Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Can You Stay NICE During a Conflict?

posted by Linda Mintle

arguing couplePlease, when you come home, would you help me with the kids? I am trying to get dinner going and need you to take them for awhile. Is that asking too much? “

It seems like the minute I walk in the door, I can’t do enough. I barely say hello and you are shouting demands at me. I know it’s a crazy time of day, but could you at least give me a moment to breathe before jumping all over me?” 

Sound familiar? We all get into with our partners. The question is, when you do, can you stay nice during an argument? You relationship might just depend on it.

When emotions run high, one of the most important things you can do is respond in a loving and soothing manner. Couples who do this usually have high trust in each other and can calm each other down. Then, they are able to have a somewhat constructive conversation.

The key is to lower the emotion that is about to boil over. When partners feel overwhelmed with emotions, conflict doesn’t go well. They get what we call flooded–unable to think and make relationship repair.

One way to lower emotion is not to criticize. Resist that temptation to let loose and try to stick with the facts.

“Honey, I need help with the kids when you come home. I feel overwhelmed and need you to take them out of my hair for about an hour”  Notice, I left out, “Is that asking too much?” 

Make your request and then assume your partner will be responsive. If he is not, then try to get his perspective before flying off the handle. Try to stay as neutral as possible and state your need. The partner needs to resist the temptation to become defensive. Maybe pause, breathe, and focus on staying calm. Once calm, try a little negotiation.

“I’m happy to help but I need about 10 minutes just to unwind, change clothes and take a breath. Does that work for you? I promise I’ll get to it and get the kids out of your way.” 

Notice that this response is not critical. Both partners stay nice during the conflict. They still are emotional, frustration is felt, but they keep that frustration from escalating and turning into criticism. They focus on their needs and try to present them in a way that doesn’t cause defensiveness.

So next time a conflict arises, remember to stay nice. Keep yourself calm, present your request in terms of what you need. Have a little faith that your partner might respond and then negotiate.

 



Previous Posts

Can You Multi-Task If You Are A Digital Native?
Lately, we've heard a lot about people who think they can multitask but perform poorly. So parents all over America are turning off music and screens, telling their teens to focus on the single task of studying. Good idea, right? Maybe not for all teens. Two high school researchers put togethe

posted 6:00:05am Oct. 28, 2014 | read full post »

10 Ways to Recover and Respond to Angry Email
It happens to all of us. Someone sends an email that upsets us and we react by firing off an angry response. This impulse to react usually leads to regret and ends up damaging our relationships. So how do we respond to hurt, upset or accusation from an email? And what do we do if we react in a

posted 6:00:35am Oct. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Is Fear Stopping You From Taking Medications?
If you have ever seen a TV commercial for a specific drug, you probably wonder why anyone would ever take that drug. The speed reading list of possible side effects is enough to stop most of us from even considering that drug. But the FDA requires that ads list the possible side effects of a medicat

posted 6:00:50am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Could Watching Violence and Sex in Movies Affect Your Children?
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are considered good parents. But are they too lenient when it comes to letting their children watch movies filled with sex and violence? A new study sheds light on why parents may be too lenient when it comes to allowing children to view sex and violence in films. The Annen

posted 6:00:06am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Waiting: The Trying of Patience
Flying is no picnic these days. I dreaded the two-stop flight I recently took and for good reason. I was delayed on each leg. Fortunately, I had long lay overs and didn't miss connections, but several people on my flights did and found themselves waiting in airports for hours. What should have been

posted 7:27:31am Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.