Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. By listening and speaking in a non-defensive fashion, avoiding criticism you can help foster healthy discussion.

Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of life but by speaking non-defensively, this positive posture will benefit your relationship. The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

2. “Speak non-defensively”: Listen and speak in a way that does not engender defensiveness but, instead, fosters healthy discussion. “Praise and admiration” are the best weapons to keep negative thoughts at bay.

Empathise. Realise that your partners anger might be an effort to get your attention. Adopt a receptive body posture and an open facial expression. Limit yourself to a specific complaint rather than a multitude of criticisms.

    Try these approaches:

  • “Remove the blame from your comments.”
  • “Say how you feel.”
  • “Don’t criticize your partner’s personality.”
  • “Don’t insult, mock or use sarcasm.”
  • “Be direct.”
  • “Don’t mind-read.”

Take a deep breath and be intentional about your relationship. Break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems.

Tip three, next week…

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.relationships online.com.au or www.intentional-relationship.com