How couples deal with conflict in their relationship has the potential to either draw them closer together or drive them further apart. All couples experience conflict at times because each partner has expectations. The tone and words used to communicate can even create misunderstandings. How we interpret what the other person is trying to communicate can be misunderstood. You get the picture… conflict happens.
So what do Dynamic Couple’s do differently when conflict arises? Dynamic Couples have the mindset to choose to draw close to one another despite feelings of hurt and frustration following a conflict. Rather than be proud and become critical, defensive or shut down, Dynamic Couples choose to resolve conflict, learn from it, and continue to cherish their partner.
Today if you feel like you’re stuck in conflict, try this homework exercise created by researcher and psychologist John Gottman. First, think of an incident that created conflict, a “regrettable incident” as Gottman describes it, and then move through the following five steps to help you work through it with your partner.
The Five Steps of working through a regrettable incident with your partner:
Share how you felt. Do not say why you felt that way. Avoid commenting on partners feelings.
Describe your reality. Take time to state what the conflict was rooted in. Take turns. Summarize and validate at least a part of your partner’s reality.
Share what experiences or memories you’ve had that might have escalated the interaction, and the stories of why these are triggers for each of you.
Acknowledge your own role in contributing to the fight or regrettable incident.
Plan together one way that each of you can make it better next time.