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5 Levels of Communication

Marriage Forever Program:  Steps to Resolving Conflict

Hello again. A few weeks ago, we reviewed the 5 Levels of Communication emphasizing the need for deeper communication to produce intimacy and closeness in our relationships.  We talked about how most couples enter counseling first describing that they are having difficulties with communication.  Although learning communication skills is very important, it is usually a symptom and not the root of the problem. We will continue to walk through rooted issues in this series. You may also want to sign up for our Marriage/Couples Forever program to receive guided instruction on how to utilize these principles. 

               Resolving Conflict is a necessary skill.  When you have problems, which every couple experiences, you have a tool to help you through the process of resolution. Unresolved conflict can haunt a couple and cause bitter roots for many years if not addressed.  Here are some of the steps below:

 

1) DEFINE PROBLEM

Be specific.

Do not attack the person.

Attack the problem.

Deal only with the facts, not what you think, or feel are the facts.

Keep the problem the problem, don’t let your partner become the problem

 

2) TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE OTHER PERSON’S POINT OF VIEW

 

Accept and love them just the way they are.

Make each other aware of hurtful behavior, saying “I feel              when you…’.

Utilize reflective listening, asking questions before reacting.  Are you saying…..?

 

3) BRING IT UP

The person that is concerned about the problem or recognizes it first has the responsibility to bring it up.

Be sensitive to the times when you discuss important issues ……. “

You may always be the person bringing it up… This is a problem.  Talk about it or get help from a professional.

 

4) RIGHT TIME / PLACE

Pick a neutral place to discuss it like the kitchen table.

Think before you speak and talk in an appropriate tone of voice.

Avoid causing a reaction by side-swiping your partner when they are not ready 

 

5) BALANCE CRITICISM

Give a related positive trait for every negative trait you mention. “I appreciate that you…but I prefer that..”

 

6) DEFINE PROBLEM, TAKING TURNS

Each person has one minute to define the problem without interruption from the other person.

Listen very carefully to what the other person is trying to say.

Be a ready listener. Don’t answer until the other person is finished.

Give your full attention instead of thinking what you are going to say next. Each takes a turn until both can agree upon the definition of the problem.   Ancient Proverb: How can 2 walk together except they be agreed.

Stay on the subject and do not “chase rabbits.”  Don’t argue more than 10 minutes,  you are probably not talking about what you starting talking about anyway

 

7) CHANGING YOURSELF

Accept that you cannot change others, but you can change yourself.

 

 

8) BRAINSTORMING

Each takes a turn, discussing possible options and solutions.

Everybody has a right to his/her opinion.

Accept the other persons feelings whether you agree with them or not.

Do not put them down by your body language or words.

It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

List them on a piece of paper.

When you put things down in black and white it seems a little bit simpler and

clearer. That is why the Bible is recorded on paper. Do not use silence to frustrate the other person.

If you are hesitant to speak, then explain why.

Practice the 5 Levels of Communication as discussed in our previous blog.

 

9) LOVE IS KIND

Always tell the truth but do it in a loving manner.

Do not exaggerate and lie.

Avoid words such as “always”, “never”, “I cannot”, etc.

NEVER use absolutes,,  people get hung up on them especially men,  no longer are they focused on the problem but the fact that you said Never.  Now you are arguing over whether it is never.

 

10) OUTLETS FOR ANGER

Find an outlet for your anger or stress.

If you get upset or angry during the conversation, then get up and find a constructive outlet for your stress.

Try to plan your response ahead of time when you are calm.

Build up and do not tear down. Respond in a calm manner.

Discover a physical outlet such as walking, jogging, lifting weights, garden work, exercise, etc.

Develop a hobby.

 

11) FORGIVENESS RULES

When you are wrong, admit it and seek forgiveness.

When others seek forgiveness, then give it.

Forget any wrong done to you.

After reconciliation, do not bring it up again.

Confess any bitterness or resentment

Utilizing your Faith or Spirituality is a great asset.

 

12) CONCENTRATED SOLUTION

Come to a conclusion or compromise. Concentrate on the solution and not the problem.

Negotiate or come to a compromise on each specific problem or in combination with other personal preferences or problems.  Sometimes we need to give in when a compromise is unavailable. Love is sacrificial. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog and investing in your relationship. We will continue to explore helpful hints from the Marriage/Couples Forever Program. See you in a couple weeks.    Please contact us of you have any questions at 855-454-2463 or  www.lighthousecounseling.com  You can email me directly at larryb@lighthousecounseling.com

My name is Larry Bengtson and I am the Founder and Administrator for Lighthouse Counseling, Ltd. I have a passion and a dedication for the Building of Strong Marriages (Couples) and Healthy Families. I earned my Masters Degree in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin -River Falls after earning my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Sociology from St. Ambrose University. I am also a Certified Clinical Telemental Health Provider (CTMH). Lighthouse Counseling was established to provide a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment for people to disclose their personal struggles, receive help and restore their relationships. I have been practicing as a Professional Counselor for over 25 years and specialize in treating marriages/couples and families. I have helped hundreds of families and individuals navigate the complexities of life.

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