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Listening to each other
in Me, You and Baby Too

Practising good listening can help you to find new ways of supporting each other and resolving disagreements. The next part is all about how to TALK IT OUT.


When you’re ready to talk things through, there are two things you can do to help move the conversation forward:

  • See it differently. Try to see things from your partner’s point of view.
  • Speak for myself. Use ‘I’ statements to talk about how you are feeling.

You can help avoid arguments by using a soft ‘start up’

A harsh ‘start up’ is when you go straight in with a criticism or a mean comment. It can feel like an attack and may be met with a defensive response.

A soft ‘start up’ is a gentler way of bringing something up, that focuses on the issue at hand without blaming the other person. It might start with “I feel…”

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Three steps to arguing better
What would it be like if your partner could always understand what you are thinking and feeling? What if you could stop and think about your partner’s thoughts and feelings before you react to the things they say and do? You can’t read each other’s minds, but you can gently ask questions to find out more about what’s going on. It can be helpful to name your feelings and talk about what you might need from each other. This can make it easier to be supportive and take steps towards resolving things. You might not stop arguing altogether but with practice you can learn to argue better. There are three simple steps to arguing better: STOP TALK IT OUT WORK IT OUT Step 1: STOP The first step is to STOP. This means staying calm and listening. You can’t always control the way you feel, especially when an argument starts. But you can have some control over how you respond. When you feel a conversation heating up, you can try some of these tips to help yourself say calm: Take some deep breaths. Relax your shoulders. Count to 10. Take some time out. Go out for a walk with your partner. Do you find yourselves arguing about the same things over and over again? Sometimes an argument isn’t about what it first seems. An argument about money, or who does what, or who looks after the children, is rarely just about that. Understanding the root of the argument can help you talk about the things that are important to you. Have a look at this diagram which show the things people argue about the most.
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The magic ratio
John Gottman, a famous relationship researcher, found that couples have better relationships when their positive moments outweigh their negative moments. For every negative moment between you and your partner, you need five positive moments to balance it out. At the beginning of this section, we asked you to think about this Sliding Scale and identify where you and your partner might be. Arguing all the time – shouting, criticising, blaming, walking out. Arguing most of the time. Arguing sometimes and not really getting things sorted. Arguing but listening to each other and agreeing to differ. Getting on well and sorting out your difference. Now you can begin to think about where you would like to be, and how you might get there. Here are some questions to get you started: What would make it better for you? What would make it better for your baby? What would you be doing differently? What was happening when things went well? Now it’s time to set some goals. A goal can be a thing you want to happen, or a way you want to be. Goals are a good way to make sure you use the new skills you are learning. How to set goals What would you like to do differently? You can set goals by going to your account and clicking on ‘Goals’. Then you can either choose your own goal or pick one from our list: Stay calm – count to 10 before I respond. Listen to my partner without jumping in. Try to see it from my partner’s point of view. Notice when I criticise. Take a break if I start getting angry. Say two positive things to my partner every week. The most important thing is to PRACTISE. Whatever goals you choose, try them out over the next few weeks. The more you practise, the better you will get. The most important thing is to PRACTISE. Whatever goals you choose, try them out over the next few weeks. The more you practise, the better you will get.  Well done! You have reached the end of Session 3. Please click through to the next page where there are a few more questions to finish.
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