I saw a pair of Canadian geese fighting this evening. It was incredibly powerful to watch, and quite terrifying with all the noise and commotion breaking the early evening stillness. Eventually one goose retreated under a willow tree, and sat alone until the calm and stillness set back in.
Something that stuck in my mind was how often couples seem to go into verbal battle with each other, until one of them withdraws, both partners sitting silently alone. Both feeling defeated.
The truth is, when one partner feels verbally attacked, they feel the need to defend themselves, or attack back.
Verbal attack or abuse can take many forms. It can be criticism, unkind words, veiled threats.
But also, it is common for one person to FEEL attacked, even though their partner didn’t mean offense.
Do you find that you and your partner can go into attack and defense mode with each other? If so, maybe it’s time to think about changing how you say things to each other:-
- Consider replacing negative words with positive ones; say what you would like instead, rather than what you don’t like.
- Talk about your own feelings, rather than focusing on accusations and blame; use “I” statements, rather than “you” statements.
- Wait for the right time to bring things up; not 5 minutes after your partner walks in the door.
- Ask for your partner’s agreement to talk.
By creating the right environment, you can enhance the quality of your communication.
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