Here’s a great question from a reader that we think speaks to the communication issue that challenges most couples…
“We want to stay connected during our difficult times too. What is the one thing we can do every time my husband and I are angry with each other as we work through the disagreement?”
So how do you stay connected during the times that both of you are triggered and angry with each other?
How do you quickly get to the place where you both can resolve whatever has separated you and regain your connection?
The way we see it–there are two ways we could answer those questions…
-We could give you one big strategy or tactic
-We could give you the one mindset that we think is most important.
While we love using and giving practical strategies for making your relationship closer and more connected, without the proper mindset, those strategies can fall flat.
The proper mindset that we’re talking about is created long before the disagreement and difficult times–and is built on conscious commitments that you make to yourself and to your partner.
For us, our mindset or belief is that at our core, we really love each other, no matter what, and that each disagreement is a learning opportunity for each of us. Because of this, we agree that we will not run away but will find ways to open to each other.
From this mindset or set of beliefs, we are always experimenting with ways to shift from being closed to one another to reconnecting.
Here are some things that help us to make a shift to reconnecting…
1. Change your breathing from shallow to slow, deep breaths.
We’ve discovered that when you calm yourself by using your breath, you can often shift to another perspective, away from your “I’m right and you’re wrong” viewpoint.
2. Remember your commitments to each other.
Every time one of you feels like walking out of the room or closing completely to one another, we remind each other of our commitment of love and not running away.
If neither of you can remember your commitments in difficult times, write them on a card and keep it where you can see it. Create some ways to pull you back to remembering your agreements.
3. Touch each other and regain your connection.
Sometimes when we’ve gone round and round over the same issue and nothing seems to be changing, we’ll simply hold hands and look in each other’s eyes for a few minutes, without speaking. We might even put our hands on each other’s heart and stay there until we feel our connection come back.
If you do something like this (you both need to have some agreement about it beforehand), whatever thoughts that have separated you will begin to fade. There will be a softening between you and the space for you to reconnect and resolve your conflicts.
To keep or regain your connection even when it’s difficult, create your mindset and make your commitments to each other. Then be open to trying different ways to bring you back to your commitments.