Do you and your partner practice ‘repairing’… or do you let issues fester?

By Liz Paul, Psychotherapist & Counsellor

No matter how well you and your partner get on, there will be times when you disagree or argue.

That’s okay.  We all do that.

The key, though, is to make sure you get back on track by ‘repairing’ any damage that’s been done to your relationship, however small, BEFORE it gets out of control.

‘Repairing’ is any statement or action meant to diffuse negativity and keep a conflict from escalating into a destructive argument.

It’s about you being willing to admit responsibility for your part in the conflict so the process of healing your bond can begin (rather than allowing the issue to fester)… and ensuring your next conversation will be more positive.  After all, your relationship is more important than whatever it is you are arguing about.

Here are some examples of how you can ‘repair’:

  • Apologise by saying things like: ‘That’s my fault’.  Or ‘I shouldn’t have said that’.  Or ‘Please forgive me.’  Or ‘How can I make things better?’  Or ‘Can we start this conversation again?’  Or ‘Can I take that back?’
  • Use affection, such as: Hold your partner’s hand.  Or buy them a small gift e.g. flowers.  Or smile.  Or offer them a hug.
  • Use compromise, such as saying: ‘I agree with part of what you are saying.’  Or ‘I never thought of things in that way.’  Or ‘You’re starting to convince me.’  Or ‘I might be wrong here.’
  • Find some common ground by saying: ‘I know this isn’t just your fault…’  Or ‘My part of this problem is…‘  Or ‘I see your point.’  Or ‘Thank you for raising this issue.’  Or ‘I understand.’  Or ‘One thing I admire about you is…‘
  • Let your partner know if you think they have over-stepped a mark by saying: ‘That hurt my feelings.’  Or ‘That felt like an insult.’  Or ‘I’m feeling unappreciated.’  Or ‘Can you please re-phrase that?’  Or ‘I’m getting worried.’
  • If things are getting out of hand, take a pause. Perhaps say things like:  ‘Can we take a 5 minute break?’  Or ‘Give me a moment – I’ll be back in a minute.’
  • You could also try saying: ‘I need things to be calmer right now.’  Or ‘Tell me you love me.’  Or ‘Please be gentler with me.’

What are the issues for which most people seek assistance?

  • Relationship break-ups
  • Constantly fighting with your partner
  • Loss of intimacy with your partner
  • Communication problems with your partner or child
  • Difficulty parenting toddlers or teens
  • Pre-marriage counselling
  • A child misbehaving
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Family counselling
  • Wanting to separate from their partner amicably
  • Helping the children cope after a relationship break-up
  • Trouble staying in relationships
  • HSC stress for students and their families
  • Relationship commitment issues
  • Problems at work
  • Couple counselling
  • Difficulties with step-children
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Problems with in-laws
  • Substance addiction
  • Facing major life changes
  • Making new life choices
  • Relationship counselling