As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I see many people who have experienced greater than normal stressors in their lives during the past few years, which may be attributed to the state of the economy, severe weather conditions, and underlying uneasiness about the volatile state of our world. As a result, we, as a society, are more depressed, anxious, angry, and frustrated. We are also moodier and more reactive, which has a less than desirable impact on our relationships, especially the one with our partner.
Counseling or therapy is available to help individuals and couples deal with these issues by learning skills to improve their communication, interact in kind and loving ways, and help each other be a better partner. Time and money are often the obstacles preventing people from seeking the help they need.
The following are some tools you can use to help prevent minor disagreements from turning into all-out wars, which are destructive and threaten to destroy your relationship.
1) When hit with a statement or comment from your partner that annoys, bother, or upsets you, tell yourself over and over to be CALM and to NOT REACT.
2) Reflect what your partner has said so that you make sure you heard it the way it was intended.
3) Put yourself in your partner's "shoes" and try to understand the issue from their viewpoint.
4) Remember that this is a person you love and do not want to hurt.
5) Regardless of what your partner says to you or how he/she says it, you want to always maintain control of your behavior.
6) Try to look objectively at your role in the argument and take responsibility for what you said and did that was wrong or hurtful--remember...it takes 2!
7) Try to take your EGO out of the mix--you do not get any points for being "right" at your partner's expense.
8) When you respond with real kindness and concern, your partner is more receptive to hear what you have to say.
9) Make sure your response is intended to resolve the argument, not exacerbate it.
10) If you feel yourself getting "hot under the collar", that should be a cue to "take 5". Start taking slow, deep breaths and count to 10. Taking a brief "time out" is better than saying something you will later regret.
If you need more assistance, please visit my website at: www.lisamstanton.com. I can help you be the person you want to be in your relationships!