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3 Crucial Factors When Choosing To Engage During A Dispute.

Perhaps no more vulnerable time exists than when we are in a disagreements with our spouse and the matter must be discussed.  I dare not say resolved because some things are not resolvable that quickly.  

The old notion of "Never Go To Bed Angry" needs to be put to bed.  There are some matters that a little sleep can actually help and the clearer your mind, the better you will work to find resolution.  Let yourself get exhausted and you will soon find that you say foolish things and make worse inferences. 

Fools Rush In - A great movie and song, an even better bit of advice.

So when the "A.R.E." in the relationship breaks down and you find that you are not there for each other, it is not uncommon for one or both of you to rush to "fix" the problem or "save" the marriage.  I am reminded of a saying that I heard a long time ago.  It was attributed to back country first responders training.  It goes - "Don't Just Do Something - STAND THERE!"  The last thing that you want to do when you are emotionally charged and adrenaline driven is act.  Just stand there.  Don't be a fool and rush in.

So - Brett! What should we do?

Never a fan of the should, What I suggest you consider the options and then CHOOSE to act on the following three things.  

1)  Follow the advise of the late great Michael Jackson.  Look squarely in the mirror and ask yourself - what part of A.R.E. did I drop?  Only when we take an active honest look in the mirror and honestly answer the hard question of personal responsibility will we ever find true connection in our relationship.


2)  Honestly ask yourself, "What does my partner need and how can I provide it?"  Fear and aggression, along with withdrawal, are all tied into self protection in some way.  When our relationships fall into the chaos associated these, we are neurologically incapable of responding until our base fears are quieted. The ability to think logically literally turns off until we calm down. To engage in a frozen or activated partner will only make it worse.  Validate what they are saying.  Accept/ignore that you are a "jerk" or anything else that might get hurled at you.  

The more you learn to meet the underlying pain and calm fear, the faster you will be able to resolve the disconnection. 

3)  Seek first to listen to than to be listened to.  This one shift on the way we communicate with our spouse can make the most dramatic impact on how distress is resolved.  Listen to both your reaction and what they are saying.  The more focused you are on hearing and less on speaking the more you will hear their true need and be able to respond to it.  This requires vulnerability and compassion, both vital in a relationship. 

Follow these three "rules" and you are sure to find deeper relationships and fewer distress moments.  As both of you practice this model, you will quickly find that small things no longer escalate to mountains.  


"Don't Let Business Bankrupt You Family"
America's #1 Entrepreneur Marriage Success Coaches

Brett M. Judd MSW and Gina H. Judd LPC The Relationship Renewer. +TheLoveEntrepreneurs

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