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How To Repair After (And During) An Argument

Repair is crucial to a relationship during times of disharmony, it is important for rebuilding trust, emotional intimacy, and reinforcing bonding between partners.

These Show Notes are a ChatGPT summary of the episode transcript (with brief additional editing)

In Episode 60 of the podcast, hosts Kim and Rog, delve into the important role of repair in relationships. They shed light on the ‘relationship cycle’, a concept that includes harmony, disharmony, and repair phases that couples frequently transition between, which provides windows of opportunity for growth and intimacy.

In the harmony phase, partners are in tune with each other, filled with feelings of love, security, and mutual respect. It describes a stage where communication flows seamlessly and the relationship feels effortless. However, any disagreement or conflict leads the couple into the disharmony phase. This stage manifests when differences, earlier deemed insignificant, start widening the gap between the partners. Misunderstandings, unrealized expectations, or simply hurtful behavior can trigger this phase. Repair is crucial to a relationship during times of disharmony, it is important for rebuilding trust, emotional intimacy, and reinforcing bonding between partners.

Kim and Rog then meticulously explore the different stages at which repair attempts can be made – before escalation, during escalation, or after spending time apart. They note that both partners hold equal responsibility in the repairing process, irrespective of who started the argument.

In their discussion, Kim and Rog delineate three crucial junctures for initiating repair in a relationship: before escalation, during escalation, and after a period of separation (taking a small 20 minute break). Each of these represents a strategic point where attempts to mend the emotional bond can be most effective, aiming to prevent further discord, manage conflict in the moment, or rebuild connection following a disagreement.

For repair before escalation, they suggested strategies like asking clarifying questions, humor, or affectionate touch to stop the disagreement from spiking. During the escalation, more poignant repair attempts, such as acknowledging emotions, taking accountability, and suggests taking a break to calm down.

Finally if the argument has escalated out of control and partners have proactively or reactively taken some time apart, Kim and Rog highlight the crucial steps to initiate the repair process. They emphasize that this stage is about introspection, understanding, and thoughtful reconnection. Firstly, partners are encouraged to engage in self-reflection, evaluating their role in the conflict and any negative impacts their actions may have had. Acknowledging one’s fault and demonstrating genuine remorse through apology is pivotal. Then, a calm and open discussion about the disagreement is advocated, where both individuals validate each other’s feelings and experiences without judgment or defensiveness. This step fosters empathy and deeper understanding.

Kim and Rog recommend devising a proactive plan together to prevent similar issues in the future, which involves setting clear, mutual expectations and boundaries. This comprehensive approach ensures that both partners move forward with greater awareness and commitment to their relationship’s health.

The hosts underline that not all repair attempts may yield success. Failed repair attempts can point towards deep-seated issues or simply indicate the need for more time. They advise couples to persist in making repair attempts and ponder ways to improve their approach.

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To learn more about Kim & Rog's story and what inspired them to start their podcast.