For most couples in conflict, there is little to no engagement once one of them leaves. But avoiding the emotional intensity of conflict postpones healing and blocks the emotional connection.
By saying, “I will be back in 20 minutes,” you’re giving your partner the reassurance that you will return. This reduces their anxiety to continue criticizing you because they know you will return to work through the problem.
During these 20 minutes, intentionally focus on replacing problem-maintaining thoughts such as “my partner is so mean,” with relationship-enhancing ones such as, “my partner is just stressed out and frustrated. We need to work together to find what’s best for both of us.”
Ask For What You Need, Not What You Don’t
When both partners restart the conflict conversation, focus on expressing the positive needs you have. Follow this guide here.
If you’re the stonewaller, do your best to search for the longing in your partner’s words. You can even ask, “what do you need?” This need should be positive and actionable. If your partner is vague and says, “I need you to love me,” you should respond by saying, “I understand you need me to love you. I want to do that too. Tell me, what can I do that would make you feel most loved?”
During conflict conversations with your partner, take extra time to share an appreciation for listening and responding. This will help keep the conversation more positive than negative and support the stonewaller from feeling the need to withdraw.
Consistent stonewalling is a sign a relationship is ailing. Take this sign seriously, because when you consistently turn away from your partner, you’re not just avoiding a fight; you’re avoiding your relationship.
And your relationship needs you to thrive.
If you want to transform conflict into a material to build a stronger and more connected relationship then read Kyle Benson’s conflict blueprints here.
Written by Kyle Benson Originally appeared in KyleBenson