The Collaborative Divorce Center

More on Perspective

More on Perspective—One Way to De-escalate Conflict and Have a Healthy Conversation that is More Likely to Lead to a Resolution.

Often we look back on a fight with a significant other and think “I can’t believe we got into it over—-the clothes on the floor– the dishes in the sink–being late, etc. etc.

We are not very good at prioritizing when in the midst of a heated discussion, when we find ourselves triggered, maybe starting to yell or feel out of control we cannot see what is really important.

Here’s a tip if you are in such a conversation and your partner is escalating.

Instead of feeling defensive or like you have to shift the blame ask your partner a simple question: 1 to 5?

The question is designed to get your partner to tell you, on a scale of 1 to 5, how important this issue is to us. It triggers the other person to pause, think about and then respond with the relationship in mind.

Some things really are 5’s—resolving this issue is priority! But most times it is not. Most things are more like a 1-3.

To do this requires one partner who can remain calm and that both partners are willing to agree to this and be willing to try.

1-5 won’t save a bad relationship, it won’t make two people who are incompatible suddenly right for each other, and won’t make every fight easier. What it will do is make the strong stronger, it will make difficult conversations easier and it will help you both get some much needed perspective.

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