I have been studying a lot about conflict resolution/relationships. My supervisor and his wife had 2 sessions with us on feedback loops to deal with conflict/communication in marriage.
Their method is that you sit knee to knee.
One person who has the issue uses only I statements about how they feel. No you statements are allowed.
I feel___________when you __________or when you said _____________.
The listener responds with:
I hear you saying that you feel ________________when I ______________________.
The speaker gets to clarify further if needed and adds positive comments of understanding.
Yes, I feel ____________when_______________. I realize you don’t need___________or are working hard so you are tired (or some kind of understanding of why it is happening).
The listener repeats again and then asks is there anything else you need to tell me about this?
Then the speaker tells the listener what they need from listener (to listen only, to do some specific thing in the future, to apologize…)
You stay on one subject, no one feels attacked, and you reach resolution. It was awesome when they demonstrated it. The author of the Mars Venus books suggests doing a feeling letter and response letter. Another method of a similar thing but in writing instead of verbally. They have many topics on relationships on their website also. Check out the links.
If we all learn this feedback loop process, we can model it for future generations so that they will grow up knowing how to deal with conflict and not get messed up with what my supervisor calls A&I people a..hole and idiots who are blamers (it’s your fault you feel that way) placaters (pleasers) or distractor (someone who always finds an excuse for the people you are upset with rather than validating your feelings) computer (someone who deals with emotions with data rather than emotion). What we want is to become levelers.
Also, it is important to know men think with one side of their brain at a time and women with the whole brain. I’ve been told a hormone released in the womb causes this separation of male thinking. Women don’t have that hormone released in the womb. Men look at one piece of pie at a time. Women look at the whole pie. In other words, men think in present tense. Women think in past, present and future all at once. That’s how God made us. It is designed that way so that women will nurture children and men can go to war to protect. God is warrior and nurturer. Men and women each have part of the attributes of God and together in unity become one having both sides of God in the relationship.
Our differences can cause conflict or mesh together. It takes work to learn how to allow them to mesh. We work on education, jobs, our cars, our yards…we have to work on our relationships. What car will keep going without work? Flat tire due to a nail? You would get the nail out and patch the tire. Tire flattens again? You would replace the tire. You certainly wouldn’t leave the nail in and continue to drive. You couldn’t, because eventually the car would not go any more. It would sit still somewhere on the journey. Stuck and damaged. If you want to continue on the journey, then you would fix the flat. You would patch, replace, oh yes, you would do whatever it takes to continue and make it ride smoothly so that all passengers are comfortable.
Oh, also, women have 8 times the blood flow to the emotional part of the brain as men. That is why we are more outwardly emotional.
Women like to talk about the relationship with their partner when they feel it is a good relationship and worth working on. Men hear this as complaint and go into fight or flight. They either retreat into a cave or say really harsh and mean things to women. Women yell. When we understand that there are going to be feelings of confusion, anger, sadness, and needs in a relationship then we have accomplished step one. The next task is to find a way to communicate about these negative issues without damaging the relationship or one person’s ability to be loved by the other.
Know your partner’s love language (what speaks love to them? quality time? words of affirmation? physical touch? acts of service? gifts? – I think some are more important to some people than others, but honestly all should be present in healthy relationships.)
Try the verbal feedback loop to discuss feelings and hopefully to avoid hurtful conflict.
Or try the Feelings Letter/Response Letter in the links above.
We get into relationships because we can’t imagine life without this person who makes us feel so good. Let’s continue to make one another feel good as the relationship continues. Healthy relationships are possible if both people are levelers. Be a leveler. Find a leveler. We can teach younger generations how to communicate in a healthy manner and hopefully have better relationships and fewer break ups.
And if you need to form new habits to show love…Love Dare. Simple yet incredible tool that should be in all relationship toolboxes.
Get out the tools and fix the flat. Replace the flat. Continue the journey with all passengers comfortable along the way.
Blessings on your relationships! If one person learns this in the smallest way, I feel I have done something that matters.