If you are like other married or cohabitating couples, chances are you and your loved one have had a disagreement or argument at some point. How you and your spouse communicated during the argument says a lot about your ability to effectively communicate with each other in a constructive manner.
If all you did was yell at each other, then this was not constructive conversation. Yelling sets off our flight or fight response. This is where you will either respond in a defensive manner or simply shut down to avoid the confrontation. The fact there was an argument means there is often an underlying issue that truly needs to be discussed.
Unfortunately, many couples cannot get past the argument stage to determine what underlying issues are actually bothering them. In some cases, there may be several different issues they are not happy about, but are not sure how to communicate these with their loved one.
Instead, this sets them up, so when something small goes wrong, like preparing dinner is running behind, they go off the “deep end” and it turns into an all-out yelling and shouting match. They may unleash the “flood gates” at this point and just let everything they have been bottling up inside out at the same time.
They may place blame or find fault or bring up past arguments or problems you were led to believe were resolved. If any of this sounds familiar, then you and your loved one could probably benefit from learning how to develop constructive conversation structures for addressing disagreements, with help from a Toronto marriage counselor, like myself, Ellen Starr.
Marriage counselling is not just for couples that have drifted apart and are attempting to salvage the marriage instead of getting divorced. For instance, if there has even been something you wanted to share with your loved one, but didn’t know how, or thought it might upset them, counselling can help you develop the skills needed so you are more willing and open to share what is on your mind.
Learning how to actively listen and respond to what your spouse says during an argument or disagreement will help you respond in a more positive manner, without the yelling and shouting. Oftentimes, what set off your loved one is not really what is wrong, rather just an opportunity for them to let you know they were upset.
Furthermore, some couples use an “attacking” method when arguing where they find fault with each other. Again, this is counterproductive as it never helps the couple to figure out what the real issues are. A much better approach to use is one where you listen to what was said, ask qualifying questions to dive deeper into the problem, and clarify what your loved one said.
These types of active listening/communication skills are also learned through marriage counselling. If you are tired of shouting and yelling during an argument and want to know what is really bothering your loved one, then contact me, Ellen Starr at 416-488-3102 to arrange an initial consultation appointment today!