Take That Stone Out Of Your Shoe

“When  a couple has a troubling incident but choose to avoid discussing it, the memory of the event stays like a stone in your shoe” Gottman.

William Faulkner once said “the past is never dead. In fact, it isn’t even past.” When we ignore a troubling event and choose to rather continue without ever addressing it and processing it, we end up carrying it around with us like a stone in our shoe.

So in a way we end up continuing to live in the past. Because, until the past has been processed, we can’t let it go. It keeps sneaking up on us.

Ignoring the stone in your shoe can end up being more painful than dealing with it.

If you find that you and your partner often end up bringing up the same issues in a quarrel, time and time again. Then perhaps there are a couple of stones in your shoes that you need to take out.

Sometimes all this takes is a few honest conversations with your partner. While these might seem uncomfortable at first, and no-one ever wants to sit down and have a difficult time. These conversations can lead to a stronger and more intimate relationship.

If you aren’t used to this, and you don’t know where to even begin, a couple’s therapist can help to guide you gently through this process.

Choose a stronger relationship, choose to address the troubling events that we are all presented with from time to time, take that stone out of your shoe.

 

PS

If you are unsure about whether or not online therapy is right for you and your partner, I offer a free consultation. It’s just a chance for us to meet each other, and for you to get a sense of what online therapy with me is all about. You can book a free consultation on my website.

xoxo

 

Can the way that you raise a complaint predict the outcome of your relationship?

Gottman found that by observing the first three minutes of a conflict conversation, he could predict not only how the rest of the conversation would go, but also how the relationship would go 6 years down the road…with high accuracy!

He found that couples who approach conflict gently by explaining how they are feeling about a situation, rather than by bringing up a flaw in the other person’s character had a much better chance of success.

For example, saying something like ” I’m frustrated because the bills aren’t paid” works out better for the couple than saying something like “You’re so lazy, why haven’t you paid the bills yet?”

Being specific about the problem that you want changed is also key in conflict. The more specific you are, the easier it is for your partner to know what to do differently in the future.

For example saying “You need to be more responsible” is vague and unsurprisingly ineffective because it doesn’t give your partner much direction. However saying something like “It would be so helpful for me if you could pay the bills by the end of the week”. This is a much easier for your partner to change as it is clear and direct.

You may not be able to completely avoid conflict in your relationship (as even the strongest relationships have conflict) but you can control how you approach the conflict. This is important because you don’t want to keep repeating the same negative approach as  Gottman has shown that this can have a devastating impact on the relationship.

So remember to gently talk about the situation as opposed to a flaw in your partner and to be specific.