I wrote this post at Marriage.com when they asked me to keep it close to 50 words. It’s a quick cheat sheet summary of some important principles of finding connection when you’re feeling so separate.
Seven Principles To Avoid ‘Unnecessary Conflict’
- Make the Time Out agreement (view & download here) & return within an hour. When couples are upset and full of adrenaline, there is NO WAY for responsibility and empathy to occur. Take the Time Out to get the adrenaline out of your blood.
- When you return from a time out to reconnect, please be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” Be the first to say what you did that contributed to the conflict. Your ‘first words’ describe what you said or did that made it worse.
- Seek first to understand your partner, before seeking understanding for yourself. This 800 year old principle, first said by St. Francis of Assisi, is the best advice for relationships that I’ve ever come across. In a time of conflict, just give your partner the first 3-5 minutes of uninterrupted time, to fully talk about what he or she wants to express. Nine out of ten arguments will not develop into a flare-up fight, if just one person did this first.
- Orient towards compassion, rather than correctness.
- Seek help if you cannot control your emotions or behavior.
- Get better at accepting ‘not getting your way.’ some people have such trouble accepting that their will is defied, may become so rigid that there are almost zero times that the partners’ needs are met. Perhaps, not even seen or recognized! Get better by practicing. When you know better, you do better.
- Always remember you love your partner.Be Well!