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What matters is how we discuss and solve disagreements: 4 tips to breaking patterns of negativity

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of every relationship but what matters is how we discuss and resolve those disagreements.

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

  1. Calm down: You can’t resolve your differences productively if your heart is racing and you feel overwhelmed. Before you respond, take a deep breath, count to 5 and think about your response.
  • Halt the negative cycle of your thoughts by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This is often hard to do but by taking a deep breath and calming yourself physically, you have a chance.
  • A proven approach is to repeat back to your partner exactly what you heard. You can then seek to understand what was said, giving yourself time to reflect.
  • If the argument starts to get out of hand, ask for a “time out.” Taking 5 to 20 minutes away from your partner will calm you enough to allow you to listen better and discuss the subject objectively rather than emotionally.
  • Soothe yourself by taking deep breaths, a short walk, or even a short drive.

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Tip 2 next week.

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: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

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

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