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Focus on one issue at a time

Focus on one issue at a time

Even if there are many big things bothering you, bring up a maximum of only one per conversation.

If you ignore this vital rule, you will overwhelm the other person, and they will have a tendency to emotionally shut down.

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609 reads

Don’t assume

Don’t assume

When you’re feeling uneasy around your partner, don’t assume your cues are acknowledged without verbally expressing them. 

Great couples communicate well, without getting upset with each other for “messing up” by not understanding what’s going on in the head. If they are upset, they’ll openly say so, to resolve and move on.

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Save it for another day

Save it for another day

If it doesn’t seem like the right moment to express yourself, hold onto your feelings, and bring them up at a time when you’re in a calm space, and you can both properly address them with care and rationality. 

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Ask open-ended questions

Ask open-ended questions

While there are plenty of situations where closed-ended questions are appropriate, couples who consistently communicate with open-ended questions, to spark “big talk,” show that they have a sincere interest in their partners and want to create closeness.

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When you’re wrong, own it

When you’re wrong, own it

If you’re wrong, don’t shy away or hope it just goes away. 

Take responsibility for your actions, be sincere, and work to make the other person feel accounted for and reassured that you’ll behave better next time. 

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Listen before speaking

Listen before speaking

When you're engaged in a high-stakes conversation, listen to what your partner is saying, without interrupting until he or she is finished. Then, and only then, carefully formulate your response. 

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Don’t use extremes

Don’t use extremes

Accusations such as “you always…” or “you never…” drain the flavor out of a relationship, making your partner feel like a zero. 

Use criticism with pin-point accuracy and avoid the collateral damage that comes from the sweeping generalizations.

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Don’t rehash the past

Don’t rehash the past

An argument from the past should stay in the past. 

Arguments will happen, but they need to be fully dealt with, and then forgotten about and never brought up again, for a couple to move forward daily with a fresh slate.

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Don’t get defensive

Don’t get defensive

There’s a difference between seeking the truth versus automatically getting defensive. 

When an argument arises, you should both work from the position of 'what can we do to move our shared life forward?’ instead of investing energy into showing why one point of view is correct and the other one is not.

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Use “I” statements

Use “I” statements

Instead of telling others how awful they are, using ‘I statements’ expresses your own feelings and needs, especially related to the topic that is dividing you.

This creates a peaceful resolution based on meeting each other’s needs. 

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Think in terms of a “bank account”

Think in terms of a “bank account”

You can save or withdraw money from your bank account.

Save your criticism and deposit your compliments. 

It’s essential to have more deposits (in the form of praise, kindness, expressions of approval) than withdrawals (in the form of criticism).

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