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Watch our live conversation with Jayson: How to Work through Conflict in your Relationship:
Agreements are a critical part of any relationship. Without them, two people can get lost in the weeds for hours, days, or years.
Agreements help hold both people in a partnership accountable to the larger container of the relationship. They act as “guardrails” during stressful times like conflict or big life transitions. Because it’s during stress and conflict that we are most vulnerable to blame and undermine what we claim we want.
Agreements keep us on track, they keep us focused, they keep us from losing control and spinning out.
Here are three of my favorite agreements to set in place before you get into your next tussle with someone you care about:
1. I agree to learn how to embrace conflict as a normal part of close relationships.
The goal is not to never fight. We want to bring stuff out. Let’s get that out. When we say yes to conflict, we open the door to more honest communication and truth-telling. On the other side of any conflict is a deeper connection. You cannot and will not have a good, solid, lasting relationship without learning how to deal with the sh*t that comes up between you and your partner.
To me, this is choiceless.
2. I agree to learn how to repair effectively until we are both satisfied and spend whatever time it takes to do so.
When one of us distances or shuts down and time goes by, I understand it’s my responsibility to repair whatever breach has occurred by owning my part, listening deeply to you, getting your experience, and completing our disagreement.
3. I agree to not make threats of leaving in the heat of the moment.
One of the worst things you can do in your long-term relationship is to make threats of leaving. Mentioning the word “separation” or “divorce” in the heat of the moment is deeply damaging to your brain and can further embed fear and mistrust in your partnership. So, no more threats.
To see examples of eight more agreements that are super solid for partnerships, and to take a deeper dive into setting them up, check out my new book, Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships.
You can also take this short quiz to determine your conflict style and help you (and your partner) learn how to return to a place of connection after conflict.
Grab your copy of my book from your local indie shop or Bookshop.org. It’s available on audible too.