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The Best Way for Couples to Stop a Fight
Posted: 2/28/2014 | Relationships Comments
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Having been married for more than 20 years and a psychotherapist for over 25 years, I know from experience that all relationships have their joys and challenges. And arguments definitely belong on the “Challenges” side of a relationship’s balance sheet. 

So, once an argument has started, what is it that makes a couple stop fighting, and why?

The way anyone can stop a fight—this is what I do in my personal life, as well as what I teach my clients—is by learning how to navigate your inner life of thoughts and feelings. This helps you be better able to speak from your inner adult self, and contain your anger, rather than act it out.

As you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings,
you’re able to get to know the feelings that are underneath your anger, driving it. Then you can begin to soothe yourself and those younger historical parts of you that are being triggered by what’s going on. This creates space inside allowing you to access the mature, adult part of yourself that can learn to actually hear the other person, and not some projection of what you think they’re saying.

You can then let your partner know you’ve heard them by feeding back to them what you think you’ve heard. Let them clear up any misunderstandings you may have had in what you repeated back to them. When you choose to mirror back to your partner what you’ve heard them say, you let them know and experience that they’ve been heard. Often, when someone feels heard they can calm down and open up to a bigger discussion. This helps you move toward greater mutual understanding. Of course, if both partners can be more conscious of their inner lives and learn to mirror each other, it makes their relationship flow much more smoothly and happily.

Rather than just bicker, we can seek to understand each other and what each other’s needs are.

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