How To Fight With Your Spouse and Win
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Some couples say that they never fight, but rather have “disagreements”. Let's face it, no matter what you call it we all have times that we fight with our spouse.
My awesome wife, Jenny Elledge, is a very accomplished licensed marriage and family therapist here in Orlando, Florida. During my recent interview with her, she shared some professional tips for conflict resolution.
Everybody has conflict and that's pretty normal. Actually, everybody has perpetual conflict, meaning there's never going to be a satisfactory solution for both partners due to how we're wired personality-wise. Like for instance, spenders tend to be married to savers when it comes to money and you're not going to unwind the other person's personality traits.
The goal is to move from conflict where you feel kind of gridlocked and you're not making traction to a dialogue. Having dialogue is where you talk about your own individual needs and feelings. And your partner's part is to listen and validate those feelings. And then you reverse those roles.
Just as there are rules of engagement set for many different kinds of conflict, the same goes for working through conflicts in our relationships.
Here is the cliff notes version of the rules of engagement for conflict resolution that Jenny shared:
1 – Explain rather than attack. When you're under verbal attack defenses go up. And when defenses go up, you won't be able to have a very productive dialogue.
2 – Avoid speaking in absolutes. Things like, “you never …”, “it's always…”.
3 – Even when you're in a long term committed relationship for a long time it can be very difficult to share the vulnerable part of yourself. But this is part of being able to resolve conflict.
4 – Anger causes a fight, flight, or a freeze response to kick in because our brain is hard-wired for self-preservation. The logical part of the brain is diminished as a result. You need to calm your body down in order to return to normal brain function.
5 – Be careful of criticizing, blaming, and also contempt, contempt means things like name-calling. Contempt is one of the strongest predictors of divorce.
When you listen to the complete interview you'll hear Jenny's explanations of these rules in greater detail. And you'll get her professional advice as to how to go about resolving conflict and come out winners in your relationship!
You can ask Jenny questions or get in touch with her simply by calling 407-901-7988. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.