Communication Techniques: How To Save Your Marriage

Hi. I’m Bruce Muzik… and welcome to
the third video in the series about how to navigate through the treacherous stage of your relationship called “The Power Struggle” stage. And if you haven’t been watching the
previous videos the Power Struggle stage happens right after the romance begins to fade away. Usually ends up with one or both
partners fighting for power inside the relationship. In this video series we’re taking a look at how to navigate through this Power Struggle stage and turn it into an opportunity for deeper intimacy and connection. Create security and a romance
that lasts a lifetime. In this video, I’m going to be teaching
you a powerful technique… for… how to cool off an argument when it starts spiraling out of
control into a full-blown fight. But I feel obliged to issue a warning before I teach you this technique, because this technique is so powerful, that if you practice and master it, what
you’ll probably find is the people you use it with will have a habit of falling in
love with you… So… use it, very… wisely. Let’s take a look at how a normal
conversation can turn into an argument… and then spiral out of control into a fight. I’d like you to think of a
good conversation like a good tennis match… …in that there’s two people playing. And
there’s a ball that gets hit back across the net… The ball is a metaphor for the conversation or the message that’s being
communicated between two people. Like in any good tennis game, or any good
conversation… when you hit the ball across the net the other person hits it back to you. And just like a good conversation; it would be no fun if you hit the ball across the net and the other person didn’t hit it back! In psychological circles… your willingness to hit the ball back is called your RESPONSIVENESS. It turns out that RESPONSIVENESS is one of THE keys to creating a long-term, romantic relationship that lasts. That is full of intimacy and
connection. Let’s take a look at what a
responsive conversation may look like. (Woman): “Honey I’m so tired. I had an exhausting day at work.” (Man): “I understand baby…I guess you’re not so excited about cooking tonight, right?” (Woman): “Yeah, you got that right.” (Man): “Well, why don’t we get take-out instead and then you don’t have to cook?” (Woman): “Oh! that sounds like a wonderful idea. Maybe we can rent a movie while we’re
at it?” (Man): “Oh yeah, let’s get the one we were talking about the other night.” …And the conversation is off to a great
start with both partners responding to each other. On the other hand; here’s what
unresponsive conversation might look like: (Woman): “Honey I’m so tired. I had an exhausting day at work.” (Man): “Uh Huh” (Woman): “I really don’t feel like cooking tonight…” (Man): “Well…why don’t you just get take out?” (Woman): “Well… what do you want?” (Man): “I don’t know. Choose something for me.” (Woman): “Oh jeez, you are so indecisive! Do I have to make all the decisions in this
marriage?” (Man): “Uggh! Here we go again. It’s always my fault isn’t it?” AND this conversation (on the other hand)
is destined to escalate into a fight. Can you see the difference?
The difference is that in the first conversation the partners
were responding to each other. In the second conversation they may have been talking to each other, but they were unresponsive emotionally. The research shows that
responsiveness is one of the key predictive factors in predicting whether or not a
relationship will last. In fact, the statistics go like this: In stable marriages that last a lifetime
both parties are highly responsive to each other. Responding to each other 80%
of the time, each time their partner reached out for attention. Whereas marriages that ended in divorce, partners were unresponsive and responded less than 50% of the time to their partner reaching out for connection and attention.
The first distinction I want to leave you with is that your ability to respond, your responsiveness, is a key factor in determining whether or not your relationship will last or whether or not will end breaking up. Also… The second distinction I wanna leave you
with is that your ability to be responsive in a conversation to your partner will determine whether or not your conversations are fun, light-hearted, intimate, connected, sexy and loving. Or whether or not they
escalate into full-blown fights with one of you sleeping on the couch.
Know what I mean? (Music playing) How can we be responsive to our
partners when we’re in the middle of a fight? When we’re triggered or upset? The first thing you want to do: is you want to stop hitting your own balls back to your partner, or aimed at your partner’s head.
And begin returning the balls that they’ve served to you. So your partner’s going to to serve
the ball across the net (that might be some kind of communication) And you hit that one ball over the net back to them. One ball in the court at a time. Those are the rules of tennis. And the same in a good conversation. When your partner’s game is over you’re going to have YOUR turn to serve
your ball over the net and they’ll respond and hit your ball back.
When you begin to do that, you begin to play a game. And a dance in the conversation begins to happen. Rather than both of you serving balls at each other at the same time, and it turns into a war zone where everybody takes casualties on both sides. There is a powerful way to do this that I call
having a Reflective Conversation. It’s been called many names by many great
teachers. I just call it a Reflective Conversation, I think that’s the most descriptive name for
it. It turns out that human beings in a
relationship, what we want more than anything is to feel gotten and understood. To feel heard and understood by our partner. But we were never taught
this as a skill at school. We were taught to speak, but we were
actually never taught how to listen. We just assumed that if we understood
English we could listen. But we were never taught how to listen
in a way that our partner feels heard and understood. And I’m willing to bet that half of the
arguments that happen in your relationship or have happened in your past
relationships are because you or your partner have not felt heard and not felt gotten by each other. So how do you make your partner
feel heard and understood? Is actually pretty simple.
All you need to do is reflect back to them what you’ve understood about what they
said. Basically say back to them – paraphrasing – what they said. So that they get that
you heard them and you understood them. And if you didn’t get it correct, they can then…correct you. It’s pretty simple, it’s not rocket science. And it might look a little bit like this: (here’s an example that’s slightly more serious than the previous examples) I’ll demonstrate to you how you can use
this in your own relationship to create instant connection in the middle of a fight with your partner. (Woman): “Honey, I love to have a
Reflective Conversation with you. Are you free right now?” (Man): “Sure love, what’s up? (Woman): “You know last night when we were at dinner and we joked about our sex life in public? (Man): “Uh-huh. (Woman): “Well… I was really embarrassed when you did that.” (Man): “Okay. So let me see if I understand you.
When I joked about our sex life at dinner last night you felt embarrassed. Did I get it?” (Woman): “Yes” (Man): “Is there more?” (Woman): “Yes!.. I really appreciate it if you wouldn’t
talk about our sex life in public. I know you don’t mean to be
disrespectful, but I am just not as comfortable talking about sex as you are.” (Man): “So if I heard you accurately.
What I’m hearing you say is that you’re less comfortable than I am about talking about
sex and you’d rather that I didn’t talk about sex in public. Did I get it?” (Woman): “Not quite. It’s not that I mind
you talking about sex with our friends it’s that I feel uncomfortable talking about OUR sex life in public” (Man): “Ahh. Ok I get it. So talking about sex in
public’s fine, but talking about our sex life feels
uncomfortable for you. And you’d rather I didn’t do that. Is that right?” (Woman): “Yes” (Man): “Is there anything more?” (Woman): “No. That’s all. Thank you.” (Man): “I’m sorry I made you feel
uncomfortable last night that wasn’t my intention honey, and I’ll make sure I don’t talk about our sex life in public again” (Woman): “So I’m hearing you say that you regret making me uncomfortable and you’re not going to talk about our sex
life in public. Is that right?” (Man): “You got it baby.” (Woman): “Is there more?” (Man): “No, I love you” (Woman): “Oh! I love you too.” Before I explain each step in this Reflective Conversation… You’re probably thinking “Who speaks like this?! this is weird. And I don’t blame you, I promise you I’m
not going to ask you to speak like this in public. But if you master this
technique and begin to use it in your relationship Something magical will happen. Tension will begin to dissolve your partner’s anger will disappear and
if you stick with the conversation and see it through to completion you’ll take your relationship to new
heights of intimacy connection and love that you may have
never experienced before. Okay. Let’s take a look at how you can
have your own Reflective Conversations with your partner step-by-step. The
first step is to request a Reflective Conversation.
If you find yourself in an argument that you fear might be escalating into a fight, you can just say to your partner:
“Honey, can we have a Reflective Conversation please?” And if they say yes, well… then you’re in.
The next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to choose who’s going to go first. That is to say who’s going to be the speaker The person who speaks first we’re going to call the sender. The person who listens we’re going to call the receiver. Let’s assume for this example that you’re the receiver and your partner’s the sender. The third step is: Your
partner (the sender), Is going to send their message
and your job as the receiver is going to be just to listen. You don’t say
a word. You JUST listen. and when they stop you’re going to paraphrase
back to them in your own words what you understood
that they’ve said. Personally, I like to reflect back using
the sentence stem: “If I heard you accurately, what I hear
you saying is (…)” And when you have, you’re going to
check in with them that you got it right by saying: “Did I get it?” If you didn’t get it,
they’ll tell you which part of their message you didn’t understand properly. And then you can paraphrase it reflected
back to them, again, until they confirm that you did get it.
Once they’ve confirmed that you did get it. The next question
you can ask the sender is: “Is there more?” If the senders says is that there’s no more, then you can switch roles You can become the sender and send your message and they’ll listen to you. I understand that this may feel a
little bit overwhelming in the beginning, a lot to remember. So, I made you a document down below this video that you can download and print out. Keep handy around the house.
That when you next get into an argument or you feel a conversation turning into an argument and the tension rising.
You grab that piece of paper, say to your partner: “Hey, can we have a Reflective Conversation please? I feel like the tension’s increasing here.” And the two of you can use the document to
run through step by step. Before you know it will become
second nature. Your conversations will very rarely escalate into full-blown war… where you’re now firing shots at each other. They’ll turn into fun tennis matches where you’re bouncing a ball back across the next to each other. Feeling heard, gotten and understood.
The love and connection deepens and increases in your
relationship Here’s a couple of tips for making a
Reflective Conversation as transformative as possible Tip number 1: One person speaks at a
time only. This way you always feel like you’re
being heard. Tip number 2: The sender’s always going to speak
in bite-size chunks. Ok? Maybe 30 seconds at a time. Then the person who’s the receiver can reflect back a bite size chunk. Rather than having to reflect back 10 minutes worth of download..right? 30 Seconds to a
minute at a time seems to be a good balance. Tip number 3: The sender is going to own their
words. You’re going to use I statements. You’re going to take full responsibility for YOUR experience What’s going on for
you. You’re not going to point fingers at your partner and say “you did this” and “you did that”. Tip number 4: If you can and it
feels good to, seat knee to knee with your partner and
hold your partner’s hand. Touch your partner.
Have some kind of physical touch with your partner. Some people when they’re in the middle of conflict though the last thing they want to do is have physical touch. In that case it might be better to step
back. Ask your partner what they’d prefer and
figure out something that works for you. Tip number 5: Hug your
partner afterwards. When you finish with the conversation and it ends in a loving space, hug your partner and end it lovingly. What you’ll do is… you’ll
train each other. That every time you have an argument and you use this
technique; it ends in love. You’ll want to use this technique.
Your partner will want to use this technique. Before you know it, your arguments
won’t even escalate into fights anymore. They’ll begin to end in these beautiful
moments were the two of you just feel connected, loving, gotten, heard and understood. Like your partner is
the only person in the world that truly understands you . That’s what I want for you. That’s why I’m teaching you this
technique. That’s why I’m starting The Love At First Fight Coaching Program shortly. And that’s why making these videos for you.
So you can have that experience, instead of the horrible experience of
breaking up that most people have during the power struggle stage. When would you use a Reflective
Conversation? The first way you might use it
would be to actually request one. Maybe you’ve got something on your mind that you’re little nervous about talking to your partner about and you suspect it might be a touchy subject and
might escalate into an argument, or an opportunity for the two of you to be
disconnected…. Then you might say to your partner: “Honey, have you got some time this afternoon between 4-5pm where we can spend an hour and have a Reflective Conversation?” So you formally requested. That’s one way to use it. Another way to use it is: When you’re
having a conversation and you notice that the tension’s rising before it gets out of control you might say
to your partner: “Hey Honey, can we just have a Reflective
Conversation?” And then you can de-escalate the conflict straight away. I often use it when my partner’s sharing
with me about how the day went. And they’ve had a really tough day and they’re
sharing with me. I reflect back to them what they’re
saying so they experience being heard and gotten. We’re not even having an argument or a fight at all. I use it …you know… naturally,
so that she feels heard and she feels gotten. She feels loved . And she knows that I’m interested in what she’s saying. You can even use it with your children. You could use it at work, with your boss,
or with your employees, especially when things get heated. This kind of technique is used in
hostage negotiation and in conflict resolution all around the world. Over time, as the two of you become more and more
reliable to use this technique your relationships are going to become safer and safer for the two of you to open up, be vulnerable and share with each other. And those sensitive conversations that might have previously ended with one of you sleeping on the couch… Could they end with both of you sleeping in each other’s arms in bed together. I could speak for hours
on how to make this technique even more effective. We’ll be going deeper into it in the Love At First Fight coaching program. Which I’ll tell you
about in the next video. If you want to be notified before anybody else when The Love At First Fight Coaching Program opens. Please pop your email in the box down
below and click the button I’ll send you an email as soon as we
open the door to that program before I let everybody else know. I hope you
found this video useful and I hope you show it to your partner. I hope you print out the document down below and you use the technique in your
relationship. Then please leave me a comment. Let me know what you thought of the
video And let me know your success stories of how this actually works. Go and have a
conversation like this with your partner tonight. And let me know how it goes.
Please click the Like button down below, share on Facebook, email it to your friends And we can spread the word about how to de-escalate conflict and help people all around the world create relationships that have more love and build a romance
that last a lifetime. This is Bruce Muzik signing off. Wishing
you more love than you know how to handle. Have an amazing day and I’ll talk to you in a
couple of days when The Love At First Fight coaching program opens Talk to you soon. Bye.

About the author


  1. My girlfriend and I have been on and off a couple of times over the past year and a half and just recently broke up. She says she just lost hope for the most part that we can get back to that place of romance because we fight too much and it's exhausting. We were in the Power Struggle stage most definitely. I am not a quitter and always want to work through these things because I know how beautiful our love is, but I can see how we were trying to fix things all wrong. Almost like we were using the wrong tools to fix anything. I feel like I don't have the right to contact her as maybe she needs space but I do hope she tries to reach out to me because I love her to death! If that happens, then I would love to put these tools (that you have shared in your videos) into action. I think they would work wonders. Everything you've said is right on the money! Thank you for sharing such valuable information!

  2. All is sweet, nice vid and I really envy all of you who can communicate like that, but in case of my marriage theres nothing more that can be done, absolutely, we are two totally different people and my hub will never learn to be responsive or reflective simply because hes nt interested in any communication whatsoever.

  3. Communication is everything…without it there is nothing. It's all I ever wanted. To hear, and to be heard, to love and to be loved. ∞

  4. Bruce: again finding this video hard to work with, because im not hearing it so far address how to know if we like the other person sufficiently, to know whether we should put in the effort to go thru the five stages with that other person

  5. First example had much more energy than 2nd. People with more energy are more successful. Restorative sleeping the foundation of energy

  6. So the fundamental IMO is not the responsiveness, but it's the low energy levels on both sides that are even more fundamental

  7. I totally understand about reflection conversation. Except when both party are into fight I just don't think that we want to think about the technique. Like every time I am have a fight with my husband he refuse to listen to listen what I have to say all he does is turn the table around and start blaming me on everything so the reflection conversation didn't even come across my mind. I just start to fight back. I think if you can make a video how to understand man in a marriage it would be more helpful.

  8. What if your incredibly responsive and your partner is unresponsive, uncommunicative, and emotionally disconnected completely? How can you get them to see that?

  9. I loved the advice in the video, but the first example where both the man and the woman assume that making dinner is her responsibility, even after they both worked all day is so sexist it was such a turn off, Please check your examples for underlying assumptions.

  10. thank you very much… this piece of advice is precious for me specially I am in the verge of break up so I'll use use your techniques to repair my relationship. bless you

  11. I am trying this every time my husband gets mad at me but it never works. Everything I do is just wrong and makes him scream at me which most of the time leads to me crying. I am just so stuck since all I can think of is "don't make him upset". But then this is not right either. I cook dinner for him and tidy up and even moved to another city far away from my family for him but nothing seems to be enough. I don't know what else to do, moving was already the biggest thing I could imagine I have no more to give… But I will keep on trying…

  12. what do you do if your partner says no to having a reflective conversation but you really want to try to fix things between the two of you and your partner is fixed on having a divorce but you feel like your partner doesn't truly mean it on the inside?? great video, but please help on the other side if your partner says "no" to having a reflective conversation

  13. Hi Bruce, I cany locate these worksheets you speak of in this and your last video. Could you assist me with this? Many thanks…. P.S. I love your videos

  14. I just watched the first 3 videos. You spoke to me. Even if my relationship doesn't make it past the power struggle I plan on learning from the mistakes and the new knowledge I have just retained. Thank you.

  15. Thankyou for such a explanatory video that helps our mind to visualization what were the mistakes we had in our relationships while you speak in the video.

  16. Hey Bruce, I have a question. What can you say in this regard about each partner's responsibility to tell the other what they need and want? I'm studying relationship counseling myself and am curious about your stance on this.

  17. After 28 years of a sexless marriage I have broken communication to its simplest for. I no longer waste my time trying to me romantic and such, Just to get no response 99.99999% of the times only to get sex 1 or 3 times a year.   So after waiting 4 to 6 months I just ask her when are we going to have sex again, this year or next year.

  18. i just feel lost i don't know what to do or not do i know she's going true a lot butt fuck me i can't take it anymore fuck if i do fuck if i don't

  19. My partner and I just realized ee have gotten to the power struggle stage. Its been so difficult and we even thought about breaking up after being together for 3 years. I found your videos and honestly I feel there is hope. I am sharing the videos and applying your techniques. Thank you so much !!!

  20. Ever notice marriage therapists/counselors are always divorced?
    If they are so wise then why couldn't they make their marriage work.

  21. hi thank you for those video but it bit to late for me as my boyfriend broke up with me Monday what you said in video that what happened x

  22. In conflict studies this technique is called "reflective listening". So this advice is not only excellent but proven to work!

  23. Funny, I automatically do the reflective conversation already. But the response I get, is him telling me I've twisted his words with anger. I ask for clarity and he refuses. Over and over, thus is how our "conversations" go. But I'll try again with this video in mind. 7 years is not worth giving up on….

  24. I just came across your techniques and I hope they can help, my wife will speak for at least 15 to 30 minutes and when I try to interrupt to reflect/paraphrase she says "Can I finish?" or some other statement to reflect guilt upon me. I've been through anger management and she refuses to follow any of the ideas and makes me feel like I'm belittling her, ignoring her, making her feel lonely. If I can't communicate with her in the way she communicates how do I figure this out? Thank you.

  25. Uf! I like your advise, but in this moment feels like nathing is going to help,What when your partner blames you for everything?

  26. This video contains excellent techniques for good communication. In order to lessen arguments, you must listen each other's side; it is the most important aspect to save and build a strong married life.

  27. So in the situation where the woman was tired, if the receiver of that information isn’t responsive how should the woman respond so she can continue to be responsive and not escalate the conversation? We can only handle ourself and will inevitably end up in a conversation with someone who is unresponsive. What is the best way to respond without getting frustrated?

  28. What if ypur husband just wants to sweep things under the rug and pretend everything is ok. And when you try to reach out, he misunderstands and you end up just not wanting to communicate anymore.

  29. Two weeks ago I suspected my husband was cheating on me so I needed to be really sure that my suspicion was true,
    I had to tell somebody how i felt (a friend) of mine and she told me about @westhack000 on INSTAGRAM and I got exactly what I was looking for in three hours or less, although I'm heartbroken but it was worth the trial.

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