In my therapy practice with couples, I often find myself saying, “be curious, not furious,” in relation to those moments of frustration, irritation, anger, hurt etc. that so often accompany couple communication. If we can identify the internal tension beginning in us, pause, and take a few slow inhalations/exhalations, we can allow the emotions that can so often lead to a fight, to dissipate or at least deescalate.
Instead of anger, we choose curiosity. The anger has died down. Now we are ready to awaken our curiosity. I wonder why my partner might be feeling and/or acting this way right now…
This allows for more open communication, and greater likelihood of resolution of differences, when both parties are relatively calm. It is a good experiment to notice what situations – people, places, things etc. are triggers for this tension in you and in your partner. That way, you can become more aware, and create strategies that address your needs, as well as those of your partner.
For more information, please contact Ann Arbor Couples Clinic, (734) 417-9522.