Bickering Versus A Good Old Barney....
Bickering Versus A Good Old Barney...Couples can differ in so many ways - habits, likes and dislikes, interests and tastes, etc. But what about when they differ…when they differ? In other words what happens when they clash but have different conflict-resolution styles?
I often come across couples where one partner employs a low-level bickering to sort things out and the other likes a good old-fashioned “barney” to clear the air. The way such a couple handle disagreements can compound the initial problem if they aren't careful.
Laura, 38, and Steve, 33, are a good example. Laura's always employed what I'd call a low level of bickering about, say, the dog being groomed, the recycling being done properly, or how much they spend on alcohol/meals out. Steve can be quite fiery and likes things done and dusted with one good row under his belt.
This has become a long-standing issue with both being annoyed at how the other tries to resolve things. With growing resentment Laura has ratcheted-up her bickering (as if repeatedly poking Steve with a verbal stick is going to sort things out!). While he's blown like a volcano with increasing frequency. They’re proof of how your style of resolving conflict can affect a couple and their long-term happiness.
But the tide’s changed and things are improving. How so? With some very practical techniques to take the sting out of disagreements. Steve’s been encouraged to employ a specific strategy where he "names the thoughts" (think Name That Tune!) he's having that usually bubble away until he blows. He now gets things off his chest as they arise in a moderate tone of voice. Laura’s using a "resistance strategy" where she resists speaking in an annoying tone of voice and repetition of the point she's making.
If your disagreements end up being about how you disagree it may be time for you two to confront this: to bicker or to have a barney - that is the question.
A similar article was published in the Times newspaper