Basic Conflict Resolution Skills Builds Trust and Intimacy in Relationships

Basic Conflict Resolution Skills Builds Trust and Intimacy in Relationships . One of the first steps is honesty and sharing how you feel.
Honesty really is the best policy in marriage. Ideally, spouses will be truthful with themselves and each other. Use “I” statements to do this with respect and integrity.

Use “I” Statements for Successful Meetings with your partner
Partners who communicate as equals are likely to have a good relationship. Basic conflict skills such as the “I” statements provide an easy way for a a couple to honor their own and their mate’s individuality. Those who converse with “I” statements are taking responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, desires, and behaviors. The opposite of an “I” statement is a “You” statement, which tends to come across as judgmental or blaming.

Successful Meetings require application of good communication skills. “I” statements help couples to connect positively by leveling with each other about their thoughts and feelings. When expressing appreciation during a Meeting with your partner, and for respectful self-expression in general, use “I” statements as illustrated below. Doing so conveys an attitude of respect for both the speaker and the receiver.

Basic conflict resolution skills also include body language and voice tone to match the spoken words. When saying, “I appreciate your cooking such a delicious dinner,” do it with a smile and with eye contact. Actions speak louder than words.

Examples of “I” statements:
“I” statements show that the speaker is being true to herself or himself and is willing to be vulnerable. Here are a few examples:

•”I like ____________________________.”
•”I appreciate_______________________.”
•”I disagree ________________________.”
•”I think ___________________________.”
•”I want ___________________________.”
•”I’d rather not ______________________.”

•”I feel (happy, hurt, anxious, resentful, grateful, sad, uncomfortable, loving, confused,overwhelmed (or state a different emotion) when you ______________________(action word)because _____________________________________ (effect action/event had on receiver).”
•”What I would like instead is ___________________________________.
Avoid “You” Statements; They Promote Defensive Responses


“You” statements come across as judgmental towards or demanding of the receiver and therefore tend to produce defensive responses. They reflect an unconscious desire to dominate the other person. Examples of “You” statements are “You are lazy, “You are wrong,” and even, “You did a good job.”

This last statement is a compliment and may be well-received. However, it implies that the speaker is in a position to judge or control the receiver, the way a parent would be expected to behave toward a young child by virtue of the parent’s hierarchical position. Saying “I appreciate your thoroughness in doing the job” connects respect for a spouse as an equal.

Guard Against Disguised “You” Statements
Some people think they are making an “I” statement when they are really making a disguised, “You” statement. “I feel that you are wrong” and “I think you should” are disguised “You” statements.” In both cases the speaker is confusing a feeling with a judgment. Feelings are emotions; one can feel glad, sad, bad, or mad, with many variations. In both examples the speaker comes across as judgmental or controlling rather than as speaking from the heart.

On the other hand, saying, “I disagree with you,” or “I would like you to” (behave in a certain way) implies that the speaker is taking responsibility for expressing his or her opinion or desire, not as someone in a position to dictate a course of action to the other, but as as one of two people who have the right to agree or disagree with each other and to want whatever they want.

“I” Statements are Free of Expectations
“I disagree with you;” “I have a different opinion;” “I would like you to;” and “I prefer” are true “I” statements. An “I” statement” is free from expectations; it is a clear expression of how it is from the speaker’s point of view, in terms of feelings, beliefs, thoughts, wants and needs.

When “I” Statements in a Marriage Feel Dangerous
There is much truth to the expression, “Don’t bare your feelings in a jungle.” In a hostile climate it is counterproductive to use “I” statements. While they are great for intimacy and connecting with others, some people simply are too emotionally damaged to handle them. They are afraid to be emotionally vulnerable and become uncomfortable when others are. Too often they deal with their anxiety by lashing out at the person who opens up. When such a dysfunctional communication pattern exists in a marriage, it is time for the couple to get some joint and/or individual therapy or coaching, if they want a better relationship.

Most couples are healthy enough to communicate one of the most basic conflict resolution skills – the “I” statements once they know how. Doing so brings the rewards of more trust and intimacy. Practice with a trusted friend or contact me for support. Click below to get more great information on “I” messages.

Please share with me what happens after you deliver one of the most meaningful conflict resolution skills (the “I” message) to someone important in your life. I would love to hear success stories or challenges as well!

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