Saturday, January 29, 2011

Say it, Baby, one more time.

"Fighting couples say they have 100s of arguments, but really its the same argument 100s of times" Gay Hendricks

So how do you stop the merry-go-round of arguments? There is a very simple technique and its easy to apply, it just requires a bit of willingness. Those arguments run and run due to a misunderstanding. If you start by practicing reflective listening you can break the cycle.

For example, try and guess which response might be more effective:

A "I am so sick of you taking me for granted"

B "What do you mean, I cooked last night's meal!" or "You feel taken for granted."?

A "I'm exhausted and just don't feel you understand what it takes to keep everything running smoothly"

B ""For crying out loud, don't you think I'm tired too?!" or "So let me understand this, you are struggling to keep on top of things, you are low on energy and feel unappreciated."?

If you remain open and are willing to learn to compassionately reflect back what you have heard, your partner will feel heard. This has a calming effect on the relationship dynamics thus creating greater potential for resolution.

Just repeating back parrot fashion might result in a frying pan on the back of the head - so use this tool with compassion! Don't just repeat back to prove you have heard. Reflective listening gives your partner the message that what they say is important to you, but remember to listen with your heart as well as your ears.

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