In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to resolve issues without compromise, sacrifice or concessions.
It IS Possible! I’ve been talking over the last few episodes about making decisions in your marriage without the need for compromise, sacrifice, or making concessions. I hear many of you saying, “Lesli, that sounds great but is it really possible? If it is, why isn’t everyone doing it?” To be honest, the main reason it isn’t happening is because the steps are counterintuitive and you need to practice them consistently to get really good at them.
Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage by Lesli Doares
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High Emotions. Think about the times you, or your partner, bring up an issue or problem for discussion. It’s usually one of two times: when something related to it happens and you are having a reaction to it; or when you’ve been mulling it over for awhile and have built up the courage to bring it up. In the first instance, you are responding emotionally. In the second, because more than likely you have caught your partner off guard, they are responding emotionally—usually defensively. Either way, the presence of high emotion makes having a productive conversation and reaching an agreeable decision that much less likely.
Good Decision Making. The key to good decision making, where both of your viewpoints can be heard and accepted, is remaining calm. Once either of you gets emotionally reactive, your ability to really listen to your partner diminishes. It’s as if all of your senses are flooded and you can’t take in any more information. If you can’t listen, you can’t be open.
If you can’t be open, you can’t negotiate. Unfortunately, this is when concessions, masquerading as decisions, get made. The counterintuitive, but most effective, behavior is to table the conversation until you both calm down.
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Emotional Reactivity: Managing your emotional reactivity is essential if you’re going to reach agreement about anything. If you can’t, the only thing you’re going to do is have an argument. One of the best techniques I provide my clients to manage their emotions and minimize arguments is a simple 1-10 scale. It’s a simple way of determining how emotional you are at any particular time. 1 is when you are completely calm; you’ve just had a relaxing massage or a great night’s sleep and all is right with the world. 10 is when someone is going out the second story window and you don’t who.
If you rate yourself higher than a 4, your main focus is to do what you have to do to get yourself down to that level. You don’t want to address the issue until you are there. You and your partner’s scale don’t have to be the same but you both are defining your emotions using a common language.
Scale 1 to 10. Give this technique a try. You will be amazed what a difference it can make in your relationship. This one simple tips has helped many marriages open lines of communication successful. Until next time, I hope you have a loving day. ~ Lesli
About Lesli. Lesli Doares is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and an expert Marriage Consultant for Huffington Post, SELF Magazine, Woman’s Day, the John Tesh Radio Program and more! To schedule a confidential appointment with Lesli, contact Lesli for a confidential conversation.