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Speak non-defensively – 4 tips to breaking patterns of negativity

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. By listening and speaking in a non-defensive fashion, avoiding criticism you can help foster healthy discussion.

Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of life but by speaking non-defensively, this positive posture will benefit your relationship.

The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

2. Speak non-defensively: Listen and speak in a way that does not engender defensiveness but, instead, fosters healthy discussion. “Praise and admiration” are the best weapons to keep negative thoughts at bay.

Empathise. Realise that your partners anger might be an effort to get your attention. Adopt a receptive body posture and an open facial expression. Limit yourself to a specific complaint rather than a multitude of criticisms.

Try these approaches:

  • Remove the blame from your comments;
  • Say how you feel;
  • Don’t criticize your partner’s personality;
  • Don’t insult, mock or use sarcasm;
  • Be direct;
  • Don’t mind-read.

Tip three, next week…

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube:

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

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