The Work/Life Balance: Reducing Stress in Relationship Communication
It can be a challenge to balance work with relationship responsibilities. Research has shown that work conflict and relationship conflict are interrelated, in that conflict in one area directly affects the other. The aim of this activity is the help separate work conflict from marital conflict by supporting one another in conflict outside of the marriage.
On a typical day, spend twenty to thirty minutes on this conversation. The cardinal rule is that you talk about whatever is on your mind outside of your marriage. This is not the time to discuss any conflicts between you. It’s an opportunity to support each other emotionally concerning other areas in your lives.
- Take turns. Each partner gets to be the complainer for fifteen minutes.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice. If you quickly suggest a solution to your partner’s dilemma, he or she is likely to feel that you are trivializing or dismissing the problem. Understanding must precede advice.
- Show genuine interest. Don’t let your mind or eyes wander. Stay focused on your spouse. Ask questions. Make eye contact.
- Communicate your understanding. Let your spouse know that you empathize: “What a bummer! I’d be stressed out, too. I can see why you feel that way.”
- Take your spouse’s side. This means being supportive, even if you think his or her perspective is unreasonable. Don’t side with this opposition. When your partner comes to you for emotional support your job is not to cast moral judgment or to tell him or her what to do.
- Express a “we against others” attitude. If your mate is feeling all alone in facing some difficulty, express solidarity. Let him or her know that the two of you are in it together.
- Express affection.
- Validate emotions. Let your partner know that his or her feelings make sense to you.