Elaine was leafing through a pile of mail when she found it -- a second notice for their mortgage (it was her husband Mike's responsibility to pay the bills), with the word "late" stamped in bold red ink. She stomped to the family room where she found Mike's eyes glued to the television set, in anticipation of a big football play. Before he could say, "Can this wait?" Elaine had launched her attack.
You can just imagine how their "discussion" went.
Fifteen years of research at my Center for Emotional Communication has proven that how you introduce what is bothering you will determine whether your mate is responsive to you or not. Obviously, if your mate is defensive or tunes you out, you aren't going to get past the starting gate, let alone make it to the finish line (resolving your conflict). This week, I offer six pointers for presenting your issues so that your mate will want to listen and work toward achieving a resolution.
1. Stay Cool: The cooler you are when you discuss your complaint, the easier it will be for your partner to hang in there with you. So remember, take a chill pill before you begin.
2. Don't Bite Off More Than He Can Chew: When addressing what's bothering you, make sure to discuss one issue at a time. When that issue is resolved, you can move on to the next subject.
3. Beware of Fight Traps Creeping onto the Scene: Remember, Open and Secret Warfare Fight Traps heat the climate and move you miles away from resolution. Both of you need to be a Fight Trap tag team. If either of you sees a Fight Trap rearing its ugly head, point it out and encourage each other to bury the Trap right away.