How to Stop Disagreements From Escalating in Your Marriage – Relationship Advice
Listening is not enough. When couples begin my private online 1-to1 or group coaching packages, one of the first things they say to me is they have a problem with their communication. I often hear the following:
“We can’t communicate”
“They don’t listen”
“Everything ends up in a row.”
“We sometimes don’t talk for days/ weeks or months”
“I cannot remember the last time we had a good conversation.”
If this is your situation right now, and your relationship is distant and lonely like mine was, where my partner preferred to watch TV than spending time or making love to me – this article is for you.. It can be painful to have to walk on egg shells in your own home, minding what you say in case it results in an explosive argument or the silent treatment.
Rest assured in this article I am not going to tell you that you need to listen to each other. Although that is crucial because you probably learnt that at school when you were taught to “take it in turns” and not interrupt when working or playing with others.
The point I want to make today is that listening is not enough. Yes, you read correctly if all you are doing when you discuss issues is listen, the chances are it won’t help you resolve the issue.
This was true for Michael and Sue, who went to marriage counselling for 11 months and it failed to have any positive impact. They spent thousands and thousands of dollars, travelled way over an hour to get there and back and felt worse and more hopeless after. They were having clashes over intimacy and alcohol. Michael felt they had a sex problem in their marriage and Sue felt they had an alcohol problem/addiction affecting the relationship. In both instances whether it is a sex problem or alcohol problem, one has more control than the other and rather than working around this, they were guided through marriage counselling for many months to talk this issue through and really listen.
Appointment after appointment went buy where Michael would say we have a sex problem as his wife refused to be intimate and Sue would share how disappointed she was that her husband drank every night and got very drunk on the weekend. In her view drinking alone and being unable to engage in family activities the next day was “wasting life away” in Michael’s view he was purely relaxing after a stressful day at the office. This continued for months, they really listened and got nowhere. Michael said to me, Nicola we do now understand each other’s position better, but we both feel worse after a session – because we have listened an nothing has changed.
Studies show that 75% of people end up separated after marriage counselling! Alarming isn’t it. That is because listening is only a small part of how to resolve marriage problems or save a marriage.
There are another 2 steps after listening to put marriage problems to rest these are
In addition to listening we need our partner to show us that they understand us. That they don’t think we are crazy and they have listened enough to understand the logic behind it. When a husband or wife share with each other that they have a valid point of view, often this can be enough for the couple to be able to move forward. Either address the issue, compromise and find a solution.
To do this in your relationship, all you need to do is say something like
” You make sense”
“I can see how you think that way”
“I see your logic”
“You have a valid point”
When you do this you are also showing respect. The more respect shown in communication the less destruction. When you say these statements it does not mean you are agreeing but that you can see how they might be able to view it in that way. One of the worst habits many of us have is defending our own point of view as either superior or the only one that counts. When we validate we move from challenging confrontation to open dialogue and couples find they can then relax more as they discuss.
Don’t take my word for it. Try it. You will be amazed what a difference it makes to stop arguments from escalating.
Compassion is the next step. Trying to imagine how your partner is feeling. Compassion takes the conversation deeper as you focus on trying to understand the feelings behind their thoughts.
This is where you say
“Given that, I can imagine that you might be feeling. . .” Imagine is a great word, because we never know how someone else is feeling. Another obvious way is to say something like
“I am sorry you feel that way…”
If you are having trouble communicating in your marriage you need to do more than listen. But in truth, if you are not feeling connected focusing on communication alone won’t do much either. Connection is key and should always come before communication in close relationships. You cannot connect by talking alone, it always takes action.
Michael and Sue after months of talking joined my online save your marriage program and took action to become closer. They started spending their evenings together talking, walking, cooking and dining out, they gave each other attention, affection and appreciation. They found that Michaels desire to drink lessened and Sue’s desire to be intimate increased. This change happened in only a few weeks after years of fighting. They didn’t need to talk about problems.
Helping couples to connect and become closer is something that I focus on in all of my relationship transformation programs. We start by taking action to create more love , whilst simultaneously clearing any negativity, resentment and past hurt. Communication techniques comes after this as you need love, trust and closeness for communication to be effective. If you want to learn more about how to create more love, join my marriage secret master class where I give you a full 90 minutes on how to have a loving, close and happy relationship – even if you are the only one trying. To book your place visit https://training.nicolabeer.com/webinar-signup
From my heart to yours Nicola
Relationship and Connection Specialist
Nicola Beer – www.nicolabeer.com
P.S I always send a replay of the Marriage Secret Master Class, so if the time doesn’t work for you, but you want to get the marriage secrets – sign up anyway and you will get automatically sent a replay link to watch when you can do so in peace. https://training.nicolabeer.com/webinar-signup
Can’t wait for you to join me and take your happiness to the next level