Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an argument with your partner but felt like you were speaking two different languages? How did a seemingly small disagreement so quickly spiral into hurt feelings, misunderstanding and defensiveness?
Conflict is inevitable in every long-term relationship, but so often we argue in ways that push our partners further away instead of resolving the original issue.
My guest today believes there is a better way – a way for partners to weather conflicts and actually emerge closer and more connected than before.
Dr. Stan Tatkin is a marriage and family therapist who has spent decades working with couples and training practitioners to improve communication in relationships. His new book, In Each Other’s Care: A Guide to the Most Common Relationship Conflicts and How to Work Through Them offers strategies grounded in neurobiology and years of clinical experience.
Dr. Tatkin explains that when disagreements arise, our primal instincts kick in, triggering “fight or flight.” We automatically focus on defending our own positions rather than understanding each other’s perspectives or finding compromise.
But with foresight, self-awareness and new interpersonal strategies, partners can shift out of this unproductive dynamic. They can learn to calmly “work the problem, not each other” – regulating each other’s emotional states, considering each other’s interests equally and prioritizing the well-being of their relationship above all else.
Today we’ll discuss Dr. Tatkin’s approach for navigating common relationship conflicts productively. His insights just might save your next argument from becoming “irreconcilable differences” and instead reveal how much closer you can become through facing challenges together.
If you LOVED this episode:
- You’ll also love the conversations we had with Julie and John Gottman about deepening long-term relationships.
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