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How to Influence My Spouse and Understand Them

2021-04-04T16:55:43+00:00Communication, Conflict, Uncategorized|

Most marriage counselors will tell you that the best way to deal with and manage difficult conversations and differences between you and your spouse is to think in terms of being cooperative, seeking out understanding, and utilizing persuasion and influence. All of this is great — and true. But it’s also a bunch of “counselor talk.” What this really means is that you need to understand your partner’s point of view. Granted, that can be easier said than done — especially when you’re in the heat of the moment and both of you are thinking, “well, I’m right, and you are so horribly wrong.” But with the right attitude, finding [...]

Destructive vs. Constructive conflict styles

2021-03-03T16:00:14+00:00Attitude, Conflict|

If you haven’t had a chance to read our blog post from last month on conflict, we suggest you and your spouse take a quick gander. After all, conflict exists anytime two people interact. Even between the best of couples — it’s inevitable. The trick is how we handle it, which brings us to today’s topic on destructive vs. constructive conflict styles. Simply put, how we process or deal with conflict can make or break positive communication in a marriage.   Do you want to minimize issues or work through them? Conflict generally arises when our desires are blocked or hindered by someone or something. Maybe it has to do [...]

Conflict Happens. How will you and your spouse handle it?

2021-01-26T23:08:23+00:00Communication, Conflict|

We’ve said time and again that when it comes to communication in marriage, it is imperative that we truly listen and understand each other’s heart and then honor those inner needs and wants every day. Not only will we have a safe and connected marriage as a result, but we will easily handle conflict when it inevitably arises. But wait? If we are doing all of those things, conflict shouldn’t exist. Well, not necessarily. Conflict exists anytime two people interact, and it is not bad in and of itself. How you and your spouse handle it is the important part. So, to continue our ongoing discussion on positive communication, let’s [...]

Soft Start vs. Harsh Start and Improving Your Interactions

2020-11-03T22:33:50+00:00Communication, Conflict|

A wife is sitting on the couch as her husband walks in the front door after being at the golf course all day. Before he can speak, she says, “You are always golfing with your friends! I’ve been home alone all day, and you didn’t call once.” Naturally, the husband feels attacked — even though he knows she’s right — and an argument ensues. Sound familiar? Of course it does. But is there a better way of handling this? Absolutely. It’s a little something called soft start vs. harsh start.   Soft start vs. harsh start are two ways to go about getting your point across when you’re upset. But [...]

How to avoid hateful words and attitudes with your spouse

2020-11-02T23:20:27+00:00Attitude, Conflict|

Last week with the election just days away we talked about not letting our differences divide us. How we should be okay with us all being different and to learn to accept our partners for who they are and honor their differences. The election itself is over, but how did you do?  Did you honor one another? Or did the conflict go a different direction? When couples don’t see eye to eye on a particular issue, it is so easy to fall into the trap of using harmful words and attitudes to get their point across. Don’t believe us? Just think of all the times you’ve said these things to [...]

How to have stress-reducing conversations: Removing Negative Things From Your Marriage

2020-10-12T13:02:55+00:00Communication, Conflict|

One thing many couples struggle with is knowing how to handle the stresses of life together. Granted, there are a lot of stressors out there — job loss, finances, horrible bosses, and chronic illness or injury being just a few. But just when you’d think we’d turn to our spouse for stress-reducing conversations, we don’t. Instead of talking, sharing, listening, and empathizing, we yell, argue, take our stress out on each other, and say hateful things in the heat of the moment.  There is a lack of stress-reducing conversations. We’ve all been there, right? The initial reaction for one spouse is to lash out, which isn’t the answer. The other [...]

Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Understanding vs. Problem-Solving

2020-07-30T01:08:36+00:00Conflict, Emotion|

Everyone wants to be better at problem-solving. After all, it’s what helps drive effective communication — at work, with friends, and as couples. Many couples I see in my practice definitely want to problem solve. And yes, they do need solutions for their issues and problems; we all want those things in our lives.   While I do want to help them with problems, I’m really trying to teach people how to improve their emotional understanding.   This might surprise you, but problem-solving is the last thing I do. Starting with problem-solving is a waste of time!   Starting anywhere except attending to emotions will derail you most of the time [...]

Beware of Unfulfilled Needs that spur Couples to Fight

2019-09-05T22:10:00+00:00Conflict, Intimacy|

“Our lives are shaped by our desires.”-Thomas Merton All couples fight! We have heard it most of our lives. Therapists, self-help gurus, relationship professionals, and even pastors believe it is a natural part of a couple’s life together. It’s normal. Everyone does it.  WRONG!   Learn how to fight fair! Fighting fair to resolve conflict! 8 Commandments for fighting fair!   These are only a few of the titles of well-meaning books or blogs. For sure, all couples do have conflict. But think about the meaning of the word “fight”: a violent confrontation or struggle; to attempt to harm or gain power over an adversary by blows or with weapons. [...]

What Lightning Bolts are you Ignoring in your Marriage?

2019-06-21T20:39:40+00:00Conflict, Emotion|

We recently had the wonderful family cruise, in the Eastern Caribbean.  There’s really nothing quite like spending quality time (with no electronics) with people you love.  But there was one experience that caught me off guard and may have been one of my most important (enlightening) experiences on the trip. STRANGE NOISES The last night of the cruise, Mike and I had laid down to go to sleep, bags packed, next day clothes and toothbrushes ready for early morning departure.  I was reading a bit before turning off the light and kept hearing this strange noise.  I couldn’t identify it AND it just kept happening.  There wasn’t really any rhythm [...]

Long Term Costs of Not Repairing After a Fight

2018-08-10T15:56:11+00:00Anger, Conflict|

I just had to share this situation that I recently read about. It speaks on a deep heart level about the people we truly are versus who we are in public. Tell me how you’d feel and let me know what you believe should happen to repair after this fight. In my first years of marriage, my wife and I got into a disagreement while visiting a family member’s home. We went to the guest room to hash it out privately, but we had no idea how badly we were about to embarrass ourselves. While in the guest room, our tempers flared. Unfortunately, I became particularly disrespectful until suddenly, my [...]

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