Talk is not cheap, but it can sa­ve your ma­rria­ge

Re­sent­ment over wrongs, di­sa­gree­ments over the kids and fi­nan­cial wo­rries can be bree­ding grounds for so­me of the worst adult beha­viour

La Jornada (Canada) - - ENGLISH SECTION -

They lo­ved each ot­her so much. Ever­yo­ne thought they we­re a per­fect couple. Of all the couples in their cir­cle, they de­fi­ni­tely had the ad­van­ta­ge, com­mu­ni­ca­ting so well with each ot­her.

That’s what we all thought - un­til they got di­vor­ced!

When that per­fect couple is at an im­pas­se, why start figh­ting li­ke chil­dren?

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion can be a real cha­llen­ge when the pres­su­re is on. Re­sent­ment over per­cei­ved wrongs, di­sa­gree­ments over the kids, fi­nan­cial wo­rries - the­se can be bree­ding grounds for so­me of the worst adult beha­viour.

Even if you’ve ma­na­ged to avoid being ser­ved a di­vor­ce no­ti­ce un­til now, co­ming ho­me angry from work every day can ta­ke its toll on even the most rock-so­lid ma­rria­ge. Add in­fi­de­lity or a lack of trust and you ha­ve a re­ci­pe that cau­ses mo­re than 50 per cent of Ca­na­dian ma­rria­ges to end in di­vor­ce.

Of all the cha­llen­ges fa­cing couples, com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­bably tops the list. But the­re are se­ve­ral things you can do to deal with inevi­ta­ble pres­su­re in a po­si­ti­ve, res­pect­ful man­ner. And it doesn’t mat­ter whet­her you are at­tem­pting to get your ma­rria­ge back on track or simply wish to na­vi­ga­te di­vor­ce with a little less an­ta­go­nism.

Our first res­pon­se to con­flict of any kind is usually emo­tio­nal and not ty­pi­cally po­si­ti­ve. A break­down in our re­la­tions­hip of­ten cau­ses the most re­si­lient among us to feel the burn on our self-es­teem. It’s best to ex­pect this and re­cog­ni­ze that your but­tons are li­kely going to be pus­hed and your sus­pi­cious si­de will be on high alert.

Ins­tead of re­sor­ting to chil­dish com­mu­ni­ca­tion - fin­ger poin­ting and as­sig­ning bla­me - con­si­der de­plo­ying mo­re use­ful stress ma­na­ge­ment stra­te­gies. For exam­ple, call for a ti­me out when you feel your but­tons being pus­hed. Go for a brisk walk and chill for at least 10 mi­nu­tes be­fo­re you re-en­ga­ge in the con­ver­sa­tion.

Ma­ke a com­mit­ment to not using every four-let­ter word in your vo­ca­bu­lary, screa­ming, tea­ring your hair and run­ning out the door, des­pi­te your in­cli­na­tion to do so. The­se are not ef­fec­ti­ve ways to deal with pres­su­re. You are the only per­son who can de­ter­mi­ne the amount of stress you feel. Your part­ner or ex-part­ner is not ma­king you crazy or ex­plo­si­ve. But you can pro­bably bla­me your ne­ga­ti­ve fi­xa­tion on the pro­blems!

Re­mind your­self to be con­fi­dent, stand tall and keep your head and eyes fo­cu­sed sky­ward. Main­tain an air of cu­rio­sity to com­bat the ten­dency to wa­llow in emo­tio­nal to­xi­city.

Act con­fi­dent but not over­bea­ring. We’ve all run in­to peo­ple who are so arro­gant that we just want to sho­ve a pie in their fa­ce. If you ap­proach peo­ple with the at­ti­tu­de that you’re the only in­te­lli­gent one in the room and ever­yo­ne el­se is a buf­foon, you won’t sti­mu­la­te much pro­duc­ti­ve com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Stop reac­ting and start res­pon­ding. When so­meo­ne ma­kes a ri­dicu­lous or un­foun­ded sta­te­ment, don’t snort and say, “Se­riously?”

Ins­tead, ta­ke a deep breath and ask, “Can you plea­se ex­plain that a bit furt­her?” or “I don’t ne­ces­sa­rily agree with what you are sa­ying be­cau­se. ...” Keep your voi­ce light and your at­ti­tu­de one of cu­rio­sity for the­se sta­te­ments to work the best.

Lis­te­ning is a great way of com­mu­ni­ca­ting un­der pres­su­re. As Jeff Daly, the chief de­sig­ner of the Me­tro­po­li­tan Mu­seum of Art, on­ce said: “Two mo­no­lo­gues do not ma­ke a dia­lo­gue.”

And it ne­ver hurts to re­mem­ber the Gol­den Ru­le: Do un­to ot­hers as you would ha­ve them do un­to you.

Even a couple at odds can com­mu­ni­ca­te in a fas­hion that keeps the acri­mony at a mi­ni­mum and can lead to re­so­lu­tion, or at very least a pea­ce­ful par­ting of the ways. -TROYMEDIA

Con­flict Coach Faith Wood is a no­ve­list and pro­fes­sio­nal spea­ker who fo­cu­ses on hel­ping groups and in­di­vi­duals na­vi­ga­te con­flict, shift per­cep­tions and im­pro­ve com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Faith is in­clu­ded in Troy Me­dia’s Un­li­mi­ted Ac­cess subs­crip­tion plan.

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