Mark says: We’ve all been there. Our spouse does something that frustrates us. We react in frustration and let them know how we feel.
Jill says: Because we’re frustrated, we come across very strongly in our communication. Our spouse responds to our strong words and emotions with defensiveness.
Mark says: Before you know it, you’re in an all out argument that will likely not end the way you hoped.
Jill says: There is another way: Don’t talk about frustration IN frustration.
Mark says: Wait until you’ve cooled off and moved past the moment. In a time of non-conflict, tell your spouse you need to talk through what happened earlier.
Jill says: There’s still the possibility that the conversation will elevate to an argument, but you raise the odds that it won’t if you wait to communicate it at a time when you’re no longer super-charged and frustrated.
Mark says: I recently used this strategy to talk to Jill about the way she said something to me.
Jill says: I recently used this strategy to talk to Mark about my frustrations of how a large purchase was recently handled.
Mark says: Those conversations were still hard conversations to have. We don’t see eye to eye on some things no matter how we approach things. However, the way we had the conversations did make a big difference.
What about you? Can you resist the urge to deal with frustration when you’re frustrated? Can you communicate in a time of non-conflict?