There is no perfect relationship without its ups and downs. Even couples who have spent years together still record friction one time or the other. Continuing from the earlier post 4 Relationship Problems You Have Not Considered, this steps will provide remedy for issues you are likely to encounter in every relationship
1. Overcoming Criticism:
Once you find out you are criticizing instead of being constructive, slow down! It is advisable to plan ahead, possibly write down feedbacks before commenting. In other words, you may need to meticulously stick to your scripts so you won’t find yourself diverting to the lane of criticism. Moreover, it is advisable you focus your feedback on a specific behaviour. If not, dwelling on different behaviours could easily be regarded as criticism. Ensure you don’t generalise your feedback on your partner’s personality – it is an intending doom.
2. Overcoming Contempt:
Contempt comes from disappointment and anger. It builds when a partner loses interest in the other party. This is usually stoked when you discover a negative change in your partner – some things you had never noticed before. Also, there may be things which were interesting about that person but not anymore. This can make contempt surface unexpectedly. However, not everyone is avoidable especially close relations such as your spouse, family members, and co-workers. In this case, you need to focus on managing your relationship with the person with special anti-contempt awareness in mind which will help you find a common ground, see past the bad and see the good in the person. You can do this by learning to become emotionally intelligent; explicitly, having the capacity to become aware of, control, and express your emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Abraham Lincoln once said “I do not like that man. I must get to know him”.
3. Overcoming Defensiveness:
Even if you don’t see things the same way with your partner, you should be ready to LISTEN ATTENTIVELY to your partner if you are ever going to overcome defensiveness. This does not mean that you should agree with the person. Instead, you focus on the person’s message so you can reach a mutual understanding. In overcoming defensiveness, it is critical that you remain CALM. Let me share a personal experience with you. As a contact centre representative carrying out telemarketing services, I was distracted by the noise coming from two agents beside me. For slight irritation, I decided to ask them to reduce the uproar. The response I got was quite alarming; “who complained when you were making noise yesterday?” The response was a direct attack with the intent of being defensive. Summarily, once you discover that you are making excuses, cross-complaining, turning tables, repeating yourself and denying your responsibility; it is a sign that you are becoming defensive. Watch it!
4. Overcoming Stonewalling:
Stonewalling is the deliberate delay or obstruction of your partner’s requests by refusing to answer questions or by being evasive perhaps due to a friction yet unsettled. Stonewalling is the most deadly out of these four relationship issues because it is capable of causing a great “silent” divide between two partners. When stone-walling is nurtured for a long time, it becomes a habit hence; self-destructive. If you’re to overcome stonewalling, you have to actively participate in the discussion with your partner. Let your partner know how you are feeling. Maintain eye contact and always nod in affirmation to your partner’s concerns.
On a final note; listen first, even if you have something to say.