I don't like it when my wife is frustrated - especially, when she is frustrated with me. It's just an open door to bad thoughts and feelings. So, it's natural for me to want to close that door because I don't want any of the bad stuff impacting me.
Problem: Jumping past where she is at to what you want.
My wife's frustration is her frustration, regardless of the cause. The frustration is in HER realm, not mine. It's not right to immediately move into MY realm. Active listening forces me to stay in HER realm and find out what she is thinking and feeling.
I listen to her. I stop what I'm doing, face her and listen while she tells her story. The details of the story are important because they let me know just how frustrated she is. Usually, the more detailed the story, the more frustrated she is.
After listening, I laugh. Of course, I don't laugh AT her, or give her the impression that I am laughing at her telling her story. I laugh to get her to laugh along with me.
Most of the time, there is something I can pull from the story to get her to laugh about. It might be one of the details she told me in the story.
Laughing always redirects the emotions. Finding something to laugh about is vital. If nothing else, we both walk away with a good laugh.
I'm a "fixer" but I don't try to "fix her" or anything in her realm. She's a big girl.
Today as a Military Spouse, I learned to Listen and Laugh.