this as well before moving forward.
So, after all that was said, why should you be the one to make matters better (even when your spouse’s fault?)
I hear you. It’s not fair. I understand and have been in your exact shoes.
However, you made a vow to your spouse. In this vow, you promised to love, honor, and respect them. You looked them in the eye and gave your word, right?
It doesn’t matter what they did, what matters is what you’re going to do based on what you said you would do.
If you must take some time or need some space to collect yourself after a conflict, then respectfully let them know.
You also owe your spouse the respect to let them know when you plan to revisit the conflict again so that together, you can move past this.
These four steps are not only going to help you develop effective communication between you and your spouse, but it will also show that you are taking your vows seriously by putting them into action.
And that is how you create a loving, lasting relationship.
Your Turn: Have you used any of these steps to communicate effectively with your spouse? Share your experience in the comments below!