Relationship Minute: Write It Down

Whether you’re in the heat of conflict or a tense, but civil State of the Union discussion, tough topics make listening with your defenses down quite difficult.

If you find certain topics always put you on the defensive, here’s a trick straight from Dr. John Gottman. In “What Makes Love Last?” he notes, “When I feel defensive, I try to write down everything my wife says. I remind myself that I care about her and she’s in a lot of discomfort, unhappiness, or pain. I am feeling defensive, but I will get my turn to talk.

This simple act helps you listen to your partner and perhaps understand their perspective better. It also gives you time to gather your thoughts. This significantly slows down the chance of escalating the situation with a sharp, biting comeback.

Want to give it a try? The next time you’re headed toward conflict with your partner, pause, breathe, and write down what they’re saying. You might see the conversation in a whole new way.

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Relationship Minute: A Positive Partnership

The fourth level of the Sound Relationship House is the Positive Perspective. When you work on this concept, it will change the way you see your partnership.

Think of the Positive Perspective like a pair of glasses. You see everything through those lenses, and the way they are shaped affects your outlook. A Positive Perspective is the same.

Through these glasses, you can see your partner as an ally—like you’re on the same team and they have your best interest at heart.

So, a misunderstanding doesn’t elicit a defensive stance. You’re more likely to hear their frustration as related to outside stressors rather than as a critical comment towards you. Then, and most importantly, you’re on the lookout for more opportunities that draw you closer together instead of further apart.

Today, see your partner through the frames of a Positive Perspective. Take every interaction as though the person speaking to you is on your side. You’ll find so many reasons to cherish each other when you know where (and how) to look. 

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.