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How Not to Fight with Your Spouse

Sounds crazy doesn't it? A divorce lawyer telling you not to fight with your spouse. Time and again clients come in and they need to negotiate an agreement with the one person that they can't stop fighting with. When you've been stuck in a rut it's difficult to know what to say or what not to say during a conflict with your spouse. It may also feel like the other party is constantly attacking you and that there is no use in trying to talk to them. However, we all know that divorces are more expensive when you can't talk to the other side. For that reason it's important that you try to keep the communication lines open with the one person you can't get along with. Here are some tips taken from psychologist Matthew Sullivan, Ph.D. about how to handle these difficult conversations:

  1. Set an agenda. Agree in advance on the topics that you will discuss so you don't veer off track talking about old history.
  2. Start by being positive. State that you want to come to an agreement. Agree to not call each other names before you get into difficult topics. Set any other ground rules that may be necessary at the beginning.
  3. Use your listening skills. Try to really understand why the other person feels the way that they do. This may include repeating back what the other person has said or asking questions so you can understand how the other person feels.
  4. Avoid lecturing. Make it brief if you want to make a point.
  5. State that you have a criticism of the other party you want to address. Describe the problem instead of accusing them, attributing motives or intention or blaming them.
  6. Neutral phrases to defuse a fight that is going nowhere:
  7. We see it differently; our perceptions are different, so let's just move on.
  8. We have different needs in this situation.
  9. Can we agree to disagree?
  10. This is not working for me.
  11. There is no point in arguing over who is right. Can we look for a way to handle this from this point forward?
  12. This discussion is not productive. It is hurtful.
  13. What we are doing now is not helpful; let's stop.

Hoping this article finds you well and good. Columbiafamilylawgroup.com.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.