Arguments start to take off when one partner begins to get defensive. So, therapist Lauren Consul shared her relationship-saving tip to “stop an argument in its tracks” when one partner goes into self-preservation mode.
Lauren Consul is a couples and sex therapist who’s developed a following of nearly 160,000 people on TikTok and has received over 5.4 million likes. She is an infidelity expert and hosts retreats to help people “survive and thrive” after one partner has strayed.
“The next time you and your partner are talking, and your partner becomes defensive, I want you to do this: Pause, and say, ‘I want to understand what happened there. What did you hear me say?'” Consul says in her TikTok video with over 42,000 views.
“This question is key because it does one of two things,” she continued. “First, it can allow for clarification. A lot of times when we’ve become defensive, we’ve interpreted something our partner has said incorrectly. We’ve run it through a filter, we’ve told ourselves a story about it, it’s triggered something… So we’re not actually hearing what our partner says, and it allows for clarification.”
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“The second thing: If your partner did interpret what you said correctly, it gives you an opportunity to slow things down and understand what is happening for them and address the underlying issue, rather than get caught in a spiral of defensiveness,” she continued.
Consul’s advice for stopping arguments before they explode is helpful because it clears up any potential misunderstandings. The key is to remember the tactic in the heat of the moment to prevent things from getting out of hand.
This article originally appeared on 3.16.23