Problem #4: Conflict
Occasional conflict is an inevitable part of life, but if you and your partner feel like you are starring in your own nightmare version of the movie Groundhog Day, it’s time to break free of this toxic routine. Recognizing these simple truths will lessen anger and enable you to take a calm look at the underlying issue.
Conflict resolution skills can help you and your partner learn to argue in a more constructive manner, consider this advice:
- You are not a victim. It is your choice whether to react and how to react.
- Be honest with yourself. When you’re in the midst of an argument, are your comments directed toward resolution, or are you looking for payback? If your comments are blaming and hurtful, it’s best to take a deep breath and change your strategy.
- Change it up. If you continue to respond in the same way that has brought you pain and unhappiness in the past, you can’t expect a different result this time. Just one little shift can make a big difference. If you usually jump right in to defend yourself before your partner is finished speaking, hold off for a few moments. You’ll be surprised at how such a small shift in tempo can change the whole tone of an argument.
- Give a little; get a lot. Apologize when you’re wrong. Sure it’s tough, but just try it and watch something wonderful happen.
“You can’t control anyone else’s behavior, the only one in your charge is you.”
Problem #5: Trust
Trust is an essential part of a relationship. Are there certain behaviors that are causing you to not trust your partner, or do you have unresolved issues that are hindering you from trusting others?
You and your partner can develop trust in each other by following these tips:
- Be consistent.
- Be on time.
- Do what you say you will do.
- Don’t lie — not even little white lies, to your partner or to others.
- Be fair, even in an argument.
- Be sensitive to the other’s feelings. You can still disagree but don’t discount how your partner is feeling.
- Call when you say you will.
- Call to say you’ll be home late.
- Carry your fair share of the workload.
- Don’t overreact when things go wrong.
- Never say things you can’t take back.
- Don’t dig up old wounds.
- Respect your partner’s boundaries.
- Don’t be jealous.
- Be a good listener.
Problem #6: Not Prioritizing Your Relationship
If you want to keep your love life going, making your relationship a focal point does not end when you say “I do.” Relationships lose their luster, So make yours a priority.
- Do the things you used to do when you were first dating: Make gestures of appreciation, compliment each other, contact each other through the day, and show interest in each other.
- Plan date nights. Schedule time together on the calendar just as you would any other important event in your life.
- Respect one another. Say “thank you,” and “I appreciate … .” It lets your partner know that he/she matters.
Problem #7: Struggles Over Home Chores
Nowadays, most partners work outside the home — and in today’s economy — often at more than one job, so it’s important to equitably divide the labor at home.
- Be organized and clear about your respective jobs in the home. “Write all the jobs down and agree on who does what.” Be fair: Make sure each partner’s tasks are equitable so no resentment builds.
- Be open to other solutions: If you both hate housework, maybe you can spring for a cleaning service. If one of you likes housework, the other partner can do the laundry and the yard. As long as it feels fair to both people, you can be creative and take preferences into account.
Although relationships have their ups and downs, there are things you can both do that may well minimize marriage problems, if not help avoid them altogether. Be realistic. Thinking your mate will meet all your needs — and will be able to figure them out without your asking — is a Hollywood fantasy. Ask for what you need directly. Use humor — learn to let things go and enjoy one another more. And be willing to work on your relationship and to truly look at what needs to be done. Don’t think that it will be better with someone else; the same problems you have in this relationship because of lack of skills will still exist.
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David is an expert on relationship advice. He authors the blog datenromance.blogspot.com.