2. Accept influence
Our reality is subjective, meaning that there are always two viewpoints and both are correct. Try to understand your partner’s perspective and find some common ground. Can you see value in a part of what your spouse is conveying, even if you don’t agree?
Examples of accepting influence: “Let me try and understand your point of view. Can you repeat how you feel about this?” or “I never saw it that way before but it makes a lot of sense.” or “I don’t agree but can understand how you feel.”
3. Repair often
When things turn negative, try repairing by using humor, empathy, and affection. These repairs de-escalate the tension and soften harsh emotions that may arise.
Some examples of repair attempts: A reach to hold hands or a warm embrace, lightening the mood by teasing or joking (“Can we have a do-over?”) and expressing empathy (“I never understood how hard it was for you until now.”).
Tackling conflict together and coming up with an agreed-upon plan helps you find common ground. Showing respect for your partner’s point of view allows you both to feel like you’re on the same page.
Some examples of compromise: “It’s not your problem, it’s our problem. How can we meet in the middle?” or “Can we develop a plan for compromise?” or “Where is the overlap in our positions?”
Interested to know more about the art of compromise? Read Reaching a Compromise: The Second Part of the State of the Union Meeting
Don’t fret if you find yourself using the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in your relationship. It’s important to understand that these interactions are normal and don’t mean the end of your marriage. With awareness and intentionality, new parents can repair their mistakes and adjust their behavior, especially when they feel like they have a strong connection and friendship.
So the next time you’re sleep-deprived, your baby is crying, and your partner snaps at you, remember Dr. Gottman’s words: “The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between you and your partner.”
By April Eldemire, LMFT
All new parents struggle, as raising kids is not a joke. But remember to keep calm and work together with your partner to stop this from being a struggle. As long as both of you are in a strong and stable place, everything will be fine.
If you want to know more about how new parents struggle and ways to overcome them, then check out this video below: