What to do when the classic “never go to bed mad” does not quite fix everything in your relationship!
By Melissa Pullman Weisel
Each relationship is unique, requiring different levels of attention, love, and support. Being attuned to your relationship takes hard work (for example, taking time to anticipate your partner’s wants and needs at the end of a long stressful work day as well as stating what you need such as, a few minutes to vent about your day). Establishing a deeper appreciation for your partner’s world can increase empathy and help you understand the motives driving your partner’s behaviors and feelings, such as childhood memories. Putting time into building a strong foundation together and utilizing supportive communication can help decrease hostile relationship patterns from forming and stop already existing patterns from spiraling into constant negative interactions.
Here are some quick tips to help address tough issues with your partner during a conflict:
- Before you confront the conflict, make sure you and your partner are breathing at a normal pace. If you feel like you are in a fight or flight mode- take a quick break to slow down your heart rate.
- When describing the situation to your partner, discuss the behavior- not your partner’s personality flaws. Pointing out the behaviors can make it easier for your partner to recognize needed change.
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Explore the situation by considering other factors that might have interfered with the situation.
- Use “I” statements to describe how you are feeling about the conflict. This may help your partner understand your point of view without feeling attacked or put on the defense.
Create and keep positive patterns in your relationship.
What to do
- Learn your partner’s communication style. Recognize when your partner is reaching out to you. Send short texts/communications throughout the day but leave the larger conversations for in-person. (Texting all day might decrease the amount of in-person sharing you do with your partner and may take away from the non-verbal connections like tone of voice and facial expressions!)
- Plan a weekly date to connect with each other romantically outside of daily responsibilities. Don’t forget to have fun!
- Revisit goals and any progress you have made in your relationship towards a future together.