Do you find it’s difficult to stop an argument once one is created between you and your spouse? If so you’re not alone. Many married couples get into an argument, which escalates and becomes something bigger than it has to be. To help understand what common communication mistakes couples make in an argument and what you can do to defuse an argument with your spouse, I have interviewed therapist Jill Zuniga APC.
Tell me a little about yourself:
“I am a wife and mother of 2 an am a practicing Associate Professional Counselor at Wasatch Family Therapy. I have worked extensively in play therapy with children and adolescents as well as family therapy. I also have had experience working in adult substance abuse. People and relationships are a strong interest of mine and I have always enjoyed learning how the mind works. Part of what I love about therapy is discovering what works for each individual in expressing their unique pain, concerns and fears and helping provide a therapeutic outlet for them to do so. I have a strong belief in emotional attachment and in helping people understand how their own attachment style impacts their relationships. My ultimate goal as a therapist is to help people live a fulfilling life because I believe that is what we all deserve.”
What are common communication mistakes married couples make in an argument?
“Arguments often begin with discussions and escalate into disagreements. What elevates these disagreements is the refusal to stop and listen to the other person’s point of view. When we argue, we believe that what we have to say is most important. When the other person does not stop to listen, it makes the desire to prove our point that much more intense. Because we are so determined to have the other hear us, we do not stop to listen to them and it becomes a vicious cycle that we become too emotionally involved in to stop. If each person views the discussion as a way to find a solution to the issue, arguments can be avoided. Trying to approach these discussions in a collaborative sense, no matter what our opinion is, can make all the difference in the world. If each person respects the other and gives them the time and space to say what they need to, the end result can be a more positive situation. Anger can be avoided if each person can be heard and if they are willing to compromise.”
What are some things a spouse can do to diffuse an argument?
“In the nature of conversation, each person participating should have respected time and space to speak and share their thoughts. When they do, it is important to really listen to their words instead of preparing the rebuttal or response. It can also be helpful for the couple to practice reflective listening ‘” repeating back what the person has said. This can ensure that each person’s words are heard and can allow for the conversation to continue as a discussion and not elevate into an argument. It is important to voice if you are not in a place where you can participate in a discussion because you are busy with another task or not emotionally available at that moment. On the same hand, respecting the fact that the other person is unable to participate in the discussion is just as valuable. If both parties agree to have the discussion later, this may diffuse any kind of argument that could take place. Recognizing that in the end, an agreed upon outcome is the goal, instead of persuading the person to agree to your own point can also diffuse an argument.”
What can a spouse do if the issues between them are too many and they have a difficult time in diffusing the argument?
“This can be overwhelming and the couple can feel like having too many issues can become an issue in and of itself. If they are able to step back and take a little bit different perspective they can separate each issue and see how some of the issues may stem from others. If they can work on finding a respective resolution to one issue, they may find that others are easier to remedy. If a couple is unable to do this, it can help to bring in a third party such as a therapist. The therapist can help each person gain perspective, which can allow the couple to work on listening to the other person’s thoughts and feelings. A therapist can point out things that each person cannot recognize themselves. The therapist can also approach issues in ways that allows each individual to not feel attacked because there is not an emotional attachment to the situation at hand. There is no personal agenda on the part of the therapist ‘” they do not have a point to prove like the couple does within their conflict and relationship.”
Thank you Jill for doing the interview on how someone can defuse an argument with their spouse. For more information on Jill Zuniga or her work you can check out her website on www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com.
Increasing Your Sexual Activity in Marriage
How to Put the Sizzle Back in Your Marriage
How to Deal with Annoying Husband