Do Differences Divide Your Relationship or Can You Accept Them as Normal?

2021-10-21T15:06:40+00:00Difference|

Raise your hand if you’ve said or thought this before: “If everyone were more like me, this world would be a much better place.” Wow! Everyone’s hand is up — not really surprising. After all, there wouldn’t be any more differences if everyone was like you. We’d think the same, react the same, make the same decisions, share the same values and beliefs. We’d all be right. There wouldn’t be any more conflict or division. Wow. What a time to be alive! Sign me up! As great as that sounds, we have to face reality and realize that our differences aren’t the problem. We are created differently for a reason. [...]

Understanding Anger and How to Handle this Volatile Emotion

2021-07-05T13:22:46+00:00Anger|

I wonder if you believe TRUST is important to your closest relationships. I bet you would say “Of Course!” Ok, then let’s talk about anger. I know that’s probably the last thing anyone wants to discuss, especially if you’re having a really good day and want to keep things happy-go-lucky. Not to mention, our library of blog posts has become a haven for plenty of practical, feel-good ways to keep your marriage safe and connected. So who wants to start the day with a downer? We certainly don’t. But whether we like it or not, a common occurrence in many couples or family interactions is anger. And it very well could [...]

Flooding-What is it and why is it so damaging to my Marriage?

2020-10-15T19:59:42+00:00Emotion, Flood|

We know what anger is. It’s our most volatile emotion. And while it’s natural to experience it, the damaging effects of too much anger (hurtful words, screaming, demeaning actions, aggressiveness, etc.) in our marriage can last for years and trigger intense emotions that sometimes lead to flooding. But wait. What is flooding, and why is it so damaging? You may not know the term flooding — yet! But in 70% of couples today, one or the other floods in the middle of conflict. This is very important because it is a fight or flight response to anger, which will only hurt our marriage more.   “I’ve had just about all [...]

Unhealthy Marriage Patterns: You Can end the Damaging Fear Dance

2020-05-10T18:43:33+00:00Emotion, Fear|

While sitting down to write this post about unhealthy marriage patterns, I was reminded of a movie scene where an overweight man was lamenting how big he had gotten. He said, “I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.” I bring this up because, as humans, we have a tendency to fall into all sorts of cycles or patterns in everyday life — many of which are not only damaging but can feel never-ending. A perfect example of an unhealthy marriage pattern is the damaging fear dance. As couples, we fall into well-worn patterns when our fear button gets pushed. We’ve written a [...]

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 [...]

Can shutting down Emotion help me stay in control?

2018-01-05T21:47:53+00:00Control, Emotion|

Emotions are essential to all logical decision making.  Years ago it was commonly accepted that our brain had a reasonable side and an emotional side.  The thought was that we controlled our emotions with reason.  So how can we handle our emotions and still make high level decisions? It’s the last week of the quarter and sales numbers are not where they should be according to the goals set by corporate.  The regional office is buzzing with activity as all associates are trying to close that last deal to make those corporate goals.  There’s electricity in the air that you can almost feel as everyone is digging in to find [...]

Is Your Brain or Body in Control when you Fight?

2020-03-30T23:31:10+00:00Emotion, Flood, Relationships|

“We can’t even talk without fighting.” “I get so angry, I can’t see straight.” “It’s like we go from zero to sixty!” “I don’t even remember what we were fighting about, but I know it was ridiculous.” Ever said these words or felt this way about your spouse or partner? We hear from couples whose whole lives together have been characterized by these words and these kinds of scenarios. What should just be a simple conversation or discussion becomes a fight. Couples begin to live like they are enemies and adversaries rather than friends and lovers. The problem is likely “Diffuse Physiological Arousal” according to John Gottman, more commonly called [...]

Are you just Existing Like Roommates?

2019-09-25T19:06:57+00:00Relationships|

Are you living like roommates instead of having the intimate, close relationship you want with your spouse? There are lots of reasons why we grow apart. When Mike and I were young marrieds with a little one it was easy to do the necessary communications (work talk) to make the household functional without stopping to talk about where we were emotionally. Expressing emotions can be hard for some people, especially when you’re stretched thin by the demands of work, family, community, and other responsibilities. Trying to carve out time with your spouse to talk about deep things may even make them nervous or anxious, which creates a barrier of its [...]

Understand and Handle Your Anger for Better Relationships

2017-03-17T14:24:40+00:00Emotion|

Anger is probably the most misunderstood of all our emotions. We generally think of it as more of a behavior than an emotion. Words like screaming, throwing, intimidating, and even harming, all come to mind. But anger is first of all an emotion (one that we all experience!), and it is important to differentiate between the feeling of anger and the expression or behavior of it! Anger can certainly be a powerful, controlling, and even dangerous emotion when it is not understood and dealt with through appropriate behaviors. The effect of anger on loving, intimate relationships is especially dangerous. But anger in and of itself is not bad; it is [...]

5 Steps to Relational Safety

2018-01-30T15:58:40+00:00Relationships, Safety|

Last time we examined what a safe relationship might look or sound like; and what skills we can learn and practice to help the relationships in our lives. That if we are going to thrive, our marriages or other close relationships must remain a safe environment. This focus we are talking about is not physical, but emotional and relational safety. If you haven’t already, go back and evaluate what we said emotional and relational safety sounds like. Such as: My feelings, ideas, and concerns matter. We honor one another. Anger is not out of control. I don’t feel judgment, but understanding and compassion. Discover together what you do, or don’t [...]

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