It can be normal to feel annoyed at your partner or to disagree on things. How do couples negotiate household chores, like doing the dishes, without letting it turn into a "heated" argument? Christine Keyser from Life Stone Counseling recommends using the following tips:
A. Emotionally connected couples find loving, playful ways to work-out difficult interactions:
• Speak each other`s love language -
'I know my wife`s love language is 'Acts of Service', so I know that doing little jobs around the house will make her happy and she knows that 'Spending Time Together' is my love language!'
• Negotiate strengths and weaknesses -
'My husband hates to clean toilets, I hate empting the garbage. So I do what he doesn`t like to do and he does what I don`t like to do. If we both don`t like the same task, we take turns or hire it out.
• Be playful and creative -
'We make a honey-do list of jobs needing to be done and then play paper, rock, scissors or draw straws, to see who gets which task to do; turning up the music can also help!'
• Use incentives, not punishments -
'We work best with incentives. I love to cook and my husband loves to eat, so the incentive is: I`ll cook his favorite food if he`ll do the dishes. It`s a win-win!
B. Emotionally connected couples AVOID hurtful, destructive behavior when working-out difficult interactions. 5 things you can do in your relationship to keep the work-out healthy:
- Stop contempt: eye-rolling, disgust-feelings, negative-thinking, and blaming.
- Give your expectations a reality check, don`t be a stamp collector!
- Pick and choose your battles wisely, some problems are perpetual.
- Challenge yourself to listen more deeply to your partner`s point of view and feelings.
- Build credit in your account, give 5 positives to 1 negative.
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