Her steps are:
- Decide how either of you can initiate a time-out. It may be a signal or a word. Matt and I opted for the word "ice cream" because it has so many positive associations for us and it seems like it has the potential to lift the mood just a little.
- Decide what each of you needs to do during the time-out to help you cool down. For me, I need to go do some yoga breaths and stretches.
- Decide what you can say to yourself to help ground you. I need to say things like, "We're on the same team; we're building a life together."
- Commit to coming back to resolve the issue with a conversation after both parties have calmed down and can talk rationally about the situation.
SCL and I hit a rough patch a few weeks ago when we (re)discovered that our communication patterns are very different. Our conversations were just frustrating both of us, and I was left feeling hurt--and SCL felt misunderstood. So, we talked it over and decided in the future that we will:
1) Speak up when a conversation is not helpful (maybe we need a code word!).
2) Agree to drop it for the time being.
3) Decide a specific time to resume the conversation and honor it.
Any communication tips during stressful times that you find helpful?