No Engagement…

30 Dec

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On a regular basis, I work with couples who complain that they have “communication” problems.  I’m not really sure what this means and in those cases I usually turn them to the book The 5 Love Languages.  The sole purpose of this book is to define communication patterns within the relationship; from both members perspectives.  It’s amazing and a must for any couple no matter how well you get along.  That being said, what people typically mean is that they don’t feel heard or that they argue on a regular basis.  In that case, that is a completely different issue with a completely different solution.

People typically like to argue and fight, even though they might not realize it.  Both members of the argument are getting something out of the argument, typically because they are so used to living in chaos that they don’t really want to try something else because that would be uncomfortable.  God forbid if we’re uncomfortable for a little while to improve our relationship in the long run!

For these situations I work with couples in an activity called “No Engagement”.  I ask one member of the couple, usually the one who starts the arguments, to begin talking about an argument causing issue, and then I have the other member literally sit and just listen.  It is absolutely amazing when you realize that listening is a key communication activity.  What is just as vital is to not engage in the other persons arguing, and not co-signing their bullshit.

In other words…walk away. 

This will not work the first time.  Or the second.  Or fifth or even the 100th.  But eventually it will work because the other member will realize that you are unwilling to participate in their chaos.  What we often don’t realize is that the easiest thing to do is to engage in an argument.  It’s what we’re used to and it feels comfortable.

Try something different.  Love the other person and yourself enough to not be part of the negativity.  And I’m not promising this will work right away or even fix the problem.  In many situations, the problem gets much worse before it gets better…but it will get better.

You’re worth it.  You’re both worth it.  Love is worth it.

Check back later in the week for more relationship building exercises and advice and if you’re interested in relationship coaching contact me at peter@raannt.com

For now,

Peter

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2 Responses to “No Engagement…”

  1. TerDelTayOSU January 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    My mother and step-father have an “argument’s over,” bell that they received for a wedding gift. It is in either one of their possession until they ring it, then they must relinquish it to the other. It’s a great thing. It keeps them grounded. My mother has had it for MONTHS now. Solely a power thing for her. I occasionally take it and ring it and say “I’m done hearing about it.”

    • pamonn January 2, 2014 at 12:00 am #

      I love that idea! That is awesome!

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