*Reading Sue Johnson’s book Hold me tight is something I recommend to couples. It will help you understand yourself and your partner better. I believe it can help you better articulate what is happening on the inside for you which can help you better express and share your primary feelings with your partner.
* Conflict in unavoidable! Having the goal to not argue is impossible, but learning better ways to communicate with one another is very important. BE CURIOUS AND COMPASSIONATE. Most times, we are not purposely trying to hurt our partner’s feelings. Therefore be more curious about why your partner is feeling the way they are. I know it is SO EASY to become defensive (I am totally guilty of this), but this does not get us anywhere. When this happens we just end up in a ping pong match going back and forth but getting absolutely no where. One person is over explaining and the other defending ourselves. Understanding our partners hurt will only bring us closer together. REMEMBER: Validating is not agreeing! Just because we are understanding, curious, and compassionate to our partner does not have to mean we agree with everything that was said. Once a person feels heard and understood, we then can have more of a conversation exploring our perspectives.
*LEAN INTO EACH OTHER. If you love dogs, like I do, then you will understand this story. I was walking my dog one day and mid walk, she decided she didn’t want to walk anymore so she just sat down and refused to move. Initially, I was annoyed-I had things to do and I just wanted to walk. So I tried to tug on her a bit and that didn’t work, then I tried to yell “come on come on” and that didn’t work either, then I just stood there super annoyed and was in my head feeling angry and surprisingly that didn’t work either. I tried these 3 things about 5 times. Eventually, I just got down to her level and started to pet her and just sat with her for about 1 minute. I stood up and she started walking! YAY!! I tell this story because this is what I want couples to try and do for each other. When we try tirelessly to pull our partner in the direction WE WANT TO GO, they will likely refuse to move. When we can turn towards our partner and just stay where they are for a small time, I am willing to bet they then will eventually want to know, see, and hear your perspective. TRUST that when we sit with each other it is less work and we both leave feeling understood and like we matter to one another.