Navigating challenging conversations with your partner

Navigating challenging conversations with your partner

Why can’t I have a productive conversations with my spouse over things that destroy our relationship? You probably have asked yourself this question countless times but the good news is that your are not alone! You just need two sets of skills, that is, effective communication and conflict resolution competencies!

Effective Communication skills

To navigate challenging conversations with your partner, you must nurture your effective communication skills to fully comprehend the dos and don’ts of such conversations.

  • Use assertive language

Using assertive language simply means being clear and straightforward in your communication while at the same time showing respect for your partner.

  • Show empathy

In the present context, one of the principal ways of navigating a challenging conversation with your spouse is showing that you care about what they feel, and fitting in their situations. This is especially important for validating their feelings while seeking remedies to your needs.

  • Avoid blame and criticisms

The greatest disservice you can ever do to your relationship during challenging conversations is criticizing and blaming your partner for whatever reasons. To have a productive conversation in such contexts, avoid the ‘you’ statement as much as possible and replace it with the ‘I’ statement, showing that you own your mistakes. In this context, do not make any assumptions and where necessary, take breaks!

Conflict Resolution

To deploy effective communication skills in challenging conversations with your partner, you need to be competent in at least the following areas of conflict resolution.

  • Give your full attention

Most challenging conversations result from disagreements over unmet needs, financial disagreements, poor communication, and sweeping issues under the rug among other factors. To solve these conflicts, you must not only create time to have productive dialogues with your partner, but also give your full attention to what they have to say in their defense!

  • Resist interrupting

Giving your full attention to the conflict at hand means allowing your partner to express their opinion fully without interrupting them. This is a pivotal way of comprehending your partner’s emotional landscape, and making the sober decision on how to respond!

  • Verbal and non-verbal cues

Verbal cues, such as giving affirmative responses while the partner is expressing their discontent, and non-verbal cues such as complete eye-contact are all essential success factors for conflict resolution.

  • Avoid being defensive

Instead of defending your case throughout the conversation, you would rather reflect and clarify things that do not sound clear to you during the conflict resolution process. This will help you apply emotional intelligence skills to understand your emotions and those of your partner!

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