Thursday, July 29, 2010

Avoiding Escalation in Your Marriage


Q. My husband and I seem to be arguing a lot lately. It just seems that all our disagreements turn into full blown arguments. We both feel it is not good, but we are just not sure how to stop it. Can you help us?

A. It is not uncommon for couples to experience this escalation from small arguments to full blown fights. There are actually four key negative patterns that you want to watch out for in your marriage. These four patterns are: escalation, invalidation, negative interpretation and withdrawal/avoidance. According to research conducted at the University of Denver having any one of these four key patterns can destroy your marriage. If you can work on extinguishing these four key patterns, the positive aspects of your relationship can take over.

What you are experiencing in your marriage is escalation, or the back and forth responses that continually up the ante and therefore make the conversation more hostile. You can work at short circuiting escalation by backing off or saying something in a calmer tone. Both of these tactics will allow deescalation to occur and you will break the negative cycle. These are hard tactics to employ when you find yourself angry or frustrated, but try it and see if it does not cause the conversation to take a turn for the better.

Remember James 1:19: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." If this does not work for you, give us a call. We are happy to work with married couples who find these negative patterns to difficult to break on their own. There is hope for your marriage and it could start with you.

All information take from: "A Lasting Promise" by Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathen, Savanna McCain, and Milt Bryan.