We all fight with our sweethearts.
Research shows it’s how we fight—where, when, what tone of voice and words we use, whether we hear each other out fairly—that’s critical. If we argue poorly, we may end up headed for divorce court. If we argue well, experts say, we actually may improve our relationship.
For 30 years, Dr. Howard Markman, of the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies has conducted research that looks at how couples deal with conflict.
He’s has developed a method, for helping couples settle disputes, called the “speaker-listener technique.” You can find the details in a book called: “Fighting for Your Marriage.”
In a nutshell, he says that couples who have a disagreement should call a “couple’s meeting” to discuss the issue without looking for a solution—and set a time limit of 15 minutes. They can flip a coin to see who speaks first.
The person who wins the toss, let’s say it’s the wife, should explain her position in two to three statements. Her husband should listen, then repeat what he heard, to show that he understood. The wife should then speak again, further explaining her position. And, again, the husband should listen and repeat her points.
They then reverse roles and repeat those same steps. Markman says a lot of times, all you need is to be listened to and that by the end of this exercise, you’ll probably have the answer to your problem.