For many couples, the manner in which they deal with a conflict can be more challenging than the conflict itself. Criticism, judgment, and even name-calling can turn something relatively simple into an issue that has been blown way out of proportion. If you find that communicating with your spouse is a challenge, scheduling some sessions with a marriage counselor can put you on the road toward gentle communication. During your counseling appointments, you'll not only learn gentle communication methods, but also get a chance to try them out with role-playing scenarios. In the meantime, here are three steps that you can use to improve your communication after a conflict.
Don't Judge The Act
It's easy for one person to be unhappy with something the other person does and judge it. For example, if one spouse walks across a freshly vacuumed carpet with his or her dirty shoes on, the other may say, "You messed up the carpet because you don't respect the time I invest in cleaning the house." This is a judgment that may not be true and can inflame the situation. It's better to simply start the conversation by explaining specifically what you saw happen. In this case, you simply saw the dirty footprints on the carpet.
Make It About You
Rather than surmising why your spouse may have done something, it's better to calmly talk about how this act has made you feel. In the above scenario, you could simply state that you feel frustrated about the dirty carpet because you spent time carefully cleaning it. This sort of statement is less likely to escalate the conversation in the same way that accusing your spouse might.
Offer A Helpful Solution
Conflicts between spouses can be easier if each party brainstorms possible solutions to a conflict that has occurred. Doing so gives both people ownership over the situation and over the idea of resolving it. In the above scenario, the offended spouse can offer a simple solution that the other spouse can hear and follow. For example, he or she might say, "I wonder if we could both get into the habit of taking our shoes off at the door. I know it might be tough to remember at times, but it think it will go a long way toward keeping our house cleaner." The other spouse can then add to this solution and, hopefully, the conflict will be resolved quickly and amicably.
For more information or assistance, contact companies like New England Family Institute.