I know it’s hard… when you’re screaming, “I want to stop fighting with my husband!” And you’re looking for any advice that works…
You feel stuck, repeating the same cycles, and just fighting to have your voice heard.
There is a way out – it takes work, and I believe you can do it.
He Won’t Listen – Most Fights Are About Being Heard
You know how the fights escalate: one person says something, the other person argues, and you go back and forth until you’re yelling.
The truth is, you just want him to stop and listen to you, don’t you?
It takes some emotional maturity to step back and implement some of the skills that can turn things around. But it is worth it!
You might be asking, “Why do I have to do all the work?” I get it! The more you take responsibility for communicating in an inspiring way, the more he will want to listen to you, too. Then he’ll be inspired to do the work with you.
One of the first tools to master is knowing when you are criticizing or complaining.
As women, sometimes criticism can motivate us to do better.
Unfortunately, men often take complaints and criticisms as powerful, direct attacks. Most men’s core vulnerability is “I’m doing it wrong,” whereas most women’s core vulnerability is “I’m not loved.” Since his ego is tied to his accomplishments, when you criticize his actions, he feels attacked and most men will either get defensive or withdraw.
The same thing with telling him what to do (and most women don’t even realize they are doing this). Most men hate being told what to do. If they sense that you are trying to control them, they’ll do just the opposite. Reverse psychology may seem like an idea here, but it can hurt your relationship in the long run.
So, if you’re fighting and trying not to complain, criticize, or tell him what to do, what do you do?
Since you can only control yourself, you can take the first step. The answer is to self-soothe and focus on your feelings and needs so you can communicate them in a way that inspires him to listen.
Let’s talk about the first step: Self-Soothing
What may benefit you more than anything else is the ability to self-soothe. This means soothing your own frustration, anger, and disappointment so you can discover what you need and how to ask for it. Once you accept your own feelings and needs, you have room to hear his needs and find a solution that works for both of you.
Take Time To Cool Down, but Don’t Run Away
So, what is self-soothing?
If you are in the middle of a fight, you can ask your partner for a few minutes to breathe. If the fight is over, or you’re in a position where you can’t argue, taking this time is easier.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel the emotions running through you: the hurt, the anger, the fear… let yourself experience each one and identify what it is.
Tell yourself it is okay to feel these emotions. They are your emotions, internal reactions to what’s happening outside of you. You have no ability over their creation but complete ability over how they are expressed.
Identifying your emotions allows you that choice. When you come across difficult emotions, be with them for a few moments longer. Seek out what vulnerable emotion is underneath, and what it is protecting. That is your core feeling and what needs addressing. Many times the underlying feeling is a fear of losing control, being deprived, or feeling abandoned/rejected.
Tell the frightened and hurt part of you that it will be okay and that you are loved and cherished BY YOURSELF, no matter what happens to others. Ask this part of you what you need, and reassure this part of you that you will advocate for your needs with an open heart.
Once you feel more contained and feel loved and cherished from deep inside yourself, you can return to your partner with a calm head. You can now express your feelings and needs in a softer way and provide the empathy and understanding that he needs so he can return the gift to you.
How To Get Close To Your Spouse: Listening and Being Heard
Once you have cooled down and self-soothed, now it is time to talk and listen. Whomever is more calm can be the listener first. This is where you actively listen, without trying to interject your own viewpoint.
Just as you want to be listened to, you can listen to him. First, you can quickly disarm most frustration and anger by simply empathizing with others’ emotions. Like a child having a temper tantrum, when people (and men) are upset, reason and logic mean nothing. Only their emotions, only their hurt matters to them. He will feel hurt until he feels heard.
Listen to what he says and then reflect back what you heard and ask if you got it right. Most people know this as active listening. Just as you validated your own feelings and needs, you can look for his core needs and validate them.
This goes a long way toward having the other person feel heard and calming them down.
Once the other person is heard, you can ask him to do the same for you. Now, it’s time to share your feelings and needs. Tell him you want to be heard without judgment, suggestions, or for him to fix anything. Then, share your feelings and needs.
Once you both feel heard, you can brainstorm solutions that work for both of you.
This is hard and really does take good self-discipline and understanding your emotions. It can be challenging in a rocky relationship, where screaming and yelling are normal. This is where it’s best to seek out help. As a coach, I can provide a safe space for one or both of you to share and teach you various tools, like the self-soothing techniques, to help you stop fighting with your husband or partner. It does take work, but feeling loved, cherished, and adored is worth it!
Do you want to stop fighting and reignite the love and intimacy? I offer a free 90-minute Relationship Breakthrough session to anyone who is considering investing in coaching. To apply for a FREE Breakthrough Session with me click here.