It can be tempting to either fire back in an effort to defend ourselves, or to change the topic, or to bail out of the conversation. Or maybe we fall to pieces which may prompt our partner to take it back, so we don’t have to have that difficult conversation (except we both remember that it was said).
It can be really hard to face these painful truths or at least truths as our partner sees them. Actually, these might be the most difficult conversations. The challenge is to calm ourselves down and stay present in the conversation, so that we can really talk about what is going on, beyond the surface.
Then Speak Calmly
It can be tempting to use a forceful tone, or anger, or guilt, to really drive home a point. We may tell ourselves that there is no way that our partner won’t be convinced. Except often they aren’t. The problem with adding too much emotional heat to what we say is that it tends to trigger the person on the receiving end and they mostly respond to the emotion and not what is being said.
So whatever we think we’re communicating is getting drowned out by the delivery. These are the times when it is much more effective (and powerful) to say something calmly and directly. Say what’s bothering you, acknowledge your partner’s perspective, own up to your contribution, and then ask for what you need.
Sometimes when we’re upset, we focus on the parts we’re unhappy with but aren’t clear enough about what we would prefer instead. No wonder then that our partner doesn’t know what to do better next time or doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal anyway. Don’t make them guess but also don’t let them fool themselves into believing it’s no big deal if it is.
Even if your partner starts off with a bunch of attitudes, remember that you’re making a choice to respond in a better way because you will get more of what you want. Don’t tell yourself that this is about respect and they can’t talk to you that way and therefore you need to fire back at them.
Real respect is about someone being the bigger person and getting the conversation back on track to a productive resolution. If it needs to be you this time, then so be it.
Lengthen Your Fuse
Good emotional self-control begins with good self-care. This is all that New Year’s resolution stuff—get more sleep, eat better, exercise regularly, and manage your stress. I know, I know, it’s way easier said than done. But you will behave better in those heated moments if you have a stronger foundation. This will make it easier to communicate clearly what you really want, in a way that your partner can work with.
Good communication is vital in making your relationship a success, and it is almost impossible to sustain a relationship without this. As long as you and your partner have a good grip on your emotions, and know how to navigate them, you will be in a good and healthy place.
If you want to know more about good communication, then check this video out below: