Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It would be unnatural if you didn’t have arguments sometimes with the person you share your life with- after all, we are all individuals and have different ways of dealing with the world. It’s normal to disagree and argue. Some would even call it healthy! ;0) Not to mention, without the occasional argument....there wouldn’t be that great make-up sex after all is said and done.
However, how we go about arguing can make a huge difference in the long term health of our relationship. Learning some simple steps and keeping some rules of engagement in mind can go a long way towards reinforcing your love instead of tearing it down. You are a team, not rivals on the road of life. Neither of you are perfect. Always try to remember what it might be like for the other person to have to be living with you. Sorry, truth hurts at times but it’s a good thing to keep in the back of your mind. And it doesn’t mean that you roll over in every argument. Just keep your mind open to some things that you might be able to correct in future to avoid repeat of events.
Pain Vs Power: A lot of arguments happen over hurt feelings- often hers. Sorry, but true. Women are emotionally driven in the majority of all we do. These confrontations can single-handedly ruin a relationship. When you take an “I’m hurt” confrontation and turn it into a “win-at-all-costs-power-struggle” (which is easily done, because hurt instinctively causes defensive reactions), you are eroding the bond between the two of you. Some men by nature, seem to view disagreements as competitions to be won, or feel they have to defend themselves against accusations they “hear” but that haven’t been made.
If she’s hurt, instead of getting defensive or angry that you are being “blamed” for something, try to listen to what she’s telling you. It’s not a competition, it’s a chance to understand what upsets her so that you don’t do it again in the future OR better yet, it’s a chance to help her to understand your actions so that they don’t hurt or offend her in the future. It’s a fact that more often than not almost all of our arguments are the result of a misunderstanding. I mean come on. How many times have you had that HUGE “it’s over” in the moment fight only to wake up a few days later and you can’t even remember what it was about?
The Power Play: Some arguments are over control. Who gets to pick the furniture, where to go to eat, or how to spend money are issues in which both sides want to win. Finances are huge and sadly one of the stupidest things to fight over. Does the saying “Ya can’t take it with ya!” ring a bell? But yet it tears people apart.
Here are some ground rules that you might want to try:
No Contempt: Contempt is the #1 indicator of a relationship that isn’t going to last. If you resort to name calling, eye rolling or putdowns, you might as well start dividing up the stuff and look for a new place to live. 98% of all communication is “body language” people. You know what I mean. “That guy gave me a dirty look!” when the guy might have just been having a bad day and have been thinking about the fight that he had with his partner earlier and the emotions showed on his face as he looked in your direction. And then it could be that he gave you a dirty look. BUT point is....Only HE KNOWS for certain which of those it was.
Reflective Listening: This is so IMPORTANT! Make certain that you understand what you think you heard the other person say by repeating what you just heard back.
“So, let me make sure that I have this right...You are saying that my wagon wheel table can never have a place in our home?”
“No, I’m saying...that it doesn’t work in the living room. BUT I think it would be a better fit in the basement where we are going to have a game room.”
Clarifying what you think someone is saying to you can go a long way towards heading off nastiness and making sure that what you heard is what they meant.
Then there are...
Children: WOW! Now this’s huge! Each of you have an idea in your head as to how your children should act, be corrected and so on. This needs to be shared and parents need to be on the “same page” so to speak. It’s hard enough for a couple who are the biological parents of children. It’s far worse for those who are in a relationship with someone who has children with another person. And here is what I mean by that.
Let’s say, Jack and Jill had kids and Fred and Wilma had kids. ok? Both couples divorced or separated and now Jack and Wilma are together and sharing a home. Jacks kids are disrespectful to Wilma because maybe Jack says that they are his kids and he will handle them or maybe Jill has even told them that they don’t have to listen to Wilma because she isn’t their mother. Whatever the case may be. It’s B.S! If Jack and Wilma are sharing a home together, then those kids, Wilma’s included, SHOULD be respectful and listen to Wilma’s as if she WERE mom! Because 9 times out of 10, it’s Wilma that’s stuck at home dealing with the kids while Jack is at work. I’m speaking from my own personal experience on this one. And this goes vice versa as well. Jack needs to be respected by ALL children under that roof as if he WERE dad. Jack and Wilma HAVE TO back one another up! They must be supportive of one another when it comes to their children, EVEN if it means that the kids might get mad at them. Because the truth is that if kids are pissed off once in a while at the parent who corrects ill behavior and is showing their kid how to be a responsible/respectful adult...then said parent is doing their JOB! As long as all is fair and no one is abusing anyone emotionally or physically it’s all part of life. Jack and Wilma HAVE TO be a TEAM! or the kids (who are masters at the art of manipulation), will eventually tear Jack and Wilma apart. I mean come on...what kid wouldn’t want to go live with the parent who gives the most and expects the least? and if they can have some fun torturing the “other” me...they will while sticking their tongue out at mom or dads partner as they do it. Jack and Wilma need to sit down with all the kids and set some house rules/guidelines (What do you picture your household looking like? can the kids scream and yell at adults in home? not clean rooms? not pick up after themselves? Lie? And so on) as well as agreeing upon consequences that need to be followed with BOTH adults backing each other up. And if Jill and Fred don’t like it....TOUGH! as long as their children are not being abused and are warm, respected, clothed, loved and fed...there is nothing to complain about. They have NO say in what goes on inside Jack and Wilma’s home. and vice versa.
Most importantly: Keep in mind that not every conflict can be settled so that all parties are happy, BUT you can argue without damaging the core of your relationship. If you are prone to really hurtful, drawn-out fights, it helps to see a counselor to learn some proactive healthy conflict management skills.


  1. Gotta send this to me friend Wilma....who is married to Jack. She is going to KILL Jill and Fred is a loser. It is tearing Jack and Wilma apart. Maybe she can get some more advice from you!

  2. Very good, I have learnt to choose my battles!

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