Conflict Resolution: Four Ways to End A Cold War

In his mid-40s, Jason is a dedicated real estate broker. Jason’s devoted wife Tabitha helped him build his company for years, but she just left her work to devote more time to raising their children and taking care of the home. This should be a happy moment in their marriage, but Jason frequently works late, and by the time he gets home, Tabitha is gone—on the phone, taking care of a sick neighbor, putting their elementary school-aged kids to bed. She is present whenever she is required, yet she cannot find Jason.

Early on in their marriage, Jason and Tabitha got into a furious argument over Jason’s excessive work hours. When Jason finally showed up, hours after Tabitha had made dinner, she would become irate and start making accusations about where Jason had been. With his own angry outburst, Jason would escalate the conflict by cornering him when he was worn out. Each of them gave up on attempting to find solutions after becoming too frustrated and disappointed. A tight stillness followed their love’s cooling. It was pointless to say anything else, so they pretended to be alright and declared themselves to be so.

Jason avoids his loneliness because he is too proud to acknowledge that he is hurt by the way she never looks at him. Instead, he concentrates on his work. When Tabitha tries to reach out but is unable, she withdraws and starts her own independent existence. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman might characterize this pair as emotionally disconnected. They’ve become so discouraged by their inability to find solutions that they’ve given up and gone back to their parallel existence. In their frigid ceasefire, Jason and Tabitha may be in greater trouble than a couple who fight openly because the latter may still have some faith in their ability to resolve issues. What works for a fighting marriage might not work for Jason and Tabitha, a couple from the cold war. What then might?

Here are four methods that could provide you a little bit of a connection inroad.

1. First, remember who you married

Jason might come to mind for Tabitha as someone she liked rather than as a total stranger. She might have vivid memories of the Jason whose eyes sparkled with desire for her. Why did you choose your partner? Was it a joke? character depth? a grounded assurance? You can warm up and approach your loved one naturally once you remember that individual.

2. Treat your partner with genuine kindness and respect.

Similar to how you act to the barista when holding open a door for them. Be benevolent. Most people associate charity with generosity toward the needy and freely giving to the afflicted. Consider providing your partner with your most cautious and deliberate attention. By doing this, you aid your partner in remembering you.

3. Make eye contact next.

See your beloved clearly. When someone enters the room, greet them with your eyes or a warm hello. Perhaps Tabitha will recall the intense, gratifying love she once felt, the type that sprang from her eyes like a river to fill the void of his longing. It was passionate, sensual, and adoring.

4. If you do start talking again, be prepared for some choppy waters.

If the dam of unspoken thoughts and feelings bursts, pay attention to your spouse’s complaints and demands and treat them seriously. Adopt an attitude of transparency and justice. Being defensive at this time is inappropriate. According to Dr. Gottman, men in particular might gain by accepting responsibility for their wives’ complaints. Don’t fight, be honest, and acknowledge your part in the issue. Jason disregarded Tabitha’s criticisms of his Saturday shifts. He can still feel her anger even though she isn’t speaking anymore. He can understand her difficulties and acknowledge, especially to himself, that he is capable of more.

You might require the assistance of a couple therapist to release the tension caused by emotional detachment and to start a conversation. Return to the friendship while you sort it out. Keep in mind the person you married, make eye contact, use kind words, stay close by, pay attention to what your partner is saying, and accept responsibility for your part in it.