Friday, January 21, 2011

The Fight Recovery Guide for Couples

If you've recently had a knock-down-drag-out argument with your spouse, I am very sorry. Fighting is exhausting and extremely stressful.

I believe you can make it better and will recover from this bad fight, but there are two things you need to do: (1) think about what happened and why, and (2) have a talk about what happened and work towards healing from it.

To do both of these things, I'd like for you each to spend some time thinking about the questions below, do this on your own. Once you have your answers, make a "date" with your spouse to discuss your responses together.

If things get heated again, take a break and calm yourself down. Working through this issue is stressful for you both! Calm yourself and do anything you can to help soothe your partner. You will get through this.

1. Summarize your experience of the fight. How are you feeling about what happened? What are your thoughts and feelings about the fight?

2. Share your subjective reality. Summarize your own personal reality about the disagreement. What was the reality or "the truth" for you?

3. Find something in your partner’s story that you can understand. Now, try and see how your partner’s subjective reality might make sense, given your partner’s perspective. Tell your partner about one piece of his or her reality that makes sense to you.

4. Are you emotionally flooded or too upset to talk? If you're really upset - a level 8 or more on a scale of 1-10 - then take a break and self-soothe before continuing.

5. Admit your own role. It is essential that each of you takes some responsibility for what happened. See if anything from the list below applies to your situation.
1. I have been very stressed and irritable lately.
2. I have not expressed much appreciation towards my partner lately.
3. I have taken my partner for granted.
4. I have been overly sensitive lately.
5. I have been overly critical lately.
6. I have not shared very much of my inner world.
7. I have not been emotionally available.
8. I have been turning away from my partner.
9. I have been getting easily upset.
10. I have been depressed lately.
11. I would say that I have a chip on my shoulder lately.
12. I have not been very affectionate.
13. I have not made time for good things between us.
14. I have not been a very good listener.
15. I have not been asking for what I need.
16. I have been feeling a bit like a martyr.
17. I have needed to be alone.
18. I have not wanted to take care of anybody.


Overall, my contribution to this fight was:____________________________________.

6. Make it better in the future. What is one thing your partner could do differently next time? What is something you could do better next time? What do you long for now to help you feel comforted and reassured?

17 comments:

charm said...

I feel like people have to take into account that cheating doesn't always mean lying, it just means not being faithful in a supposedly monogamous relationship. I've met people who agree to their cheating spouses with certain people, under certain guidelines, and getting something out of the arrangement as well.

peanut said...

I think these are brilliant tips and will be using them if the need ever arises.
I think that listening more is also useful. I've found when arguments occur, sometimes it is because one or both partners are not listening. Perhaps set up an agreement between yourselves so that each partner has some time to talk uninterrupted. Well thats my two cents anyhows :)

Getagirl said...

Wow this is such an informative blog and I love your articles because it will truly help many people in making their relationship successful. Cheers!

Baibeb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
butterflylips said...

I found your blog while searching relationship advice. I find your blog very help. My husband and I don't always have the best relationship. If it is ok I would like to post some of your content to my own blogs.. www.MommasBored.com and www.blog.Butterflylips.com. I would give your blog full credit. I only have a hand full of followers but I think they'd enjoy your advice.

Modern Love Daily said...

Some good advice here.

As a relationship coach, when I speak to my clients, I help them develop rules for disagreements for them to go over when they are not fighting.

Rules for Fighting

It allows them to associate these rules to happy times and when they do find themselves in an argument they are more likely to follow the rules.

Great advice@

YouthPlay Staff said...

Dr. Kathy,

At first you were really losing me with the big words but in the end I got it. I will ask those questions after our next fight. After reading comments on the Sisterly Advice blog, I decided to seek out a blog with a professional. Thank you.

Happy Life said...

I always like to step back during an argument and take a deep breath. It helps calm me down and gives me time to think instead of immediately reacting based on an intense emotion.

maichel said...

amazing topic

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~ Well Wisher ~ said...
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