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3 min read

How do you communicate with your partner in times of stress?

Let's face it, relationships are tough. It's not all sex games and restaurant meals.
Sometimes, you're going to get into conflicts with your partner that leave you both tearing your hair out.

The good news is that a simple problem like socks on the floor, or forgetting to take the trash out doesn't necessarily have to tear your relationship apart. All you need to do, is learn how to use "Nonviolent communication".

Importantly, nonviolent communication doesn't refer to any conversation you have with your partner where you avoid trading blows. If there is any physical violence in your relationship, then you need to run the other way as quickly as possible. Instead, nonviolent communication is about talking to your other half in a way that allows you to avoid attacking, blaming, or judging the other person for their actions.

Understanding Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent communication might sound simple enough, but it's honestly a lot more challenging than you might think. Typically, nonviolent communication means finding a way to express yourself without shaming the other person in the relationship, trying to make them feel guilty, or using any threats to get the outcome you want.

If you can do it effectively, then nonviolent communication can be very useful, as it prevents the other person in the argument from going into defense mode, and it can preserve more of your relationship. Overall, your goal should be to use a deep and compassionate awareness of your own situation, combined with honest self-expression, to let someone else know how you feel, and how you hope you can resolve a situation.

The 4 Steps of Nonviolent Communication 

There are four steps to using nonviolent communication in your relationship.

These are:

  •         Outline the truth of what happened:Lay the facts of what's bothering you out on the table, without any judgements or emotional insights. Just say what happened, and nothing else. (E.g. you were playing music in the spare room at 2am)
  •         Tell your partner how that made you feel:Make sure that you tell your other half how you feel about the events that took place, and do this without assuming anything, judging the other person, or trying to make inferences about why they did what they did. (E.g. Being woken up made me upset and frustrated)
  •         Explain your needs:Try to let your partner know why you felt the way you did, and what you need to change to address your feelings. (E.g. I'm used to getting a full night's sleep, and need my rest for work)
  •         Make a request:Rather than just telling your partner that you don't like the way he or she acted, make sure that you provide a potential solution that could make the situation better for both of you in the future. (E.g. Could you consider using headphones in the future?)

The Power of Nonviolent Communication

Seems simple enough, right? With nonviolent communication, there's no overly-emotional attacking of the other person. Instead, you simply state your needs, and hopefully open a pathway for discussion where you can find a solution that suits both of you.

  • Have you tried using nonviolent communication before?
  • Did you find it made resolving arguments easier for you and your partner?
  • Share your thoughts in the comments below!

For more detailed information on this subject, try reading:

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides)

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