The conflict has come to a head and both are in the kitchen screaming at one another. Blame and accusations are coming rapid fire. Nothing is getting solve. It’s hard to listen when a fight gets to this level.
So here are 6 ways Jack and Rachel can calm down and try to solve this conflict.
1) Use humor to break the tension. Crack a joke. Make a funny reference or laugh at how crazy they both sound. This will calm down their physical bodies as well. Rachel could say something like, “We sound like crazy people right now” and start to laugh. Or maybe, “Oh no, we are becoming our parents!”
2) Acknowledge that some part of what your partner says may be true. It is easy to go on the defensive when confronted. But instead of reacting with anger, pause and ask if there is any truth to what the person is saying. You may not agree with the person’s point completely, but take responsibility for your part. Jack could admit that he doesn’t offer to help with chores. Maybe he should come up with one that he could do. Rachel could suggest they both come up with a list of what has to be done and then talk about the items one at a time.
4) Agree to one point of positive change. Even when you are angry, it is possible to calm down enough to think and make a change. If you stay angry, you can’t think. So make it a goal to think of one possible change. For example, could Rachel and Jack agree on who does dishes, rather than trying to solve all the household chore problems at once.
5) Tell your partner you see his or her point (show empathy) of view. Empathy keeps anger levels down. If you can see the other’s person’s perspective, you will understand the person better and his or her motivation.
6) Check your physical and mental states. If you are tired, sick, hungry, anxious, overwhelmed, etc., you are more likely to respond poorly. Wait until you feel better to address an important issue. Maybe this is a topic for a weekend discussion when the couple feels more rested. They could say, “Hey we need to talk about this because we have to get things done even though we are both tired. Let’s deal with this Saturday morning.”