Keep practicing what you have learnt – 4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict

They say practice makes perfect, but when it comes to our relationships, we are likely to make mistakes. The key is building awareness and developing skills and practicing those skills: awareness of the ineffective ways we resort to when there is conflict and understanding the physical signs that give us an indication that things are getting heated. Then developing skills to engage more effectively and to practice them over and over to ensure we relate better. Be intentional about how you handle conflict.

The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

4. “Keep practicing what you have learnt”

Once you have learned the techniques of fighting fair, practice them over and over until they become second nature. Your objective is to be able to use these techniques during the heat of a battle instead of resorting to your old, ineffective ways.

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of life and what matters is how we discuss and solve disagreements.

More tips next week…

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Simply empathising is enough, you don’t have to solve the problem – 4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict

Validating your partners emotions by looking at the situation from his or her viewpoint can bring enormous benefits to your relationship.

Seek to understand the feelings behind the emotion and seek to understand your partners view. Validate and show empathy as opposed to reacting or responding negatively. This also gives you time to think and process what is being said and ensures your response is more considered. You may not agree but you’ll have approached the issue constructively.

The following strategy from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems. Following on from last weeks post, it is important to validate your partners emotions by looking at the situation from his or her viewpoint:

3. “Validation”: Often, simply empathising is enough. You don’t have to solve the problem. Validation foils criticism, contempt and defensiveness. Validate by taking responsibility for your words and actions, and by apologising when you are at fault.

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of life and what matters is how we discuss and solve them.

Take a deep breath and be intentional about your relationship. Break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems.

Tip three, next week…

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Listen and speak in a way that does not engender defensiveness – 4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. By listening and speaking in a non-defensive fashion, avoiding criticism you can help foster healthy discussion.

Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of life but by speaking non-defensively, this positive posture will benefit your relationship. The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

2. “Speak non-defensively”: Listen and speak in a way that does not engender defensiveness but, instead, fosters healthy discussion. “Praise and admiration” are the best weapons to keep negative thoughts at bay.

Empathise. Realise that your partners anger might be an effort to get your attention. Adopt a receptive body posture and an open facial expression. Limit yourself to a specific complaint rather than a multitude of criticisms.

    Try these approaches:

  • “Remove the blame from your comments.”
  • “Say how you feel.”
  • “Don’t criticize your partner’s personality.”
  • “Don’t insult, mock or use sarcasm.”
  • “Be direct.”
  • “Don’t mind-read.”

Take a deep breath and be intentional about your relationship. Break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems.

Tip three, next week…

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

 

Break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems – 4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of every relationship and what matters is how we discuss and solve disagreements.

The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

1. “Calm down”: You can’t resolve your differences productively if your heart is racing and you feel overwhelmed. Before you respond, take a deep breath, count to 5 and think about your response.

Halt the negative cycle of your thoughts by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This is often hard to do but by taking a deep breath and calming yourself physically, you have a chance. A proven approach is to repeat back to your partner exactly what you heard. You can then seek to understand what was said, giving yourself time to reflect.

If the argument starts to get out of hand, ask for a “time out.” Taking 5 to 20 minutes away from your partner will calm you enough to allow you to listen better and discuss the subject objectively rather than emotionally. Soothe yourself by taking deep breaths, a short walk, or even a short drive.

Tip two, next week…

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

 

Taking a long-term perspective can create a sense of hope and purpose and facilitate growth

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives.

Taking a long-term perspective, where couples can see above and beyond their day-to-day activities is vital. By being intentional and making an effort to start with a clear understanding of the destination and where the couple are going, they can create a sense of hope and purpose and facilitate growth.

Through careful planning and constant assessment and re-evaluation of our plans, we know where we are going, we can plan where we are heading and we can take time to see the bigger picture. This leads to a clear understanding of goals, dreams and your vision as a couple.

Just as the stagnant pond breeds disease, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Take a long-term perspective, determine a plan and assess/reassess your plan regularly.

Married Couples:

Where the focus of a relationship assessment with premarital couples tends to be preventive and educational in nature, evaluation with married couples is more varied. Some couples interested in enriching their relationships wish to use assessment tools as a means of learning more about their marriage. More often, evaluative instruments are used by counselors as a vital aid in marital therapy.

PREPARE/ENRICH is one relationship assessment that can help married couple with improving communication, reducing conflict and stress.

  1. Along with the core scales, PREPARE/ENRICH includes scales on Forgiveness, Personal Stress, and Personality for married couples.
  2. The standard Children and Parenting scale is interchanged with scales for Parenting Expectations, Becoming Parents, Intergenerational Issues, or Step Parenting when relevant.
  3. Health Issues, Role Transitions, Interfaith/Interchurch, and Cultural/Ethnic Issues are brought in when relevant for the couple.
  4. The Spiritual Beliefs scale is customised for Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish groups when indicated by the facilitator.

Tune in for part 8 next week.

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Take the Couple Checkup

Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship

For married couples, a focus on how they resolve conflict, react to daily stressors and interact with each other can reduce stress – significantly

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. Stressors being external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction can be handled in 2 basic ways:

  1. Eliminate the stressor or
  2. Change one’s reaction to stress.

When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.

Married Couples and Stress 

Note the item rated as the number one stressor by married couples is Your spouse. This was the number one stressor cited by both men and women.

Married couples who take PREPARE/ENRICH are often being seen in a counselling situation. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing relational conflict to believe their problems would be solved if their partner would only change. Not only do they believe this, they often express it. Experienced counsellors are used to the finger pointing which often accompanies the initial sessions of marital therapy.

Unfortunately, one partner cannot change the other and this approach leaves individuals totally disempowered in the relationship. In fact, the more one individual focuses on the other person’s behavior, the more resentment, anger, and resistance they typically receive in return.

It is much more productive to help these couples work on things that are in their control including the way they speak to one another, the way they resolve conflict, and the way each individual chooses to react to their daily stressors and interactions with their spouse.

In practice:

Good communication and productive ways of handling conflict depend on couples carefully listening to one another. Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption and then restating what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of the speaker. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood by having the listener restate what they heard.

Examples of Active Listening:

“I heard you say you are feeling ‘out of balance’, and enjoyed the time we spend together but that you also need more time to be with your friends… and you want to plan a time to talk about this.”

“If I understand what you said, you are concerned because you want to go skiing next winter. But you think I would rather to go to the beach. Is that correct?”

When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help you grow closer as a couple.

Tune in for part 7 next week.

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Take the Couple Checkup

Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship

For married couples, exploring your spending habits and values with regards to finances can reduce stress

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. For married couples, external sources of stress around work in and out of the home and income are overriding stresses that couples try to deal with. Communication and functional ways of handling conflict are also vital.

Based on results from the first 20,000 couples to complete PREPARE/ENRICH, the top 5 stressors for married couples were: 

  • Married Couples: 
    1. Your spouse
    2. Your job
    3. Feeling emotionally upset
    4. Inadequate income
    5. Too much to do around the home

    Often times finances are an area of concern and/or stress for couples. More often than not, one or both partners are reticent about sharing their financial resources. This can provide a catalyst for discussing the meaning of the ‘giving’ of one to the other (as usually expressed in the marriage vows) and a ‘shared married life’.

    Couples may find it difficult to reconcile independence, (frequently expressed as a control of money) with the mutuality and compromise that are characteristic of marital harmony.

    Discussion: Use these questions to explore your spending habits and values with regards to finances:

    • What are your spending habits now?
    • What were the spending habits of your family?
    • How do both of you believe money should be spent? Do you agree or disagree?
    • What factors influence how you spend money?
    • What will happen 15 or 20 years down the road if there is no change in your spending habits?

    We haven’t decided how to handle our finances yet.

    • Who will make the decision in regards to how you handle your finances?
    • How will you set up your joint account(s)?
    • How do you plan to spend, save, and/or give away a portion of your income?
    • How can you work toward a financial plan?

    Are you concerned that your partners is more of a spender than you? These can become serious issues in relationships and the earlier they are tackled, the better your relationship is likely to be. PREPARE/ENRICH has several resources to help you unpack and mine the assessment results around money.

    Tune in for part 6 next week.

    Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

    Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

    The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

    The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

    For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship