Are you tired of arguing with your spouse? Do your fights seem to go in circles? If so, the next time you find yourself heading towards an argument, I encourage you to give the following 5 steps a try!
1. Shift from a complaint to a request (This helps you get what you need)
- Make your requests specific, behavioral, and reasonable
- Move from a negative/past to a positive/future focus. Don’t criticize — just ASK!
- For Example: Don’t say things like, “You always do…..”, or “You never….”. Instead say things like, “You did _______, how are you going to fix this?” or “In the future need you to do _______.
2. Speaking out with love and savvy (This also helps you get what you need)
- Contract with your partner to engage in the repair process.
- Remember that you love your partner
- Use the 4 steps of the feedback wheel:
- What I saw/heard – only stating the data/facts as though a video camera recorded the scene.
- What I made up about it – this is the assumptions you made, the narrative in your head, you are not necessarily being rational, this is just where your head went.
- How I feel about it – make sure you use feeling words to describe how you feel and not what you think.
- What I would like to see happen in the future….and then let go of the outcome.
This, by the way, is my favorite skill! Using the feedback wheel is one of the most effective ways to communicate a need to your spouse. In using this, you are being relational and staying on your side of the line. Your partner will still respond however they respond, however, using the feedback wheel is an effective way to put your best foot forward.
3. Responding with generosity (This is to help you give what you can to your partner)
- Listen to understand
- Acknowledge whatever you can
- Give whatever you can
4. Empowering each other (This is to help you to give what you can to your partner – in other words, how can I help you give me what I need)
- Acknowledge the gifts the responder has offered
- Ask what you might do to help the responder deliver
5. Cherishing – the overall BIG picture! (This helps you to grow, sustain, and honor all that you have)
- Remember abundance
- Give your partner specific feedback
- Nourish yourself and your relationship with time and energy
*This information was taken from one of my most favorite books, “The New Rules of Marriage”, by, Terrence Real