The way and frequency couples have been known to fight go a long way in determining how long a pair would last together. Couples have been studied enough to know their pattern of quarrel and what triggers it.
It can be downright unbearable to watch couples yell at each other, and four distinct patterns have been noticed. Let’s evaluate them, shall we?
This can be termed as a way of dealing with an issue or issues that involve attacking or blaming your partner. When criticism is being dished, you are indirectly implying that something is wrong right about them, something unbearable. Most prominent keywords used in this form are often centred on “never” and “always”.
“You are always…” “You have never…” and using this words can trigger a feeling of panic and your partner may feel attacked or rejected and would inevitably get defensive. If you notice you use these words often when you and your partner get into a fight, it apparently means you criticise, them and there are ways to go about stopping it if you want to take some bold steps in saving your relationship.
To try something different and change this behaviour, psychologists recommend that you do the following;
- Acknowledge there is a problem
- Avoid using the word “never and always.”
- Express how you feel as clearly as you can and avoid raising your voice, so you don’t get into an argument
- Make your request positively
This is the act of opening disobeying or disrespecting your partner, and it has been known to be the number one enabler of divorce. When your attitude towards your partner is displayed through contempt, then you can be sure to get mean, aggressive or even nasty to your partner.
Acts of contempt may include sarcasm, mockery, name calling, scoffing, hissing, eye rolling and murmuring. These behaviours are incredibly damaging and can make your partner feel less of themselves or even worthless, and it could significantly weaken the immune system and considerably have an adverse effect on mental health. Ways to curb this nasty act would include;
- Take note of when next you and your partner might likely have a fight or an argument and endeavour to lower your tolerance for contemptuous remarks and behaviour.
- Focus more on the positive attributes of your partners and comment on them instead. Contempt often happens when you pay more attention to the qualities you dislike your partner. So by doing the exact opposite, you not only work on your relationship, but you also work on yourself.
- Try writing down the things you cherish about your partner and have them do the same. You can both share what you wrote with each other and see how it affects your relationship positively.
No one likes being caught in a corner, especially in a position that makes them very vulnerable. The defensive mechanism in a relationship is usually a quick response to criticism. This happens when you try to either lie, play the victim, cry, give excuses and sometimes go all the way to blame your partner for what you are arguing about with the aim that they would back off.
As this might work for some, it, however, isn’t nor is it utterly efficient since the excuses you give only passes the message that your partner’s concerns mean nothing to you and you aren’t capable of taking responsibility for anything, not even your actions.
You can easily tell if you are exhibiting this harmful habit if you say things like, “this isn’t my fault, it’s yours” or “I did nothing wrong,” then you need to understand that you are not only defensive, you are also steering your relationship on the wrong course. Going on the right path would require you to;
- Admit your mistakes
- Take responsibility for your mistakes
- Own up to your errors and stop trying to avoid talking about them
- Try listening to your partner especially when a habit of yours bothers them
- Say sorry and be honest about it
Stonewalling can typically build up when criticism, contempt and being defensive has escalated beyond overwhelming measure. This happens when there is an apparent emotional wall between you and your partner and the signs of stonewalling may include disinterest in any form of conversation, withdrawal from arguments, and physical and emotional separation (partners could be I the same room and avoid communications with each other).
Let us hope you and your partner haven’t gotten to this point in your relationship because it might be difficult to have your relationship back as it used to be. This destructive phase would have your partner having a feeling of resentments towards you and no matter how much you try to make them laugh; it would do no good.
Walking away from talks, giving your partner the “silent treatment”, overtly hesitant to say sorry especially when you are at fault, are clear indications that you in the “Stonewall” phase of your relationship.
However, it’s better late than never right? You and your significant other can try the following techniques to salvage your relationship.
- Try and give notice beforehand that you need to talk and would love it if they were available at a given time. Purpose? So you don’t catch them off guard since your partner might equally have plans too.
- Ensure not to seem like you are ordering what you want.
- Learn to say please
- Express yourself as opening as you can without raising your voice
- Get to the point and indicate that your interest is to save the relationship and you are willing to try and wouldn’t mind if they showed you how
- Try to breathe so you don’t get agitated
- You should consider therapy
If you’ve had any issues with your relationship in the past and you used some methods that aren’t listed in the article, do feel free to share your challenges and techniques in the comments. Your opinion would be much appreciated. Thank you!