Building Communication and Resolving Conflict
Marriage is hard. No one ever said it was an easy road. Ironically, it can be very easy to fall into a rut of indifference through the years. The difficult part comes in heaving yourself and your spouse out of that rut to get back on the road. Many couples don’t make it. Others survive and manage to keep going, sometimes happily, sometimes not quite so. And still others embrace the new chance they’ve been given as a couple and fight through the hard times. The best way to do that is through marriage or couples therapy.
That’s because it’s all too easy to get on our own side in marriage. We get tunnel vision, really. And sometimes it takes another person – someone completely on the outside, unbiased to what we’re all about – to truly make us realize what we just can’t see when left to our own devices. It isn’t about the blame game, it isn’t about pointing fingers. It’s about a true collaboration of two people who love each other enough to try.
Communication: The Foundation of a Strong Marriage
Sadly, marriages end many times due to failure to communicate. It’s one of the simplest of bad habits: negativity tends to grow the more it is nurtured. Silence can kill a marriage far more quickly than any big fight can.
Most couples make three main communication mistakes in marriage:
- Yelling at your spouse: When you’re upset, you raise your voice. That anger creates tension, which builds and builds until it is released. Your spouse is an easy target for letting out all your disappointments. You may feel better in the moment but the damage those words can do will haunt you both for a long time. That’s because yelling unleashes lots of strong, negative emotions that will take center stage rather than your spoken message, says PsychCentral. This only serves to set up your partner to become defensive rather than responsive.
- Making it all about competition: Many people feel the need to “win” every argument. They stockpile bullet points to solidify their argument and use those to point blame. By building a case in your mind every time you have an argument, you’re also building a wall between the two of you. You’re exhausting and demoralizing your spouse rather than making it about a productive conclusion.
- Putting the focus on Me Instead of We. Perspective is everything. We tend to focus on how things affect us, when we should be looking to our spouse to see what their viewpoint is as well. In fact, take a step back from the issue itself and figure out ways you can infuse more mutual respect in your everyday interactions. Generosity and considerate behaviors can help nurture a marriage that may be a bit rocky at the moment. Instead of getting trapped into thinking “what’s in it for me,” do something good for the other person without expecting anything in return. Only you can stop the pattern of negativity with something positive.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
Contact us at (715) 381-1980 if you are experiencing tough times in your marriage or romantic relationship. Midwest Psychological Services has several providers that bring training and experience to the table when it comes to family and couples therapy. Let us help you improve communication to resolve conflicts and finally begin to heal the wounds of unresolved issues.