Couple’s arguments may take on a format you are not happy with. You could find they start and end the same way. They might be about the same things. The past may get brought up in couple’s arguments as well.
If you experience recurring issues in your couple’s arguments, it may means that the issue is not resolved for one person. Perhaps this person may not feel listened to or understood. There may be a past hurt that needs repair. Often the other person may make the situation worse by defending him or herself from a perceived attack or criticism.
Coming to a resolution
Did you know that according to John Gottman, renowned couples therapist and researcher, 69 percent of couples’ arguments are unresolvable? So, why waste time trying to win? If it can’t be resolved, try to reach a position of understanding the others’ point of view. So that they don’t have to continually reassert it. This way, it won’t keep on surfacing in other arguments.
The winning strategy
Here is one winning strategy for getting your point across without hurting your partner or yourself. Firstly, you need to let go of the need to be right. It is a losing strategy that can end up making you both feel worse. If a couple’s argument is driven by the need to be right, things can escalate quickly. This leaves you both feeling hurt, angry and upset.
Each of you may have a different perception of the situation. This doesn’t mean that one person is right and the other, wrong. It just means that you see things and are affected in different ways. Try to understand your partner’s perspective (without saying they are right). Listen with interest, not just for content, but also for the feelings being expressed, and those not expressed. Try to reflect back to your partner what you’ve heard with a brief summary and validation of their main points.
This is a winning strategy that can result in you each feeling validated by the other person, leading to closeness and trust.
If you’re tired of the same couple’s arguments, try learning a new way to communicate with your partner about the issue. For example, I coach couples in using a powerful 5-minute one-way conversation (developed by Gottman; and Bader & Pearson). This allows each person to get their point across without criticising or blaming their partner. Each person can feel validated, listened to and understood.
Three benefits of coming to see me as a Sydney couples counsellor
- I am trained in using various strategies from effective couples counselling models developed by leading researchers and therapists, John Gottman (completed Level 2 training in this model), Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson (12-months’ training in the Developmental Model), and courses in Emotional Focused therapy. I’m experienced in integrating strategies from these approaches in order to find the most useful approaches for you.
- I identify your strengths as a couple and use these to create a positive environment for change.
- My aim is to guide you both through a process of deeper understanding of yourself and your partner, so you can build a stronger, closer connection if that is goal.
I was touched to receive this testimonial from a couple I worked with.
We are very different personalities but neither of us likes to be wrong. The strategies we learnt with Linda helped to take the heat out of the moment and look at things in a calm way. Our style of arguing changed and we actually felt better after an argument, instead of worse. Even if we still don’t agree with each other, we are now more willing to understand the other’s point of view and what they’re asking for underneath the complaint. Linda has unique skills to coach, guide and help you navigate the choppy water and be prepared for the eddies underneath!
Contact Linda Magson, Sydney Life coach and counsellor, for help to improve your relationship with your partner. Email Linda. Call or text: 0402 073 086
Links to other articles by Linda Magson that may help