Have you ever found yourself in a conversation when it feels as though each word that exits your mouth seems to have more venom than you ever intended?
Have you noticed the look on your partner's face after you merely said what was on your mind and it was received as hurtful and vindictive?
Are there times in your relationship when you feel you can't say anything right, and it feels like you should just stop talking altogether in order to salvage whatever is left of your love life?
How does one recover from that? How can a conflict lead to knowing each other better and connecting more intimately, when it seems as though it would be better to just avoid it altogether?
Next time, try this...
Step one...B R E A T H E.
In order to speak more clearly and hear more effectively, we need to slow down the physiological responses that our bodies naturally experience when faced with conflict.
Now that you have more oxygen flowing through your body and to your brain, STOP.
Stop trying to explain yourself. Stop vying to "win" the argument. Just stop.
Your next words are the fuel that can turn this potentially disastrous dialogue into something that is constructive and helpful to your communication with your partner and bring you to a place where the conflict has the distinct benefit of drawing you closer and knowing each other better.
Here it is...what to say when it seems you can't say anything right:
I want to understand you better. Can you tell me more about why this is important to you?
This question alone can communicate both respect and appreciation of your partner's experience and perspective. You partner can own the experience, and the invitation from you can increase attunement with each other since in many cases, the value that initially triggered the conflict is often something that is important to both partners and a compromise is much easier to reach.
Step into a new world of curiosity and candor. Invite your partner to walk in this world with you. Ask questions. Seek to understand more clearly. And remember, B R E A T H E.