Want a Fight – Or A Solution? 

A Great Idea …

“Discussions invariably end on the same note they begin…If you start an argument harshly-meaning you attack your spouse verbally-you’ll end up with at least as much tension as you began. But if you use a softened startup-meaning you complain but don’t criticize or otherwise attack your spouse the discussion is likely to be more productive.” (Marriage researcher, John Gottman, in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Your Marriage Work, p. 161)

In Other Words …

When we start discussions with an attack, our partners naturally defend themselves. They  become defensive. Rather than getting what we want, we get hurt feelings and damaged relationships. Instead of attacking our partners, we can make requests. Rather than say, “I am so tired of your laziness!” we can say, “I need your help with taking out the trash.”

How This Applies to You…

The next time your partner is irritating you, use your creativity to turn a criticism into a request. Think about the approach that wins cooperation-and use it.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For an excellent book focused on marriage, read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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