We get a lot of people who come in because their fights have escalated to the point where they no longer want to be together. They talk about how they can’t get out of them and how no one is willing to take the first step to ending it. What does it take to stop the habit of an ever-escalating pattern where both of you always want to be right?
The answer is….. making the other person feel heard. What that means is that you temporarily put aside the point or points you want to make and listen to what they have to say. Hopefully they will know how to talk about how they feel without blaming you. You can then repeat back or paraphrase what you thought you heard. Your partner will tell you whether you were right or not. If you were right ask your partner to say a little more. Keep the process going for a few minutes. You will be able to tell when your partner is done. There will be a visible sign like a deep sigh, maybe a smile or they might say they have nothing left to talk about. At this point you could talk about what was going on for you OR you could just let it go, appreciating the fact that you are both on good terms again.
After practicing this for a while it would be good to have a discussion about who goes first next time. In a good relationship both partners take turns bringing the relationship back from the brink. That means that when you see something start to escalate between you, one of you takes responsibilty for the relationship and calms it down. That means listening to our partner, backing down from your position or just telling your partner that you love them and don’t want to fight. It takes two people to fight and if one of you is not participating then there is no fight. Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?