When Creating Closeness in Your Relationship Backfires

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Everyone wants to have love and safety in their relationship no matter what issues arise. Marriage and family therapist Emil Harker shared how we can maintain a close relationship with our partners during conflict.

Emil explained that when we bring up an issue with our partner, it immediately places a wall between you and them. This can happen despite your intentions to create closeness by overcoming the conflict. Your partner, feeling threatened by your conversation, believes that this is a violation of the peace in your relationship and no longer feels safe. Instead of feeling close, your spouse will distance themselves from you.

So, what’s the correct way to solve a conflict? Emil created “The 4 Steps of Complaining.” These steps are:

  1. Share your thoughts and feelings about why you’re hurt.
  2. (Transition) “But if I put myself in your shoes…”
  3. Share the thoughts and feelings of your partner. “You’re probably feeling…”
  4. Check in. “What am I missing?”

With these 4 steps, your partner will feel understood rather than feeling attacked. This way, you can maintain the closeness in your relationship and both partners will feel safety and love.

You can find more from Emil Harker at emilharker.com.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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