HOW TO LISTEN WITHOUT GETTING DEFENSIVE IN RELATIONSHIP CONFLICT
Understanding your partner requires the capacity to listen. Really listen. Couples are advised to hear each other’s complaints without feeling attacked, and as great as this sounds, it’s often unrealistic.
When something you said (or didn’t say) hurts your partner’s feelings, there’s a strong impulse to interrupt with, “That wasn’t my intention. You’re misunderstanding me,” even before your partner is done talking.
Unfortunately, when the listener reacts to what the speaker is saying before the speaker gets the chance to fully explain themselves, both partners are left feeling misunderstood.
DEFENSIVENESS DOESN’T PROTECT A RELATIONSHIP
Being defensive blocks connection, compassion, and isolates you from your partner. Instead of focusing on we-ness, a defensive person focuses on me-ness. Defensiveness is one of the most dangerous signs of toxic fighting because it creates never-ending cycles of negativity.
Taylor: You never make love to me anymore. (Criticism)
Sophia: Well, you never take me out on dates. (Defensiveness)
When I see couples like Tyler and Sophia act defensive towards each other, it makes me smile. They have yet to realize they just want more out of each other.
TRUST IN RELATIONSHIPS IS BUILT AND BROKEN IN EVERYDAY CONVERSATION
Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Intimacy: See Fear, The opposite of.
Well, not really. Not entirely. Fear was taken from the reality of Merriam-Webster. Intimacy was taken from the reality of human relationships. But, ultimately, it’s true – when we are afraid of the consequences, we cannot trust our partners to listen to or fully support us. When we are anxious about their reception, it’s terrifying to consider revealing our deepest feelings, hopes, or dreams.
And why should we make ourselves completely vulnerable when we are afraid? Our internal wiring does its best to prevent us from opening our hearts to those we fear will hurt us emotionally, let us down, or leave us, and this – in the language of evolutionary psychology – may be called an adaptive trait! It’s healthy. We need to protect ourselves!
THREE DAILY RITUALS THAT STOP SPOUSES FROM TAKING EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED
When my wife and I got married, more than twelve years ago now, we were convinced that we would have a happy life together. Our courtship was exciting, and our wedding day was a dream. Little did we know that a switch flipped in both of our heads on the day we said “I do.” Indeed, the very next day—the first full day of our married life—my wife and I would begin taking each other for granted.
It’s only in looking back that I can understand what happened early in our marriage. At the time, the change was so gradual that we didn’t even notice it.
Before our wedding day, our focus was each other, having fun, and building our love. After our wedding day, our focus began to shift. Without realizing it, I viewed our wedding day as the finish line in the courtship race, and I had won the prize: my wife’s love.
THE MAGIC RATIO OF HAPPY AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Whether it’s about not having enough sex, the dirty laundry, or spending too much money, conflict is inevitable in every marriage.
To understand the difference between happy and unhappy couples, Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson began doing longitudinal studies of couples in the 1970s. They asked couples to solve a conflict in their relationship in 15 minutes, then sat back and watched. After carefully reviewing the tapes and following up with them nine years later, they were able to predict which couples would stay together and which would divorce with over 90% accuracy.
Their discovery was simple. The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. There is a very specific ratio that makes love last.
HOW TO REPAIR THE LITTLE THINGS SO THEY DON’T BECOME BIG THINGS
All couples argue. Happy couples argue well. They have strategies for dealing with their inevitable disagreements, and they process their feelings so they don’t bottle up.
We know from Dr. Gottman’s research that both partners in a relationship are emotionally available only 9% of the time. This leaves 91% of our relationship ripe for miscommunication.
The difference between happy couples and unhappy couples is not that happy couples don’t make mistakes. We all hurt our partner’s feelings. The difference is that happy couples repair, and they do so early and often.
CHRONIC STONEWALLING IMPRISONS A RELATIONSHIP
Have you ever watched a child try to get attention from their mom or dad?
“Pay attention to me.”
“Look at me.”
“Mommy, daddy, watch me.”
But what happens if the child’s attachment figure is unavailable and unresponsive? The child will experience distress.
It doesn’t matter if you are 5 months old or 45 years. There are still two basic responses to an unavailable attachment figure.
7 ENHANCING LOVEMAKING CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES
Lovemaking in a monogamous relationship is said to be heart-pounding, breath-taking, and anxiety-freeing. If that’s true, then how come a committed relationship is when many of us settle for the same sexual positions?
Far too often, spouses become “too important” for experimenting in the bedroom. This takes the mysterious element of sex between two people and puts our wild erotic nature into a jar that will never be opened again.
Sometimes partners stop putting in the effort to seduce their partner. They assume the ring on the finger means they don’t have to try; that a wedding band means you’ll be turned on by me, no matter what I do or how I look. You’ll love me till death do us part.
WHY COUPLES STOP HAVING SEX: THE PARADOX OF YES IN SAYING NO
Sexual desire is leaving the American bedroom faster than a Kansas tornado will rip apart a house.
Long-term relationships, far too often, experience a dwindling sex life. “Experts” often blame the coals of passion on women; their vanishing libido post-marriage. Their keen focus on raising the little ones while ignoring the man next to them.
The lack of female desire is a profitable industry. Thousands of books, full of “theories” on why women lose desire, fill bookstores. Meanwhile drug companies with pills like Addyi are “closing the gap” with a Viagra like pill for women.