Confront the issue, not the person.

Instead of going head to head on the issue, go shoulder to shoulder as you work toward a resolution. Don’t be seeking to blame or shift responsibility. Rather, you should be looking at the issue; clarifying it, addressing it and resolving it – with courage and confidence.

1. Name the issue. Get clear on the details. Why is it an issue; why does it matter. Once you are clear about the issue, remember, that this is what you should be confronting, not the other person.

2. Plan how you will bring up the issue. Your words, your timing, your tone. Include what you see is the issue and how you feel about it, what is at stake, some resolutions you came up with (but don’t be attached to any one). And invite your spouse to share their perspective, insights and thoughts. Write it down, practice hearing your voice saying it. Run it by someone objective, to make sure that it is worded effectively.

3. Discuss calmly. And keep focused on the issue. If you feel yourself getting riled up, take a break to calm yourself. If your spouse is getting riled up, again offer to take a break.

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