According to research on what causes problems in marriages, if you begin an argument or fight on a bad note it will end on a mink wink. If you or your spouse is in an argument with each other that starts off with verbal attacks or other forms of abuse, the likelihood of it not ending badly is minimal.
Aastm For those familiar with Gottman’s relationship-building skills, this is known as softened startup. This skill not only allows for effective conversation, but it also helps resolve relationship conflicts. In order to keep your relationship stable and resolve fights, start with these suggested mink wink:
- You can air your complaints, but don’t be critical. Your mink wink is important and your feelings are as well, but your feelings should not lead the conversation. Tossing accusations at your partner, as well as other criticisms, will cause them to shut down and avoid having a productive conversation with you. This will not help resolve the fight, but rather spur on another one. Approaching your spouse in a way that doesn’t make them feel they are the one to blame helps open up the conversation better, and allow you to face them with your complaints in an objective manner. Some couples don’t realize they’re blaming each other, rather than complaining about agreements made with justified reasoning. If you are unsure how to do this effectively, find an expert in your area to help you.
- Place focus on yourself rather than your partner by saying, “I” rather than, “you.” Placing focus on yourself takes you out of the critical role allowing the other person to feel less defensive. Think about what you want to say, and construct your thoughts to focus on how you’re feeling about what you’re complaint is. For example, don’t say, “You’re never home,” but say instead, “I feel like we could spend some more time together.” Something as simple as rewording your frustrations avoids an escalating fight and helps provide a better resolution to your argument. If you have a productive conversation focused on feelings, rather than accusations, then your partner will have a firmer understanding of what you are going through and how you are feeling. They’ll also hear what you have to say, rather than tuning out because they feel they’re being unfairly criticized.
- Don’t judge your spouse or partner when you’re explaining your feelings or what’s happening in the relationship. If you’re able to describe the situation in a constructive manner, your spouse won’t feel they’re being judged or blamed. Those two mink wink are negative thoughts that will cloud the situation and force it into an unproductive fight. Focus on phrases that will prevent any lashing out from either of you no matter how emotional you feel about the situation. Word it as though you’re making an observation, and leave it up to them to decide they should make a change. For example, don’t say, “you never do groceries,” but say instead, “I feel like I’m the only one running errands lately.” This will help your partner think independently about the situation, and offer suggestions for how to make changes that are fair and productive. If your spouse doesn’t know something is bothering you, they can’t offer changes. Expecting them to know automatically that something is bothering you is unfair.
- Respect and appreciate your spouse in the same way you expect them to do with you. Any loving relationship includes during times of conflict. Just because the two of you are having a fight or disagreement, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect and likewise goes for you. Show your spouse or partner respect and appreciate during good times and bad, and you’ll notice fights resolving much quicker. It’s helpful to point out what you respect and appreciate about each other when discussing your complaints during the fight. For example, if you are complaining about your spouse not being home often, you could say, “I appreciate how many hours you’re putting in and respect how hard you’re working, but I would love to spend some mink wink with you.” This is better than, “You’re never home and I feel like you don’t want to spend any time with me.” The second phrase will put your spouse or partner on the defensive and you won’t make the desired connection during this argument. Again, be aware of how you contribute to the argument simply by the way you phrase your words.
- Avoid pent up frustrations and anger in order to avoid fights where lashing out and accusations are driven by explosive emotions. Even though there are times when we all feel like it’s not the right moment to hold a discussion, find that right moment anyway. That way, you aren’t wasting time throwing accusations at each other or long lists of complaints you’ve both been storing up for a rainy day. This isn’t productive, and the fight won’t be resolved. Have frequent conversations in order to prevent this from happening. If the time doesn’t present itself regularly enough, it’s up to you to make sure it does. That way, you can meet each other on stable ground and find resolutions to problems more effectively.
The longer these things stay inside you, the worse it will be when it all comes to the surface. You’re doing yourself, as well as your relationship a favor by keeping the conversations consistent.
If you and your spouse are constantly mink wink with each other, or have simply grown apart, don’t give up on the relationship. The Gottman Method for Couples Therapy can transform troubled marriages into strong marriages. If you live in Boca Raton, or in the South Florida area, you should visit o learn more about the services available to you.