Submitted by: Zia Wright
Have you heard this tip from successfully married couples? “Be sure you have a truce or have resolved all disagreements before you go to sleep. ‘How to Save Marriage by settling differences before nightfall’ is a strategy?
It was a new idea to me that fighting could be fair and thus could be a way to help my marriage survive. Give any hard discussion the time it deserves to be explored; this includes starting early enough in the day you can resolve it by nightfall. Doing so, makes you deal with disagreements without delay. It forces some acceptable conclusion in order to avoid bad feelings that may last longer than the issue was ever worth.
The wisdom I took away from a presentation in Seattle gave me real insight into the benefit of settling problems. Dr Gottman, a well known researcher, said, “Couples who do not argue are more likely to get divorced.” My partner and I looked at each with disbelief, and mouthed, “Oops.”
We learned disagreements are a natural and healthy part of relationships. Not grappling with them cheats couples out of deeper understanding of each other as individuals. The biblical sentiment “the two shall be one” can lead couples to believe that once wed they should ‘think alike’. The belief that two people will think as one can suppress individuality and cause avoidance of argument. Thinking you are the same will rob you of the depth and understanding that comes from exploring your differences.
Willingness to embrace hard issues with fair rules of engagement will Strengthen Your Marriage. To handle disagreements effectively:
o Assume a positive outcome. You will follow the path you focus on, positive or negative. A child in a tree is more likely to fall if you tell him or her “don’t fall out of the tree” focusing on the worst outcome; It works better if you say “hang on” or “be safe”. Expecting a fight will surely result in a fight.
o Assume you will appreciate one another more once you reach a solution to your issue.
oDon’t think this: “This is so frustrating; why even bother, we never agree and we will just get into a big fight.”
o Approach your discussion in the way you would want to be treated.
o Have a very clear outcome in mind – this will help you keep the discussion focused. If you are discussing rules for teenage dating – your desire may be that the two of you agree on very specific standards and associated consequences if not met. Past mistakes should be left in the past – keep the focus on the future outcome and how you can bring it about.
o Take a break if your adrenalin is pumping. Do not keep talking if one of you has moved into adrenalin flood. A rational discussion can only take place when you both are calm and focused.
o Listen to learn who your partner is – what does he or she believe, think, fear. Before responding with your thoughts, restate what you heard your spouse say. Being truly understood makes one a lot more willing to hear other input.
o Take care to support and validate feelings. Comfort does not come from telling someone that they “should not feel that way”; they are much more comforted by having their feelings acknowledged.
o Honesty does not always bring the best outcome. Before you unburden yourself of past guilty deeds, ask yourself if having your spouse know this will strengthen your marriage.
o Know the Behaviors that can destroy your marriage. Discuss these behaviors identified by Dr Gottman as divorce triggers: Contempt, Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling. While both of you may agree that to avoid these behaviors in discussions, you may need a way to signal one another that one of you is slipping back into the risk behavior.
As individuals, you and your spouse should expect disagreements and accept them as part of learning and growing as a couple. It is okay to fight as long as you fight fair. Develop a method for hard discussions and be sure to end any fight before nightfall.
About the Author: If you would like to learn more about tools, tips and secrets on
how to save your marriage
, visit this relationship expert’s web site
. You will get substantive tools on how to avoid divorce and much much more. Zia Wright has spent the last 20 years studying relationship issues and providing insight to friends and followers.