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Are the Same Old Fights Impacting Your Relationship?

When you and your partner are at odds, do you notice the same old fights come up? You’re upset about the kids, he wants more free time, you feel he doesn’t share his load of the housework and it all boils down to the same old script – just a different day. If you and your spouse are constantly rehashing the same fights, you have one blaring issue: you’re not resolving the problems. Fight topics keep coming up when they aren’t resolved and this can impact your relationship a lot more than you might think. Sex and emotions are tied together as one. The more animosity you both have, the less likely intimacy is at the forefront of your relationship. The good news is you can get past your rehashing and move on to a more healthy and satisfying relationship.

Housework

One of the more common fights among couples is about housework. One may feel they’re doing more than enough while the other feels nothing is being shared. By creating a fair division of the housework you and your spouse can move past this. There is no formula or definition of what is “fair” – it is all about what you and your spouse find to be fair. For example, you want help with the laundry, but he is in charge of all of the yard work. Consider splitting up the task by him helping put laundry away and you start managing the weeding or gardening to help even out the workload.

Money

Let’s face it; money and relationships don’t always mix. Most relationships are based on opposites – you’re attracted to someone opposite of you. Therefore your money management skills and styles may differ. Perhaps you’re the spender, but your partner is the ultimate saver. Rather than try to conform or make your partner become more like you, sit down and look at each other’s point of view. Ask yourself why your partner saves money, but you don’t mind spending it. Perhaps your partner feels your money situation isn’t as secure as you do, but sitting down and discussing these feelings may help you both see eye-to-eye on household finances. Also, consider doing the bills together either bi-weekly or monthly. Make a budget that works for both of you, but doesn’t upset the other.

Intimacy

Sexuality between a couple can often just boil down to your desire versus your partner’s desire. Whether it is you that wants more or him, negative feelings can arise when one partner feels rejected or neglected by the other. Consider sitting down and discussing what you both need out of your relationship. Find out where you are mismatching and if there is a compromise you both can live with. By understanding what each person is feeling, you can work to a viable solution.

Whether your fights are about low sexual desire, money or who does what around the house, rehashing the same fights will get your relationship nowhere. Instead, look out for the common fights and ask yourself why they keep coming up. You might be surprised at how unresolved these simple issues are and how easy they are to solve.

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Creating Work-Life Balance

This is an image that comes to mind for many when balance is mentioned – being on a tight rope with so many things to keep aligned so that you or nothing else falls.  In this post, we will discuss steps to take to view balance as a desirable state that produces a feeling of well-being.

Clarify Your Values – Many decisions are based on what we believe as being important to us.  Determine what you value, both in work and your personal life, by giving it worth, merit or importance.

Set Your Goals – Goals are based on your values and what we hold as important.  Goals should help give you focus.  A goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  Make your goal specific and as detailed as possible by answering the six “W” questions – Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why?

Prioritize – By listing your goals on a to-do list in order of importance, you will be able to address the issues that need the most attention.  Consider time constraints, requests from others, and any consequences.  Know that you can always come back to this list to re-prioritize.

Be Flexible – Being flexible is important as priorities can often shift and change due to environment, circumstances or demands from our job, partner, children or friends.  Remaining flexible allows you to more easily reevaluate your values and/or goals.

Take Time For Yourself – Making time for yourself is extremely important because your health and sense of well being will have an effect on you reaching your goals and balancing your work and life.  Gift yourself the time to meditate, exercise, rest, and/or pamper yourself.  Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you for it.

Signs Of Burnout – Burnout can take place when you are under a lot of stress – emotional exhaustion, physical exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed, lose of interest or motivation, lack of productivity.  Learn to listen to yourself to really understand when you may be close to burning out and needing to take a break.  The earlier you recognize any of the signs, the better you can prevent and work on the issue.

Ask For Help – Do not be afraid to ask others for help!  Seek advice from your partner, friends, and other family members.

Remember that work life balance is always an on-going process, never a permanent state.  We are constantly making choices and those choices help determine whether or not your life is in balance.  If yours are aligned with what you hold most important and valuable, you will likely feel a sense of balance.

 

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Relationship Communication Quiz

Here is a true or false relationship communication quiz.  There are no rights or wrongs in the number of true or false answers to this quiz.  Simply look over your responses to get a feel for where communication problems or perceptions exist.  Encourage your partner to take the quiz as well, either together or separately, either way will suffice. Once you both have a tally on where the communication in the relationship stands, refer back to the article on communication in relationships to review some basic communication principles for a healthy dialog between partners.

1. I often cannot seem to find the right words to express what I want to say.
True or False

2. I do not speak up because it tends to only make things worse.
True or False

3. I tend to worry that exposing myself to my partner will result in rejection.
True or False

4. I often do not speak up because I am afraid my opinion is wrong.
True or False

5. I talk too much and do not give my partner a chance to speak.
True or False

6. I do not look forward to my partner speaking.
True or False

7. My speech can often be defensive.
True or False

8. I frequently bring up my partners past failures.
True or False

9. My words do not match my actions.
True or False

10. Once I get started in an argument, I have trouble stopping.
True or False

11. I do not honestly listen.
True or False

12. I try to repay anger with anger or insult with insult.
True or False

13. I tease my partner too much.
True or False

14. I do not spend enough time speaking of really important things.
True or False

15. I often lie by omission.
True or False

16. It irritates me when my partner brings up a problem.
True or False

17. I think that it is important to lay out to my partner all of the complaints I have about them.
True or False

18. I tend to say, “you always” or “you never,” when discussing my complaints with my partner.
True or False

19. I rarely state my complains to keep from hurting my partner.
True or False

20. I state my complaints often in a heated manner.
True or False

21. I do not like to argue because I feel arguing reflects poorly on the relationship.
True or False

22. I do not like to discuss our negative feelings because it only makes us feel worse.
True or False

23. I do not feel I should have to bring up what is bothering me because my partner should already know.
True or False

Again, there are no rights or wrongs in the number of true or false answers to this quiz.  This is just to simple gage where you are currently in your communication process of your relationship.  As with all things, knowing is the first step forward.

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Family Communication

Regardless of how much everyone loves one another, most families will experience problems at one time or another. Learning to communicate openly and honestly can help build relationships that will withstand these challenges that families face.  When you calmly communicate how you feel with your loved ones, you create an atmosphere that encourages and allows them to respond and share how they feel.

To practice building awareness of the many ways – both verbal and non-verbal – that you communicate with those you care about, begin to pay attention to how well you actively listen and also hone in on what your non-verbal communication is divulging.

Active Listening – Active listening is allowing the listener to be involved with the speaker.  It is to better understand what is being said and gives us the opportunity to be fully present for the speaker.  Listen silently with full attention on what the other person is saying by establishing eye contact, nodding and using encouraging phrases.  Also take the time and consideration to really acknowledge the speaker’s thoughts and feelings.

Nonverbal Communication – Communication experts estimate that 90 percent of our messages is not what we say, but rather how we say it.  Our body language carries the credibility of the messages we send and will either reinforce or contradict our words.  Often times, when we are not talking is when we are saying the most.  Use eye contact to establish a connection and keep your body posture open and accepting rather than closed and defensive (i.e. – arms crossed over your chest).  You may want to do a nod of “uh-huh” to show that you are actively participating in listening to what your loved one is communicating.

The people in your family are likely you most loved ones in your life.  It is important to show affection and appreciation during the sometimes difficult moments we have as families.  Like the old saying “it is not what you say, but rather what you do,” take the opportunity to show and participate in affection.

Affection – Each member of the family has a need for love and affection.  Each person also has the responsibility to show love and affection to other people in the family.  The way you show love can be different for the different people in your family. What one child feels is loving might be felt as bothersome by a different child.  Each person’s individual needs should be respected and thoughtfully tended to.

Appreciation - Begin to recognize and appreciate the contributions of everyone in the family, together and individually.  It is amazing to start to see the small things that really help make the family whole and complete.  Take time to show your family members how much you appreciate them and how much they matter to you.  Ways of showing appreciation may vary from child to child and partner, so add some extra time and care into what you think each member of your family may enjoy as a form of appreciation.  Remember there is never such a thing as too many hugs!

Our relationships with others are what enrich our lives, especially the ones who we call family members.  If we are able to communicate with our families openly and honestly, it will only improve the quality of our lives and strengthen the bond our families.

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Why Equality in a Relationship is Essential

Equality in a relationship or marriage is not always easy, but it is definitely essential. The traditional balance in the home is shifting as more women are seeking professional careers outside of the home. Fortunately, most modern men are willing to pick up the slack around the house. They are glad to help and they are capable of handling a larger portion of the family responsibilities than their own father would have been able to do. This shift in household duties is a big step towards equality, but it has created some unique challenges for newly married couples.

Women are Their Own Worst Enemies

When couples first move in together, most women will willingly take on the majority of the shared duties and they will care for their man without any complaint. They never ask for help and are grateful for anything their husband chooses to do on their own. They will do everything necessary for the first few years and then suddenly crash. Eventually the stress of managing a full-time job, plus having to get all the groceries, cook all the meals, wash every dish, do the laundry, dust, and vacuum will become too much to handle and things will start to go wrong.

She will immediately blame her partner even though she never asked him for help in the first place and he’ll have no idea why he has upset his wife so much. He’ll also be so unfamiliar with the routine and cleaning schedule that it will only further infuriate her when he tries to help out and he doesn’t do it properly. This is a common recipe for disaster that affects many new marriages.

How to Establish Equality Early On

It is important to discuss and divide household chores as soon as you move in together, whether you are married or not. If the woman in the relationship handles all of the cooking and cleaning in the beginning, it is harder to get a man to participate in those chores in the future. Each person in the relationship should make a list of things they don’t mind doing and then compare. You may need to compromise on some things, just make sure to divide them as evenly as possible.

How to Create Financial Equality

Couples that establish equality with household chores should also fairly divide the shared expenses. Make sure to divide the bills based on each person’s income, so neither is paying more than they can really afford.

How to Maintain Equality after Children

Daily duties drastically increase after you have children, so it’s important to once again establish responsibilities. Instead of dividing up the tasks, try sharing them since most responsibilities regarding parenting are also bonding opportunities. Use the tag-team approach and take turns getting up during the night, feeding the baby, and changing diapers.

Equality is essential for your future happiness and it is important to establish it early on. Talk to your partner as soon as you move in together and set up rules for managing the shared responsibilities and expenses. Communication and honesty in the beginning will help ensure that you have a long and happy marriage.

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Cultivating Communication Skills in your Relationships

It is very likely that you and your partner have many similarities along with many differences. Your similarities are what brought you together in the first place.  As far as differences, you both grew up in different households with different rules, expectations, and experiences.  Along with these things, it is also likely that you grew up learning different communication skills.  It is important to get on the same page with your partner with communication, as it will make a world of difference in your relationship, for all stages of the relationship.

Here are some tips to help improve communication in your relationship.

Speak Your Truth – Talking through any problems you may be having is critical to long-term success in a partnership.  It is common for woman to silence their emotions and for men to lash out, however, it is also possible for these roles to be reversed.  If you are able to get into a pattern where you can both discuss your feelings – calmly and rationally, as they happen in the present moment verses letting them sit and fester, only to be dealt with later when a whole other issue may be boiling as well – you will likely avoid some of the upset and begin to live a more harmonious life.  Try to keep things light by using humor and smiling – which will release feel-good chemicals in the brain.

Tune In – Listening without thinking about how you are going to respond is a great practice to improve your communication skills, and not only with your partner, but with any relationship you have (family, friends, co-workers).  Repeating and paraphrasing what your partner has said before you respond is key to effective communication in your relationship.  Speak up on what you need and encourage your partner to do so as well.  You will likely be better equipped to meet each others’ needs if you are both able to really tune into one another and then apply what has been said and agreed upon to your relationship.

Focus On The Positive – One of the differences between the relationships that succeed and the relationships that fail is the ability to express positive feelings.  If you have a negative communication style that consists mostly of accusations and upset, begin to replace your negative words with more positive ones.

Touch – Things such as a playful touch, a knowing gaze, or a gentle smile, are all simple ways that can accomplish more communication than words can at times.  Very few people can come up to you and kiss you or place their hand in yours – a playful little touch like that can be very soothing.  It is a physical connection to one another.

How well you both are able to communicate to one another will factor in how smoothly other things in your relationship run.  Remember that clear and focused communication is a skill and it takes practice and time to cultivate it into your relationship.

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Building Your Marriage on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness are based on the Satipatthana Sutta, one of the most important and widely studied discourses in Buddhism. This fourfold “establishment of mindfulness” was created to help us attain, as well as maintain, moment-to-moment mindfulness in our lives.

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness are:

  1. Mindfulness of your body
  2. Mindfulness of your feelings
  3. Mindfulness of your mind or consciousness
  4. Mindfulness of how your mind operates

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be a Buddhist to benefit from practicing mindfulness in your marriage. As we’ve read in The Mindful Marriage, mindfulness empowers you to become more present to everything in your life, including your relationship with your partner.

Mindfulness of Your Body

The first foundation is mindfulness of your physical body. This base foundation provides a starting point and brings you into the present moment. You can get in tune with your body by doing Mindfulness Meditation or by conducting a body scan.

The intention of a body scan is to simply become aware of and present with your body. It’s nice to relax and it’s great if it happens, but that’s not the goal of this exercise. The goal is to check in with each area of your body in a nonjudgmental way, to feel what there is to feel.

The Mindful Marriage Body Scan
Begin by sitting comfortably. Start to “feel” into the areas of your body that are in contact with your chair in this moment. Feel into where your feet touch the ground. Feel where your legs, your back, your arms, and maybe even your head comes into contact with the chair. You may be feeling tingling or a change in temperature. Notice your breath entering and leaving your body. Remember to continue to breathe easily throughout this entire exercise.

Now, move your attention to your ankles and lower legs. What do you feel? Perhaps it’s the pressure of your legs against the ground or fabric. If you notice that your attention is somewhere else, gently and without judgment return your attention to your legs. Sometimes it’s helpful to imagine that you are breathing into your lower legs – as if your attention could ride on the breath.

Next, move your attention to your knees and thighs. What do you feel? Remember, tingling or even numbness counts as a sensation. Notice that thinking about a specific area or picturing it in your mind’s eye is different from actually feeling it.

Let your focus move from your thighs to your lower trunk, your pelvis and your belly, up to your belly button. Notice any sensations in these areas.

Now, let go and feel into your upper body – your stomach and chest areas, feeling the sensations of the breath here with each inhalation and each exhalation. Feel your spine against the back of the chair. Notice any sensations – or absence of sensations – that are here.

From here, move your attention to your hands and each of your fingers. Then, when you’re ready, move your focus to your wrists and forearms and feel there. From there, move to your elbows and upper arms, noticing any sensations or lack of sensations. Remember, if your mind wanders off, bring it back to the body part you are focusing on.

Move your attention to your shoulders, the back of your neck, and then to your head. Feel your jaw, your face, mouth, nose, cheeks, eyes, forehead, and your entire face.

Now, become openly aware of your entire body again. Imagine breathing from the crown of your head all the way down into your toes and up and out again. Notice all the sensations in body and allow them to be just as they are in this moment.

Allow some movement back into your body, like wiggling your fingers and toes. Stretch your body in any way it wants that feels good. Take a moment to reflect on your experience.

In marriage, mindfulness of your body will help you to become cognizant of yourself before tension can elevate into conflict. For example, if you’re talking with your partner and you feel a knot in your stomach, it may be a signal that you need to express something that you’re holding back. Pay attention to fluctuation in your body temperature, pressure in your head, tension or pain in your joints, and tingling in your hands and feet.

Mindfulness of Your Feelings

The second foundation is mindfulness of your feelings or sensations. As you begin to become mindful of your physical body, your awareness of feelings and sensations also becomes heightened.

Feelings can be classified into three tones:

  1. Pleasant
  2. Unpleasant
  3. Neutral

These tones correspond with your emotions and help you to see things as they really are.

It’s not unusual to see things differently than your partner. For example, if you both watch the same movie, one of you may love it and think of it as a pleasant experience while the other may really dislike it and perceive it as an unpleasant experience. Your different “feelings” about the movie can result in a disagreement that escalates and leads to conflict.

Coming to terms with your feelings and emotions, especially when they’re unpleasant, can be downright uncomfortable. Given the choice, most of us would prefer to avoid them and push them under the rug. This is unhealthy. Instead, take time to understand your feelings and label them – pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Remember that these tones aren’t judgments or thoughts. They are merely a way to classify what you are feeling and sensing so that you can comfortably “be” with things as they are.

Mindfulness of Your Mind or Consciousness

The third foundation is mindfulness of your mind or consciousness. Another way to think of this foundation is to be mindful of your mental state without making judgements. This foundation focuses on turning your attention towards your mental activity (those thoughts and emotions running rampant in your head) and offers up a different lens to see them as objects that can be observed in a non-reactive way.

Just like your feelings and sensations, your various states of mind come and go, depending on what is happening in your relationship and your life in general. Sometimes you are restless and discontent, sometimes you are happy and full of positivity. These thoughts, feelings, and states of mind can pull you into a narrative that may not be accurate. This only serves to distract you from the present moment.

As you learn to observe your mental states without judgment or opinion, you can start to disentangle yourself from unbeneficial thoughts. Mindfulness of your mind with this awareness will empower you to approach your marriage with a newfound perspective.

Mindfulness of How Your Mind Operates

The fourth and last foundation is mindfulness of how your mind operates. This foundation focuses on opening yourself up to the world you experience.

This asks you to look at your subjective experiences as a gateway. It prompts you to ask questions like, “What am I identifying with or resisting that keeps me tied to this suffering?” or, “What is the origin of this suffering?” Being mindful of your experiences in this way allows you to get to the root of your subjective experience, allowing you to become fully aware and open.

For example, if you’ve had a regrettable incident with your partner, you’re likely feeling sad, angry, misunderstood, tense and/or irritable. You may launch into negative thoughts and judgments about yourself or your partner and how you both reacted. You might be thinking, “Why was he/she so mean? Nothing ever seems to work between us!”

If you can be mindful of how your mind operates, unpacking the experience so it doesn’t remain a ball of confused emotions, sensations, and mind states, then you are more apt to reduce gridlock in your relationship. This allows whatever is arising in your body in response to conflict – that tension or shortness of breath you’re experiencing – to come and go with an attitude of friendliness, openness, and understanding. In this state, you become more self-aware and can resist the urge to stonewall.

Putting these Four Foundations of Mindfulness into practice will ultimately put you in touch with your body, feelings, mind, and how your mind operates, helping you to wake up to yourself, your partner, and the needs of your marriage.

 

Article source: The Gottman Blog

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Handling Resentment

Sometimes even the best marriage is not always 100% perfect. There are times where both parties will feel a little resentment, and while this will not cause a divorce, it is all about how the couple handles these issues that makes the difference. When people ignore these emotions and just sweep them under the rug, more toxic feelings can fester, which leads to resentment. For men, it is easier to sweep an issue under the rug than attack it, so understand what makes your husband aggravated and how to handle it may actually improve your marriage.

How Your Handle Your Fights – Happy couples have fights, too. A happy couple, however, knows how to fight better. Rather than blaming their partner, they discuss their feelings and what they are aggravated about. When you need to bring up a conversation, try not to start it off on a negative note or with the blame-game; instead, let your partner know how you feel and what you suggest to overcome it.

How You Treat Your Spouse – You might think your husband is a slob or cannot dress himself, but if you start doing it for him, he will resent you. Treating your husband like a child or talking down to him can create significant resentment issues. After all, no one wants to feel like they are not in charge of their own life.

Having Others Involved – Men rarely enlist the help from others to solve their marital problems. Women, however, will discuss it with friends and family. These individuals will get involved, which only makes matters worse. Rather than allow others in, create a couple’s bubble and keep your marital issues between the two of you.

Basic Appreciation – Your husband does things and does not expect appreciation for it, but there are times offering up praise is important. If you only recognize the things he does wrong and you do not offer praise for the things he does right, he may start to resent you for it. Consider noting when he does things right and giving him the attention he deserves for it.

Withholding Sex – How many times have you gotten upset with your partner only to withhold sex? While you might think you are justified, holding sex back as a way to punish your partner does long-term damage to your relationship. This can create feelings of resentment that your partner will harbor for months – if not years. Next time you are upset, tell him, rather than withholding sex.

Trying To Change The Other Person – People can change, but only when they want to change. There may be something you don not like about your partner, but you should not work to change that thing. If you focus on all of the things you do not like about your partner and try to change them constantly, they will not feel like their own person. Instead, accept your partner for the way they are, let them do their quirky things and work on changing what is really important – let the little things go.

While these things may seem trivial, the more you do them, the more they add up. Try to avoid negative feelings in your relationship by discussing your issues with one another. Keep in mind that happy couples still fight and it is perfectly healthy. But the way you handle the fights and what you fight about can determine the overall success of your relationship.

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LIFE in Relationships

When a couple first gets together everything is new. There’s an excitement that can make the relationship feel like it will never end, like things will never change. However, as time goes on and life gets in the way, the dynamics of the relationship changes and we have to look at the sudden distance that has surfaced.

The closeness that was once there seems to have withered away. The gentle hand-holding or even the casual public displays of affection are becoming a memory. Where has the time gone and why is the relationship fading? You ask yourself, is the end approaching, do I need to get relationship tips from someone specialized? You know you love your partner and you know that each and every day wouldn’t be the same without them in it. So if that’s the case, then why do you seem further apart?

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the relationship for what is it. In most cases the relationship is not over even though it may seem that way. Instead, you simply need to breathe a little life back into your relationship. The foundation has always been there, but over time so many things have gotten in the way and the two of you have forgotten about the basics that brought you together in the first place. That love and ultimately that connection need to be remembered because it’s those things that make you the couple that you are.

Remember these great little tips to breathe life back into your relationship:

L – Laugh

Laughter is one of the best remedies when it comes to rebuilding a connection with the one you love. Take time to be silly. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, laughter makes you feel good.

I – Instill

Instill confidence in one another by remembering the best qualities that you bring to the table. Why do you love the one you’re with? What was it that made you fall for them? If it was his/her sparkling personality then remind them of how special that is. Instill confidence in them that they still make your clock tick.

F – Forgive

Forgiveness is hard to do but if you’re holding onto any anger, hostility or resentment then in order to truly make a fresh start you need to forgive them. It’s the only way you can truly wipe the slate clean. Without it, you never will truly reconnect.

E – Embrace

Don’t ever forget that there is power in a single touch. When you’re hurting or sad, a simple embrace can feel so good and make everything seem ok. It also reminds you of how good it feels to be so close to the one you love. Take time to hold one another and remember that connection and how good it feels. Sometimes the best remedies don’t involve words but more of a touch.

Breathing life into your relationship doesn’t mean years of counseling and therapy. Sometimes you just have to remove all the obstacles and get to the heart of what used to be and what can be again.

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Behaviours in Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

In this article we will go over the behaviors that intensify conflict along with the behaviors that diminish conflict.  There are many areas in which differences may appear in our relationships.  We may find that we disagree about politics or religion, or we may have different styles of communication which could become problematic over time.  Healthy relationships expect and allow for differences – in a healthy relationship, you will find ways to work through them together.

Behaviors That Intensify Conflict

Criticism – Negating or blaming your partner in issuing a complaint.  “You are so inconsiderate when…” is a criticism that could provoke defensiveness in your partner.

Contempt – Scorn, disrespect, or disgracing your partner.  Some forms of contempt underlie verbal abuse.  “You are so dumb…”

Defensiveness – Denying a problem or denying your share of personal responsibility for problems in the relationship.

Stonewalling – When a partner is stonewalling in communication in a relationship, they are usually using delaying or stalling tactics, refusing to answer questions, doing what can be done to hinder or obstruct a discussion, or bluntly refusing to cooperate with their partner.  This behavior usually drives away and rejects their partner.

Flooding – Overwhelming the other person with a bombardment of words or emotional outbursts that do not allow a true dialogue between the two of you.

Behaviors That Diminish Conflict 

Set Boundaries – Boundaries are the limits we set to protect ourselves.  Some examples of boundary-setting for conflict are:  No name calling; no use of obscenities; no yelling; no going to bed angry; and, keep past arguments in the past.

Clearly Communicate Your Needs – If you want or need something from your partner, it should be your responsibility to communicate those needs clearly and directly.

Identify And Own Your Feelings – Using “I” statements helps describe your feelings.  For example – “I feel upset when you forget to call and tell me that you will be late for dinner.”  Describe your emotional reactions to behaviors and events.  Try not to attack the person or personality of your partner.

Learn The Art Of Negotiation – Every relationship we have with each other has a give and a take.  When you have differences, find ways to come to an agreement together that you can both be satisfied with.

Drop Your Assumptions – Step back from judging or assuming that you know what the other is thinking or feeling.  When we assume we know why someone said or did something, and then proceed with that as “fact”, it causes us to react to our assumptions rather than understand the facts of the situation.

Consider The Other Person’s Point Of View – Do not lose sight of the other person’s perspective – learn to value it.  Listen and acknowledge the other person’s concerns, then talk about why you perceive the situation differently.  Encourage your partner to explain their feelings and make assurances that you want to understand their perspective.  Then make an honest attempt to listen and honor their perspective.

Create Win-Win Solutions – Sometimes when dealing with differences or conflict in a relationship, we can get ourselves locked into position of needing to be “right” and make the other person “wrong”.  With your partner, forget “right” and “wrong”; the question should become whether or not what the two of you are doing is working in the relationship.  The disagreement then is transformed into a problem that the two of you can work on together to improve.  Be flexible; be open to new approaches in addressing conflict in the relationship.

Maintaining a healthy relationship takes time, energy, and work.  With these guidelines to lead as an example, relationships can not only maintain, but also grow.