By Christian Lizotte, PSP Ottawa Health Promotion –
It’s important to understand that relationships are never perfect; strong, functional relationships require work on the part of both parties. Basically, a healthy relationship is free from violence, based on equality and healthy and respectful behaviour. The equality wheel below summarizes the ideal behaviour for a healthy relationship. Do you see majority of these behaviours in your own conjugal relationship?
Do you argue respectfully as a couple?
Arguing is to be expected within a couple and is an integral part of a healthy relationship. Each couple has moments of joy, as well as tense moments related to work, school, health, the children, the family or other, which may lead to interpersonal conflict. The good news is that there are simple and effective methods you can use to improve how you communicate your interests during these arguments.
- Start your statements with “I” and avoid using “you,” which may put the other person on the defensive.
- Recognize your personal responsibility and demonstrate it through your actions.
- Redirect your attention to what your partner is trying to express (their interests) rather than thinking of your next statement.
- Be assertive, so as to communicate firmly, clearly and respectfully, rather than being aggressive or defensive.
- Take a break if you feel the conversation is degenerating so as to avoid a loss of control and a potentially more serious conflict.
- Don’t repress; express. If something is bothering you, identify it and express your position as soon as possible. You’ll feel more in control of yourself and it will be easier to communicate calmly and rationally and not “explode” because of repressed emotions.
Are you aware of the resources available for military members and members of the Defence community with respect to conjugal and family relationships?
Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (MAP)
Telephone: 1-800-268-7708 | Website
Family Information Line
Resources for members of the Defence community
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – Public
NPF Employee Assistance Program (CFMWS)
Telephone: 1-800-361-5676 | Website
This post is also available in: Français (French)