After the Argument

So you blew it and had a big blow out. What do you do after the argument?

You want to fight!?

First, let your anger cool. Whether a few hours or a day, allow your anger to settle. Next, sort out impulse thoughts from reality. An impulse thought is one fueled by emotion, in this case anger. “What a witch, she always ignores me to ding me. She needs to learn to be more sensitive.” “He’s stupid, can’t even remember to do the littlest thing. He needs a dose of discipline.”  Share these thoughts  and you’ll reignite the battle. Here is your next step.

After your anger has cooled and your thoughts are more rational, follow this principle: approach your spouse with what you need to reconnect.  If you need her to take responsibility for her action, approach her by taking responsibility. Say, “Hon, I take responsibility for my part of the blowout.” Chances are greater that she will respond in kind, that she will take responsibility for her action or words.

Don’t tell her what she should do. “Hon, you need to take responsibility for your action.” She will not do it. Humans do not respond well to commands or “you shoulds.” If you want her to say she is sorry, then say you are sorry. If you want him to say he’ll try harder, say you will try harder. Think of what you need, what the marriage needs, and offer it. “What if she does not respond?”  Stay in that step until she does.  Keep reaffirming your part, keep saying you apologize.

Next, tell her what you will do in light of taking responsibility for your part. “I will work on my anger.” Then give a practical step. “I will buy that book, take that class, get coaching.” Again, she will respond in kind, “And I will be more careful with my sharp tongue and soften my delivery.”

Finally, ask forgiveness. “Please forgive me for what I did, said, etc.” Your spouse will likely say he/she forgives you and ask you to do the same. Now you are in good territory. The last step is to hug. And that’s easy. This is called a repair and if you don’t have them in your marriage it will fall apart.

Make Her Your Hero

There are reasons your wife attracted you.

Make her your hero.

Her smile captured you.  Her wit thrilled you.  Her energy mesmerized you. Strong chemistry and a combination of the above reasons with a few more thrown in drew you together to a lifelong commitment, but now that commitment is eroding. To reestablish bonds, make a list of what attracted you to your wife and her strong qualities; then contemplate those reasons.  The key is to focus on her qualities until she becomes your hero.

My wife became my hero when she gave birth to our son. After ten hours of labor the doctors called for an emergency C-section. Exhausted from stress, with full concentration, presence and determination she endured the surgery showing no fear. At that moment she became my hero. That was twenty years ago and she is still my hero today. I often focus on her strengths, no matter how simple or small.

Focus on your list. Spend time thinking about your wife, her strengths, all she does, and let your admiration soar. When marriage struggles the negatives hit us, “she’s always nagging and telling me what to do,” yet the more we focus on those negatives the more we demote our spouse. She needs to be your hero and she needs to know it.  Go for it, don’t be pragmatic. Say she’s the most. This is about romance, about love, about making someone feel she’s the absolute best.

Let her hear how you feel. Tell her what you appreciate about her. It may be as simple as how she matches clothes, or how she focuses on the kids, or her work; but clearly voice what you appreciate. When she becomes your hero, you will know it and so will she. You will adore her and believe me she will return the favor. Imagine how her life will change when you tell her she’s your hero.

Wives. You can easily switch out the pronouns and follow the above to make him your hero, but he won’t be having any babies soon.

The Switches in a Man’s Mind

In a man’s head are a few switches. Here’s how he works when these switches get flipped.It's On or Off

His build switch. When this switch gets flipped he begins to fix; he tears down, moves rubble and builds. This switch flips when he hears a problem. That’s why listening is difficult. You voice a concern just to vent and be heard, the build switch flips and he tries to fix you. It is hard for him to do nothing.

His fight switch. Flip this switch and fur flies. His emotions evaporate and he seeks to destroy. Good if you are attacked in a parking lot, bad if he sees you as the enemy. This is why he can say mean things about you, the kids, the house.  He may regret actions later, but now it’s search and destroy.  A husband needs to manage his warrior switch. A wife needs to avoid it. In some men this switch is too easily flicked and their aggression is too severe, these men are abusive and need help. They should be avoided.

His charm switch. His most beguiling switch connects to his needs.  He needs comfort, encouragement, and love; when those needs arise his charm switch flips and the romantic gentleman appears. His needs fall under the categories of food, comfort, encouragement, and sex. When these go unmet for along time his building switch flips. When that fails his warrior switch flips. When allowed to access his emotions he can funnel them through his charm circuitry and avoid the building and warrior switches, when he can’t, look out.

Men little understand these switches, only that they work. He is either building, fighting, or needing. The more he learns about these switches the better he can control their results. These switches are why men are doers and not talkers. It is why they like sports. Sports combine building – the game plan – and fighting – the game.

Because of these switches men find it hard to understand women. He can learn, but it takes time and teaching, and a little less switch flipping.

Marriage Tip: Trash Talk

Keep from trashing your spouse.

Trash Talk

Trashing your spouse to someone damages your marriage in several ways.

  • What we feed grows.  Trash talk reinforces the negatives in your mind making you feel worse about your spouse and marriage.
  • It alters memories.  Research shows that the more a marriage spirals down, the more we select bad memories.  Eventually, bad memories dominate and reinforce the idea our marriage is doomed.
  • It adds agreement to your thoughts.  Power of agreement is strong and telling someone about your spouse’s bad points causes that person to agree with you.
  • It makes a new enemy for your spouse exposing him/her to more criticism.
  • It sows a destiny. Thoughts become words, words become actions that create destiny.
  • You no longer protect your marriage, you open it to criticism.
  • You reinforce faith that your marriage will crash.
  • Finally, you lose respect in the eyes of others.

Think on positive qualities of your spouse. If you need help it is fine to say, “Our marriage needs work,”  but you need not criticize your spouse. Get help from someone capable.  If you must talk to a friend to vent, be general, but refrain from dissing your spouse. Write us.

How to be a Good Husband

Hey Guy.  A few tips to make her happy — and eventually you, too!

  • Get home from work at a decent hour.  Ask her what’s decent.
  • Sit down for 5 minutes and tell her something about your day and how you feel about it.
  • When you talk to her, look at her.
  • Play with the kids.
  • Help with dinner.
  • Pay her a compliment.  Think clothes, hair, face, jewelry, what she means to you.
  • Be present when home.
  • Make her feel she is first in your life.

Ladies and Men, if you have suggestions, please send them in.

Help Us Communicate

Talk to Me

Our communication is in shambles, we hardly talk and when we do we fight. Help us to talk and not argue. Sandra


Dear Sandra,
I hear your pain and know that all who read this feel for you.  Communication is important and affects the whole family.  Here is how we would handle a coaching situation.

1. Set Your Goal.
First, we set a goal of safe communication and a peaceful atmosphere. You should feel that you can share a concern without starting a war. Setting a goal of safe communication changes your mind set and gets you open to solutions.

2. Find the Cause.
We want to find the communication breakdown.  Often an issue like anger wrecks communication and hurts everyone.  Let’s use anger as the breakdown issue.  If anger infests you home, we will chase it out.  Here is how we can handle it.

3. Find The Real Story
The real story behind anger is called drama.  Drama happens when anger lasts too long. We will look for the story held by the angry person.  Dealing with an angry person is tricky, but  “A soft answer turns away wrath.”  We will offer language tips to help avoid the anger.

Once we find the story behind the anger we can talk about the story.   Talking about the story puts you on the recovery road.  Now we can find out how that story relates to your marriage and how to change it.

If you have a question you would like answered, send it in. It will be confidential unless you want your name on it.

Thanks for reading, we hope to hear from you! Jim & Laura Write us

Suspended Argumotion

Stop Argumotion

Stop Argumotion

Couples move in patterns that trigger arguments. I call this argumotion.  That pattern sets in motion a journey that leads to fussing and fighting.  We repeatedly hear wives say, “The same ol’ thing happens over and over and we fight.”

It may be about food, work, the house, or sex, but the familiar patterns lead to the same result. Next time this happens try something new.

When you feel a fuss coming on, stop and tune in to your feelings.  If he says something sharp, ask yourself if you feel unheard, rejected, or disrespected?  Name the emotion.

Next, shift gears and talk about the emotion. Say, “Right now I am feeling rejected.”  Be careful to not place blame on your partner, so add. “I am not blaming you, just letting you know what I am feeling.”

Discussing the emotion puts you on a deeper relationship track.   You might be surprised to learn about his emotion; he may feel criticized.  Deal with that emotion through forgiveness.

Shifting from details to emotion gets you to the heart of the problem, adds a new element, and breaks the old pattern.   A new pattern means a new result.  And you add forgiveness to your mix.  This sounds simple and a little innocent, but give it a try, it works.

CoachOurMarriage

The Secret of Rebuilding

Need a fix?

Need a fix?

Concrete Castle

How do successful couples stay successful? When storms strike, they rebuild. They switch to rebuild mode to fix their marriage castle.

Ever build a sand castle? You hug the shoreline to pack the sand, but the edge of your art work flirts with danger.  Suddenly, a wave hits.  What do you do?  You scream and rebuild.  It is the only way to preserve the masterpiece on which you’ve spent so much energy.  Do the same with your marriage.

Unsuccessful couples do nothing in between challenges.  Each successive challenge erodes more of their castle erasing all definition.  Soon they stare at a mound that once was their beautiful marriage. Consider rebuilding to strengthen your marriage. Here’s how.

When a challenge hits employ forgiveness. Don’t say “sorry” say “forgive me” and listen. Next, find humor for the challenge, learn to laugh. Here is a good tip: List the positive qualities of your spouse and later thank him/her for them. While writing the list, work on respect and admiration.  Think of what works in your relationship and go for those things.  If walks work, take walk.  If sex makes you feel close, well.

During the good times do not accept cruise control.  Think of each other, send emails, and call.  Focus on positive aspects, reinforce things you like. During a challenge, react with sympathy instead of a defensive posture. Always rebuild so when the next wave rushes in you are stronger.

By rebuilding you strengthen your marriage and tighten romance.  Eventually your sandcastle strengthens to a concrete sanctuary against which the storms have little effect.

Here are exercises to help.   If your spouse will not play, pick one and just begin talking to him/her about it.

  • Reminisce about how you met.
  • Tell each other two wonderful qualities you admire.
  • Discuss one thing that works in your marriage.
  • Tell each other one physical feature you admire.
  • Retell a wonderful marriage memory.
  • Discuss favorite things: music, food, movies, outings, etc.

Articles

Broken Trust part 2

Healing Trust

Healing Trust

Part one talked about broken trust and how it damages a marriage.  Here are a few more tips to heal broken trust.

Forgive
Choose to forgive anyone who hurt you.  Try to see the breach from their viewpoint, maybe they did not intend to hurt you and are blind to your pain.  After forgiving – you are not condoning their action, just cleansing your heart – find a positive thought about that person.  If possible talk with them, but no need to stir up ancient history.

Promise
Another way to build trust is through small acts.  Make a small promise with your spouse and then keep it.  “Friday we will do dinner and see a movie.”  Keeping promises rebuilds trust.

Make A Swap

If you make shoes yet need a coat and meet a shoeless person who makes coats, you can swap goods.  If you are happy with your swap trust develops, if the coat is cheap trust fractures.  Find what your spouse needs and think of how you can meet that need, then make a swap. Discuss what you each value and then determine to honor each other’s value.  If a wife values listening, then husband makes a concerted effort to listen, if he values touch then give a hug.


Delayed Reaction

Your swap may not reciprocate immediately.  For example, a wife may encourage her husband and not receive her return right a way.  Yet, next week she may need his assurance and he gives it.  It is this expectation that strengthens trust.  Expecting Laura to be there for me enables me to live in a pool of trust.


Four More Healing Ways

Create
a healing environment.  Discuss making your home a safe place where trust can grow. Develop hope in people. Target ways to strengthen hope interacting with someone safe. Reduce competition.  Eliminate any competition between you and your spouse, include your children.  Begin a plan to believe the best of yourself. Determine to offer compliments to reveal the best of each other.  CoachOurMarriage
Do you have tips to develop trust?  Share them by
writing us.

Articles

Broken Trust part 1

A Weak Foundation

A Weak Foundation

 

How is your trust level?  Trust provides the bedrock to any relationship.  Fractured trust causes us to play life close to the vest and weakens our marriage.

What is trust?

  • The ability to share feelings confidently.
  • Feeling safe and supported even in weakness.
  • Assuming others will not intentionally hurt you.
  • A sense of acceptance and stability.
  • A sense that nothing will disrupt your relationship.
  • The ability to let others in your life.
  • The ability to care and help each other grow.

How Trust Crumbles.
Past hurts like feeling misunderstood, belittled, or ignored can injure trust. Strong grief from death, abandonment, or a hostile divorce can fracture trust as well as a volatile upbringing, little attention, or rejection.
People with fractured trust feel the following: I will be hurt again, people are out to get me, I cannot let down my guard, loved ones always hurt you,
I cannot trust men/women, healthy relationships do not exist.
Trusting means exposing your weakness with the expectation of not being exploited.  In a family, exposing your heart should be safe with no fear of exploitation; feeling unsafe is a sign of broken trust.


Healing

Low trust means you fear being hurt.  You heal trust by conquering the fear of emotional pain.  We cannot avoid that fact that humans hurt each other, it is what you do with that pain that affects your trust level.  Keeping the pain allows it to fester, throwing it overboard cleanses your life.  Find a replacement for pain, think of someone you know who loves and trust you and build on that foundation. CoachOurMarriage

Articles | Comments

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries