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Hi, this is Adam Sachs. I’m a counselor with Thriveworks in Charleston. I’m gonna offer some advice today about how to get along better with your significant other during this time of Coronavirus. The advice I’m going to give or the recommendations are pretty much the same as what I would give couples during other times. It just may be more important to really focus on these during this time when you’re spending much more time together, it’s harder to get out. There may be more depression and anxiety, you know, running throughout your household anyway.
So first this is called the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It comes from a marriage and a relationship researcher named John Gottman. These are communication patterns that tend to be destructive in relationships and things you want to avoid. So you do want to have a lot more positive communications than negatives. And these are four styles of negative communication.
So the first and probably the most damaging is contempt. And that’s expressing a real dislike for your partner. A hatred, condemnation, just being contemptible never works, never works out well. So really avoid that during this time. Criticism is another that causes partners to withdraw from each other. So being overly critical, attacking their personality, their character just putting them down.
You want to avoid that during this time. Being defensive. So playing the victim or trying to turn the tables on your partner when they might be making a suggestion. Counter charging, bringing up other issues to try to avoid an issue at hand is another destructive communication pattern. And finally, stonewalling, which means just avoiding things all together, shutting down tuning your partner out. You want to avoid those four things. That’s in all cases but especially now where you’re not going to easily be able to take breaks from each other.
Another thing I work with clients on is fair fighting rules. So there somewhat similar to those communication patterns I just described. You want to focus on one thing at a time. So a lot of times couples, when they get into an issue that they might disagree about, they jump from subject to subject, never resolve one thing. You want to take turns in talking. So instead of interrupting and talking over each other and cutting each other off, try to listen respectfully and let your partner finish before you jump in.
Avoid yelling, yelling, never solves anything. If you need, if you’re, you feel yourself getting angry, a little emotional and out of control, take a break, but let your partner know you need to take a break. Let them know when you’ll come back and discuss the issue. And finally work to try to reach a compromise even though it might not be the best thing for either you or your partner, but at least you’re moving towards resolving a problem rather than raising something and coming to know possible solutions. All right?
Then lastly, something really important, whether it’s during this Coronavirus time or not, is have fun with each other. Try to connect, try to do things during this time that you might not have time to do at other times. Playing board games, having a movie night during the week, anything where you can slow down, connect with each other cause that’s going to help your intimacy.
I hope this advice is productive for you. And you can implement it at home. My name again is Adam Sachs from thrive works in Charleston.