People experience anger and emotional stress when going through a divorce. Many people fight at every opportunity. However, the divorce process can be easier on both parties if they are able to reduce their anger and find better ways to communicate.
Ways to Change the Way You Communicate with Your Spouse
If you are frequently fighting and cannot agree on anything, then obviously your previous communication methods have been unsuccessful. Your attorney can help by relaying communication to the other’s attorney, but it would help in the long run if you can find a new way of communicating:
- Determine Your Goals, and Tailor Your Communication Accordingly: Use words that are solution-oriented rather than accusatory. Write down your key phrases ahead of time and refer to them during your discussion.
- Be Calm before Speaking: Use whatever technique works best for you. Some common calming techniques include deep breathing, counting to yourself, trying to see things from your spouse’s perspective, and evaluating the importance of the issue (is it even worth getting angry over?).
- Fight Fair: Stay focused on the problem that needs to be resolved. Avoid personal attacks.
- Listen and Clarify Ambiguities: Make sure you understand the situation. Listen carefully, and ask questions about anything that is unclear before jumping to conclusions or getting upset.
- Allow Your Spouse the Opportunity to Speak: Make sure to give the other person the opportunity to explain themselves before responding.
- Be Empathetic: A statement acknowledging your spouse’s feelings can completely diffuse a tense situation.
- Restate Your Spouse’s Thoughts: Doing this not only helps you understand the situation; it also shows your spouse that you are listening.
- Use the Sandwich Technique: Put your request in between two positive statements. For example, acknowledge something positive about your spouse, make your request, and then finish with a “thank you.”
- Use Softening Phrases: You can hedge your requests a bit by using soft phrases such as “perhaps you could ___” or “maybe we could try ___.”
- Reverse Your Speaking Techniques: If your spouse starts speaking more loudly, speak more softly. If your spouse speaks faster, try speaking slower.