It's absolutely natural for you to be upset with or in disagreement with your husband over an issue at some point in your relationship. The key to a long-lasting relationship is knowing exactly how to confront your husband in a way that creates an environment of cooperation, mutual understanding and stronger connections to each other as you work through the problem.
I.D. the Issue
Corporate coach Esther Jeles, cited in an article found in "O" magazine, recommends sitting down and outlining the underlying problem before confronting your husband in order to separate the facts from the emotions that those facts create. Focus on just a single issue and what you'd like to see happen, avoiding the temptation to connect the current thing you're upset about with other issues or grudges that may have happened in the past.
Don't Invite Others to the Party
Before you confront your husband, wait for a time when you are alone together. Some experts, such as celebrity psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, warn that fighting in front of your kids can upset them. Additionally, involving other family members or friends can escalate the problem instead of resolving it because it puts your husband on the defensive. Saying something like, "My friend June agrees with me," won't help create a healthy discussion between you and your husband.
An "I" for an "I"
Using "I" statements, explain how you feel about the situation. For example, if your husband is a workaholic, you might say, "I feel ignored when I'm at home all night by myself." Avoid using "You" statements, such as, "You work too much." Laura Markham, author of "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting," points out that structuring your statements around your feelings and your viewpoint helps you to avoid piling the negative emotions on your husband that would make him feel judged, blamed or attacked.
Listen to His Story
Once you've explained your side of the conflict, give your husband time to share his perspective. Markham recommends not jumping in with objections or countering viewpoints. Try to make empathizing statements that show him that you're actively listening and trying to understand him. For example, if your husband is explaining how much he has to work, say something like, "I understand that your job is really busy and putting a lot stress on you."
As you and your husband take turns sharing your feelings and discussing the issue, emotions may sometimes flare up. If this happens, take an immediate break and promise that you both will return to the discussion table in 30 minutes or however long it takes for you both to calm down. This helps keep the discussion constructive and healthy because it restores your ability to respond rationally to each other, according to Markham.
Find Common Ground
Find a solution to the confrontation that works for you and your husband. Ideally, your solution should involve contributions from both of you. Keep in mind that you and your husband are both two very different people, and in some conflicts, you must simply agree to disagree. Psychologist Diana Kirschner, in an article for Psychology Today, points out that being able to discuss a disagreement and then let it go without holding onto it is a hallmark of maturity, respect and love.
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