Whoever shares first gets to finish speaking before the other shares

Whoever expresses their emotions first – whether through words or body language – gets to share their feelings completely before the other can speak.

It may not be easy, but it is important to allow the speaker to share it all. This shows respect to the speaker.

Even if your spouse is sharing complaints about something you have or haven’t done, try to remain focused on what they are sharing and not on preparing a response or retort to what he or she has shared.

Even if what your spouse is saying is totally based on a misunderstanding.

Even if it is totally inaccurate.

Even if you had a very good reason, or you were in a no-win situation, and you did all you could in that circumstance –

Before sharing your side, it is important that your spouse feels heard. Validate their feelings. “You sound so frustrated by [whatever happened – state as objectively as you can]” .

You can then add how you felt hearing that all. “It was hard for me to hear you share about [that] because I hate the thought of disappointing you.” And then check that they feel heard and calmer enough to hear your perspective and feelings. “Is now a good time for me to share how it all happened for me?” Only then can you share. Do it gently, with respect. Be prepared to backup or even stop the conversation.

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