Meet Tim and Cali, both self-proclaimed stubborn individuals. This has led to some intense moments and frequent break downs in communication in their four-and-a-half year marriage.
As Cali stated, “We’ve had some pretty big blow-outs…I can laugh about it now but when it’s happening we both end up seeing red…”
Tim and Cali realize they have to become better, more effective communicators, especially when they disagree with one another. What they have put into place over the last six months has definitely moved them in the right direction.
Couples Communication: Work to Turn Conflict into Understanding
“After an argument, when we’ve both cooled off, I try to think about Tim’s point of view. I ask myself, ‘What made him so mad? Why did he become so upset? If I were him, how would I feel?’
Let me be honest, this isn’t easy, since most of the time I think he’s being a jerk.” She laughs. “But I’ve come to realize that he feels the same way about me, so who’s to say I’m right and he’s wrong?”
Tim shared a similar opinion. “Cali had read somewhere that it could help to try and understand each other’s perspective, so we came up with this post-argument approach. I actually think it’s helping…”
By waiting to cool off, Cali and Tim are better able to understand one another’s point of view and as you can tell, doing so is a work in progress. But the payoff is greater empathy and a stronger emotional connection (deeper emotional intimacy)—a pretty big payoff!
Self-Reflection Action Step:
Are you willing to give Cali and Tim’s post-argument analysis a try?
Think about a recent conflict/misunderstanding you had with your spouse/partner. Then write down 2-3 questions to think about that can help you better understand your spouse’s/partner’s perspective during that argument.
How can you use this information to help you better understand and be more empathic to your partner?
Don’t rush through these questions–give yourself enough time to really delve deep into your responses.
Strengthen Your Marriage Resource
Are you ready to make effective communication a regular part of your relationship?
I’ve created a resource for helping couples communicate more effectively:
Wishing you and your relationship all the best,
Dr. Rich Nicastro