Have you ever wound up fighting (whether blowing up or pulling away) when all you wanted to do was talk or have something get done?
It's certainly happened to me and, frankly, it ruined every relationship I was in and nearly ruined my marriage.
Thankfully there's solution (and it's actually pretty easy).
These four skills literally saved our marriage and if you seem to wind up in fights then you owe it to yourself, your partner and your marriage to learn these four simple tools to stop the fighting and get what you want.
Fighting is the result of feeling threatened, and we feel threatened when we feel burdoned, accused or disrespected.
These four tools that you'll learn below are easy to remember, easy to use and are the bread and butter of professional negotiators. Let's get started!
Has your partner (or you) ever said "Clean the dishes" or "take care of the yard"? Especially in a tone that *maybe* sounded more like a scolding parent than a loving spouse?
As partners in your marriage you need to **respect** each other and work **together**, and that starts with speaking to each other from a place of *respect* and *support*.
First you have to ask your partner to do something (instead of telling them to do it).
Example: "Can you please take out the trash today?"
If your partner doesn't seem to be pulling their weight then ask them what seems to be going on or how you can help them.
Example: "It seems like you're having a tough time getting the yard work done lately; is there something going on that I can help with?"
Expain why something is important to you.
As adults we all hate being told what to do or what we're doing "wrong", but we all want to make our spouse happy. The way to do this is to explain and make it clear why this thing is important to you.
Example: "Honey, it makes me feel so good when the yard is nice and clean, can you please get to it this weekend?"
"Baby, I really like it when you reach out to my family, it makes me feel we're all in this together.
(these are actual examples from my own marriage :)
Instead of accusing your partner of making you feel angry (or upset, or sad, or whatever it may be) take ownership of your feelings.
Taking ownership of your feelings keeps you from unfairly accusing our partner and also shows them that you're taking responsibility.
When an adult feels like they're married to someone who can't or won't take responsibility for their own feelings it becomes very easy to feel that they can't or won't be fully responsible in *other* areas and that leads to a broken trust, reduced intimacy, and a downward spiral in the relationship.
Example: instead of saying "You make me so angry!", say "I get really upset when it *seems* like you're not listening to me". Can you hear the difference? Also notice using the workd "seems" instead of just saying "when you're not listening". There's no way for you to know if they're listening, you're only interpreting).
The word "but" gets thrown around quite a bit and that's a problem because it tends to negate everything that came before it.
Did you see what I did?
Image your lover says "I love you but I need to be alone right now"? They might not have consciously mean anything negative but your brain hears the word "but" and tends to negate what came before, so all you wind up focusing on is "I need to be alone right now".
Imagine a new version: "I love you and I just need some time to myself right now".
Here's an example that uses all of these techniques together to create a really powerful and effective communication: "Honey, I'm sorry for getting upset (ownership). You know how much I love it when the yard is nice, it makes me feel good when I see the tidy lawn and beautiful flowers (explain), and ("and") it seems you haven't been able to get around to it lately. Is everything OK? Is there something I can help you with? (ask)"
Use all four of these techniques to communicate better and avoid fights.