Stop interrupting your partner and listen to understand – not to respond, you just might hear their heart! Conversations between couples do not start out as arguments, but over time, it is those little annoying habits like interrupting your partner and not listening to understand when they are talking that can create major communication barriers.
In fact, one of the major reasons why so many couples grow distant is that they often interrupt each other while talking. Listening to respond and not understanding can quickly escalate a simple conversation and turn it into a major blow up.
You ever notice how every fairytale you read or watched as a child ended with a happy couple setting off into the sunset? Well, now that we are older, we have all realized why they ended there and we didn’t get to see what happened after. They wanted to protect our innocent minds from the notion that even fairytale couples go through difficult patches and have to deal with bouts of anger and sensitive issues.
Stop Interrupting Your Partner
Many times, when we interrupt someone who is talking, we do not mean to be rude. Often, we do not agree with something that they say so we share our input immediately. But did you know that doing this in a relationship can make your partner feel unheard and a disrespected.
Over time, if this behavior persists, it can elevate a minor argument between the two of you and create a rift that is difficult to overcome. Eventually, these interruptions are no longer harmless but they end up becoming the way in which you are blocking your partner from sharing what they feel (or vice versa).
Regardless of whether it is a casual or heated conversation, it is important to make your partner feel heard and to let them express themselves fully before you respond and say anything. If you have reached the point where every conversation is turning into an argument with each one of you fighting to be heard, then the rest of this article will help you out.
How to Resolve Your Conflicts Before They Escalate
From here on, we are going to cover the ways you can resolve your conflicts before they escalate unnecessarily. So, you stop interrupting your partner and listen to understand what they are saying and keep the lines of communication flowing. Learn the ground rules for fighting!
Start the Conversation in a Gentle Way
Soft words will encourage a soft reaction. Most conversations continue in the same tone with which they start, and if you have the right reaction, they’ll end that way too. Stop interrupting your partner listen to your partner’s words. Even if they make you upset or you do not agree with what is being said, take a moment to breathe in, process what they have said, and most importantly, check your tone before responding.
The moment you start “going below the belt” using harsh words, sarcasm, sound defensive or confrontational, or sound too proud, the conversation will take a turn for the worst. Here are some examples of reactions that can change conflicts into relationship issues:
“Clearly, you don’t care about my opinion.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
“Why do you always do this?”
“Whatever, you never.“
These are just some of the most generic phrases that are likely to be tossed around in a conversation that is starting to get toxic. The goal here is to avoid saying anything you will regret later or that will damage your relationship. Change your tone and respond to your spouse in a positive note and begin with:
“I’m glad you decided to talk to me about it.”
“Thank you for being open and honest about everything.”
“We will work through this together.”
Stop Looking in the Rearview Mirror
Do not bring up resolved conflicts – that is like looking in the rearview mirror while driving. Depending on how long you have been in a relationship, chances are, this is most definitely not your first argument or heated discussion but it should be your last. When dealing with the current issue, don’t bring up past conflicts stay focused on one issue at a time. Looking in the rearview mirror and bringing up the past is only a gateway to prolong the current conversation. The longer a heated argument goes on for, the more likely it is that you and your partner will end up hurting each other and using words that you cannot take back and that could permanently ruin your relationship.
Stick to the issue at hand and try not to bring other problems into the conversation. If your partner is talking about a problem with you and a family member of theirs, it’s probably not the best idea to start making personal attacks at their family.
Do not Leave Conflicts Unresolved
Building on our last suggestion, do not end an argument or a discussion without clearing the air completely. Some couples believe that by not saying anything, they’re maintaining a healthy relationship. But not being open means that they are bottling all that negativity within themselves, and it will come back in small bursts like a fight over a cup of coffee, and eventually explode into an argument that has become a raging thundercloud because of all the sub-arguments the two of you avoided. Let go of the past.
Keep that positive tone we talked about earlier, but make sure you are making it clear to your partner how you are feeling at that particular moment. The idea is to soften the reaction, not to eliminate it. Think of it like adding sugar to your favorite dessert – you don’t want it to be so sweet that it gives you diabetes; but you also don’t want to get rid of it completely and make your dessert taste awful.
Complain within Reason
You have made it this far, so you are probably wondering what sort of an angelic couple can have arguments that are so gentle and free of negativity. But we are not telling you to stop complaining we are saying to pick your battles wisely. Just to be clear though, when we talk about complaints, we mean things like, “I don’t like seeing your hair in the drain, can you please clean it out?” not something like, “You’re so disgusting, I can’t believe I didn’t know this before.”
The second kind of statement is what will lead to an argument that is not rooted in any concrete issue. From here on, it can turn into a tirade of mean phrases until that becomes a norm in your relationship. The words you choose here will resolve the issue at hand without turning your romantic spark into a smoky pile of ashes.
Stop Pointing Fingers
You always do this! Why can’t you do anything right! This is your problem and You need to fix it!
Your partner will barely have finished saying what they had to say until you burst out with the finger-pointing. If you really want to soften your reaction and avoid getting into a fight, stop diverting blame. Start with words like: I do not want to be held responsible. I do not know what we should do.
When you’re angry at someone, it’s natural to want to hurl something at them, even if it’s words, but those words might be sharp enough to burst the bubble of your relationship.
If you feel like your partner is getting worked up (and maybe you are as well), you need to try and maintain a calm front. Especially if the reason you are having a conflict in the first place is about an older argument, try and appreciate your partner for what they did back then. Try something like, “I really appreciate that you always clean your hair from the bathroom drain after your shower.” The point is, even if it’s the smallest thing your partner has changed about themselves for you, or that they do anyway, like sending you positive text messages when you are stressed at work, bring it up now.
This will keep you and your partner from bringing up any harsh comments you were planning to use as weapons in the conversation. It will also help you resolve your conflict rather than it ending with both of you walking away from each other in different directions.
Handle Criticism the Right Way
If your partner says something that is slightly triggering, there are two ways you need to handle things to avoid being too hard and rude to them:
The first is in a situation where they’re right, but you’re too angry to accept it. This is one of the most critical points in a heated conversation. Your reaction will also determine the fate of your relationship (no pressure). If you accept their criticism and are willing to make a change, it’s all good. If it’s something you can’t change or compromise on or something that is a sore spot for you, let your partner know. They love you and have chosen to spend their life with you and that comes with any quirks you have.
The second situation is one where their words are untrue or just designed to hurt you. For instance, if your spouse says something petty like, “you snore like a beast,” bite your tongue if you’re tempted to lash out by comparing them to an animal of your own choice. Instead, you can remind them of what the problem at hand was to begin with and offer potential solutions. You’ve chosen to overlook their immature jabs and prevent the argument from turning into something stupid.
Don’t Lose Respect
At the risk of sounding cliché, respect is one of the fundamental aspects of building a relationship. If you and your partner can’t respect each other, then your relationship is headed down a very bleak road that may eventually end up with the two of you following separate paths. Every couple has heated debates and arguments and we all get angry at our spouses, but the moment you feel like you’re having to force yourself to be polite and show respect, you need to take a step back.
If you feel like your partner doesn’t deserve the respect you’re showing them, then your argument might be a sign of a bigger problem. This is usually the point where you might decide that it’s time to get relationship coaching.
Find the Right Person to Intervene
If you find yourself interrupting your partner frequently, then it means that small spats and arguments are becoming a part of your relationship. We don’t remember reading about Cinderella and the Prince fighting over who broke the glass slipper, or the Prince sarcastically reminding her every day about the time she ran away without her shoe.
It’s true that as relationships mature, they mellow out, but if your romantic connection has turned into a negative one, then you need to pause. Identify the red flags and realize that perhaps you and your partner need professional help. If you truly love one another and want to be together, you might need couple’s counseling to find out when a playful fight over the Netflix account turned into angrily breaking the TV remote.
Reach out to Marriage Means Moore for professional relationship coaching.
Where is the Love?
In a fairytale world, you and your partner take turns in getting upset, angry, feeling sad, having mental breakdowns, and even heated arguments. But in this world, chances are that both of you will go through negative emotions at the same time, and if you’re in the middle of an argument, both of you will have to control your words, your tone, and your behavior towards each other.
Don’t be afraid to be the first to apologize. If the love you have for your partner is real, don’t let your ego get in the way. If you find that an argument got out of hand and that your reaction wasn’t exactly praiseworthy (even if you did break the TV remote), show your sincerity in your apology. Even the biggest issues can be resolved if you and your partner are willing to work on them.
If you’ve been together for a long time and intend to spend the foreseeable future with each other, you will definitely have more arguments and fights. We just hope that the next time it happens, you are able to make use of the advice you just read, and even when your spouse is sticking their tongue out at you like a 4-year-old, you’re able to react in a way that will make your relationship stronger and more special. Stop Interrupting Your Partner | Listen to Understand!