I’m often asked why when a couple starts a conversation about something that is really important to them it often just ends in another fight.
Improving your skills in this area will help your relationship mature in a healthy way keeping it strong and happy.
For a couple to reach decisions without unnecessary battles needs skill.
Here are 7 rules for couple problem solving that may be helpful for you to keep in mind for when you are trying to solve a problem that has come up between you and your partner:
Remind yourselves about why you are there. Take breaks as needed throughout the conversation as needed to keep your energy positive.
Focus on only one issue at a time. Agree on what the problem or issue is, so you are not trying to solve multiple problems at once or work at cross-purposes by trying to address different issues.
Avoid being attached to a particular outcome. Avoid stating something as absolute fact. There is really only a perspective: yours and the others.
Encourage and freely share thoughts, feelings, and opinions with love, respect, and kindness. Avoid criticism or domination of each other. Strive to be open to all expressions without taking offense.
Carefully monitor and modify your attitude and tone of voice. If underneath your words is criticism, disrespect, or sarcasm, your spouse will hear them, even when your words are positive.
Listen to each other carefully and without interruption and request clarification as needed.
Strive for shared agreement, even when it takes longer. At times you might need to agree to disagree or even to deferring to the other’s solution. Regardless still look at and carry out the decision as a jointly agreed. But do not defer just for the sake of getting consensus. It may be better to take a break and come back to it again.
And just as importantly review significant decisions after some time trying them out to assess whether they are working or whether you need to start the process over again. Stay aware for when you need to involve someone else, like a counsellor or mediator, in a discussion or decision to ensure the greatest success.
Decisions work best when you have equal voices in couple discussions. It is important for you both to express what is on your minds and in your hearts freely. Either withholding your opinion or dominating the other in the conversation may negatively affect the outcome.
If one of you tends to be more dominant in speaking, you will need to be even more attentive to give the other an opportunity to have their say. The quieter of you may also need to practice assertiveness. Free expression happens when you are both willing to listen to each other without interruption giving whatever time is necessary to ensure that both of you fully understand what the other is saying before saying what you want to say.
It is important to ensure the genuineness of your motives and intentions in any discussion. If either of you has a hidden agenda—an unspoken intention or goal, or you just want to manipulate the other, any decision you come up with will most likely not work.
So until next time – Relate with Love