10 Rules For Fighting Couples

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fighting couple
Stay calm and follow these guidelines if you want to avoid a screaming match.

8. Test the waters. Before you try addressing the issue again, prepare by picturing yourself offering gestures of niceness. Plan to talk about pleasant topics before resuming the tough one. Be sure that you and your partner are securely back in an emotionally light zone before venturing again into sensitive realms.

9. Make agreements. Re-launch the tough topic by agreeing points made by your significant other. Start the conversation by saying empathetically, "I agree that we've put this issue on the back burner."

10. Talk through the problem calmly and effectively, listening to the other person's point of view. Share your concerns on the tough issue, but keep your tone relaxed and collaborative, and look for solutions that work for both of you. This final tip has a number of subtleties to keep in mind. Transition your sentences using the phrase "and at the same time" and not the word "but." (For example, "And at the same time, my concern is … ") The word "and" is collaborative; "but" deletes whatever was said just before and consequently could knock you both back into adversarial hostile stances.

The goal is to add your perspective by quietly explaining your concerns, not insisting on particular solutions like a child having a temper tantrum (not sexy). These tips have focused mostly on what to do, all of which involve focus on yourself, on calming distracting thoughts or on how to improve the situation. Stay clear of accusing and blaming. Focusing on what you don't like about what the other person has done will only cause more relationship problems. Learn these techniques of self-soothing, plus all you can about how to communicate in intimate relationships and you just might find yourself much highly successful in making your relationships last. With the ability to prevent and also to fix marriage and other relationship problems, you may even find yourself feeling increasingly secure and self-confident.  

Susan Heitler, Ph.D. is author of the "Power of Two" book, workbook and web-based relationship program that teaches the skills for sustaining strong and loving partnerships.

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