Oct 18 2007

Calm down, it’s good for your marriage

Do you and your spouse have trouble talking? Does one or both of you get angry quickly leading to hurt feelings and distance in your relationship?

If you answered yes to these questions, it is likely you and your spouse are becoming emotionally “flooded.” John Gottman and other couples therapists describe flooding as when one or both marital partners getting so upset that all attempts to discuss issues are derailed. Here are some other questions to ask yourself from the Gottman “flooding” questionnaire:

  • Do your discussions get too heated?
  • Do you have a hard time calming down?
  • Does one of you say something you regret?
  • Do you yell unnessessarily?
  • Do you feel like running away?
  • Does your partner have a list of unreasonable demands?
  • Is it hard or impossible to stop your partner’s temper?

What are your answers like to these questions? If it sounds like you and your partner are having trouble in this area, time to slow things down and learn a calmer way of communicating.

This is usually the first stage of my work with couples…learning to speak and listen with empathy and compassion.

Speaking and listening with empathy and compassion can improve the way couples feel about each other in the first session.

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