Relationship Minute: Give a Stress-Reducing Conversation

The holiday season is in full swing, which can mean extra stress, tension, and obligation to be “merry and bright.”

Treat your relationship to a Stress-Reducing Conversation and give each other the opportunity to vent about external factors without it affecting the relationship.

A few guidelines:

  • Take turns being the Complainer and the Listener.
  • When it’s your turn to complain, don’t complain about the relationship. Keep your complaints located in stressors outside of the dynamic between the two of you.
  • When it’s your turn to listen, take your partner’s side. Now is not the time to “play devil’s advocate.”
  • Stay in it. Tune in to your partner when you are the Listener and keep complaints from sliding into something personal when you are the Complainer.
  • Don’t try to solve your partner’s problems if they didn’t ask you to. Let it just be a time to vent.
  • Be kind. Offer affection and compassion to your partner with useful phrases like, “I can see why that would be stressful,” “That must have been hard,” or even just, “That sucks.”
A listening ear or a shoulder to cry on is a great gift to give your partner and something that could only come from you!
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The Relationship Minute from The Gottman Institute, dated 12 December 2019. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.