Solving Problems without Arguing

problem solving

Solving Problems without Arguing

It’s no secret that arguments lead to breakups. And the best relationships split power equally among the two. That’s why learning how to fight right without hurting each other’s feelings, or taking one or another person’s power away are the secrets to an impenetrable relationship. But how do you solve problems without arguing? Fighting isn’t essential to couplehood.

Though disagreement is inevitable, getting angry or fighting is a choice.  Here are three steps culled from the book, Getting to Yes, that can eliminate arguing from your relationship, equalize power and make things run far more smoothly. This strategy also helps reconcile two parts in conflict inside an individual as well. So if you are suffering from inner conflicts try this strategy too. Generally speaking compromise is touted as the best way to solve issues. But if one person wants to live in Chicago and the other in Miami, settling in Nashville isn’t going to make anyone happy. It’s a lose-lose instead of a win-win. Compromise has its place but not in situations such as this. However a win-win solution leaves both parties satisfied.

The first step is to recognize the conflict. Say it’s a Friday night. One person wants to go out. The other wants to say in. The first step is to recognize that both parties are indeed in conflict. This sounds easy. But it isn’t always really. Sometimes one partner will go out only to make the other happy but harbor unseen resentment. Instead, both parties will voice that there is a conflict in preferences openly and honestly, without holding back. That doesn’t mean fighting. It merely means recognizing the issue. Next, instead of advocating for your position, trying to find both parties underlying concerns. One person feels that they aren’t spending enough time with their friends, while the other is exhausted from a particularly grinding week at work. Finally, the couple decides on something that will settle both parties underlying concerns. The couple decides to go out and visit with friends at happy hour. Then they decide to come home and relax. Or perhaps they have a nice dinner together, while one goes out and the other stays home. These two solutions are a win-win for each.

The solution has to fix each person’s concerns. That’s important. The couple also has to be patient and communicate clearly so that they can dig past what the person says they want to their actual concern. It’s important that each person find and then communicate their underlying concerns so that these can be fully addressed. For more advice read, Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury.

Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

divorce

Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

A divorce can be devastating. It’s one of those pains that you don’t really understand unless you’ve been through it. Not only does it cause tremendous upheaval in your life, it alters how you view yourself and romantic relationships. Some people swear off marriage wholeheartedly, while others jump into the next one as if their last had nothing to teach them. But most of us reflect on the state of marriage and relationships at this time. If a split is anything it’s a great teacher. Here are some things divorce teaches you about marriage. First, marriages are always different for those living them than how they are viewed from the outside. Sometimes when someone gets divorced, others are shocked, thinking they had the perfect marriage. Issues that seem reconcilable to some are end games to others. But some people somehow find a way to make it work. Everyone’s marriage is a bit messy, much like human life, though they may seem picture perfect from where you stand. If we could just break down the walls and talk about what marriage is really like, instead of putting on airs, perhaps we could make everyone’s better.

Another problem leading to divorce is a sexless marriage. Make time to be physical together. Statistics show that 20% of marriages today are sexless. But becoming physically intimate is a way for both people to bond. Being in a sexless marriage itself may be a big warning sign that things aren’t going well for one or both parties. Of course men tend to compartmentalize. With women, if things aren’t going well in the relationship, goings-on in the bedroom suffer. That’s because to a woman the emotional intimacy in the relationship is what’s most important. Though this may be important for a man, most men are more driven by libido. A failed marriage makes us look at other marriages in a new way. What are others really struggling with and how do they make it work? Communication is always crucial. But so is negotiation, not holding grudges, clearing the air and coming to a deep understanding of one another. We also need to accept the flaws in ourselves and our spouse for what they are. Recognition is one thing, acceptance another. One of the common causes of divorce is infidelity. Some people are shocked when they find that their husband or wife was cheating. A person may be an incredible breadwinner, an expert parent, a phenomenal homemaker and still have a spouse who cheats. The reason people go astray is they are trying to heal something wrong inside the relationship through outside means.

One of the problems with modern marriage that experts often point out is that we expect our spouse to take up all of the roles that traditionally an entire village provided. We want them to be our mentor, coach, partner, lover, confidante, best friend, co-parent and more. Find some of these needs outside your relationship if you can, and take some pressure off of your spouse. Spending some time with friends or close family members and becoming more well-rounded people by spending time at one’s favorite pursuits can help replenish each person and the marriage as well. But tenaciously clinging to one’s partner can bring the whole thing down. It’s best when both people are totally fulfilled, realized people who choose to go through life together. Marriage isn’t easy. But for most Americans, they see little alternative. We’ve been called serial monogamists and perhaps it still fits, at least if you are of a certain generation. Statistically, second marriages are less likely to last. Some say the third one is a charm. Be that as it may, don’t wallow in a failed marriage, learn from it and make your next relationship the romance of a lifetime. For more pick up a copy of, Learning From Divorce: How to Take Responsibility, Stop the Blame, and Move On by Robert LaCrosse and Christine A. Coates.

Red Flags with Dollar Signs on Them

Young couple worrying over finances

Red Flags with Dollar Signs on Them

Your spouse’s debt can really wreck you financial future. So much so that people are avoiding certain financial behaviors in others, and with good reason. Who wants to be weighed down by another’s irresponsibility? Here are some red flags with dollar signs on them; behaviors that let you know this person is bad with money. If the one you’re dating carries along some huge credit card debt and they aren’t making any headway on it, be afraid, be very afraid.

It’s not that you shouldn’t date someone with debt. Everyone in the modern world has some kind of debt to a certain extent. What is alarming is the lack of management. Everyone needs to manage their debt. A report by the National Marriage Project in 2009 concluded that debt destroys marriages. No matter what socio-economic class, race, or ethnicity, it’s debt that wipes out marriages. So hitching yourself to someone who has a lot of debt may be a recipe for an eventual divorce.

Do you know what makes the likelihood of divorce rise 45%? Thinking your spouse is spending too much. If you notice the person you are dating has horrific spending habits, they go for expensive trips, spa treatments, shopping sprees and other luxuries they can’t afford, to no abatement, put the brakes on that relationship. You’ll find the common account cleared out before the bills are due. Sometimes couples have different outlooks when it comes to money. One person tries to save as much as they can. The other feels that you can’t take it with you when you’re dead, why not spend it now? But these two vastly different attitudes will tear you apart if you aren’t careful. You have to manage it correctly. It takes a lot of talking, rule making, negotiating, and compromising.

If your lover is frequently receiving unemployment checks, beware. If they were unlucky, that is one thing. But if they keep finding and losing jobs, that’s another. If the latter is your sweetie’s case, kick them to the curb no matter how sweet they appear, unless you don’t mind supporting them. They may be immature, have a hard time getting along with others, or have commitment issues. Whatever the case, it doesn’t sound like good qualities to have in a relationship. For advice on improving you and your partner’s financial situation read, Debt-Proof Your Marriage: How to Achieve Financial Harmony by Mary Hunt.

Financial Signs that your Date has Long Term Potential

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Financial Signs that your Date has Long Term Potential

TD Ameritrade and website Learnvest.com recently conducted a survey and found that most couples fight about money on average around five times per year. Other studies have shown that money is one of the most contentious issues for couples. It’s always the biggest issue in survey after survey that couples have to contend with. When dating someone if you happen to get to know how they handle their money and other financial issues, their dealings in these matters can exhibit character qualities that they possess. Someone who pays all of their bills on time for instance is conscientious, detail-oriented and responsible, whereas if they are irresponsible with money, or a total spendthrift, these qualities may weigh heavily on your relationship, of course depending upon who you are and what your financial situation and spending habits are. Certainly trustworthiness, chemistry, shared values and love all should inhabit a relationship. These are good qualities to have, especially for a long term romantic relationship. So what other financial signs should you look out for in your date to see if they have long term potential?

Many experts agree that it’s good for both of you to share in the financial decisions. It’s important that a couple act as a team. If you aren’t cohabitating yet, does the person you’re dating ask your opinion on things or are they more independent? The TD Ameritrade and Learnvest study found that generally with married and cohabitating couples, one person pays the bills and writes the budget. Really both people should know how to do these things on their own, particularly with how high the divorce rate is. However, if your love interest asks your opinion and is very considerate, there is a high chance they will be easy to talk to and negotiate with when financial matters come up. Of course you shouldn’t bring up personal subjects like money, savings, investments, retirement plan and so on, on the first date. Not if you want a second date. But as things start to get serious these are important issues.

How comfortable is this person talking about money? When someone is paranoid or testy about the subject, it can put a real damper on the relationship. But if your lover is comfortable discussing matters and opinions on all things financial, this person is a keeper. Is this person financially stable? What is there debt situation like? There are lots of people who are forgoing marriage due to their hesitancy in taking on their lover’s debt. Everyone must decide what is right for them. But having a life partner who has their financial situation under control, and is able to discuss financial matters with you are good signs of a strong relationship with long term possibilities. For more financial advice read, Money before Marriage: A Financial Workbook for Engaged Couples by Larry Burkett.

Three Things you need for a Great Relationship

ROMANCE-NOVEL

Three Things you need for a Great Relationship

Just after the turn of the New Year we try to make a valiant effort on all the goals we’ve set for ourselves. Many times however, we end up in the same place in our career, with our personal goals and in our relationship. You don’t have to suffer a series of dead ends. For your love life, there are three things you need to make your relationship great, whether you’ve just started dating someone or have been together for a long time. If you want to invigorate your relationship, the first place to start is with yourself. That’s the easiest person to change. And a positive step forward for you will influence your significant other to do the same. The three elements that can reignite the spark or keep it alive are gratitude, acceptance and joy. Using these, you will walk ten feet above the ground, or at least it will appear that way. When you embrace these qualities you can forgive honestly, truly love yourself and take pleasure in the life surrounding you. Here are some ways to incorporate these traits into your love life.

Lots of times we find ourselves wholly unsatisfied with everything. This is when we start to complain. Instead of doing so, find the things you can be grateful for. Count your blessings. Instead of focusing on the habits of your partner that drive you crazy, counter each of those thoughts with a positive quality that makes you crazy about them. Then weigh the two and ask yourself, “Is s/he really that bad?” Next, become a better listener. When we find ourselves complaining or annoyed, we should still our mind and look deeper. We are irritable when something else is bothering us, something we are ignoring or in denial about. Listen to your inner voice and find out what the problem is. Then take steps to solve it. But don’t end there. Listen to your partner. Open up lines of communication. Find different ways of interacting to break out of negative patterns. Say how you feel rather than blaming, complaining or shaming, and have your partner do the same. Don’t make them go through a guessing game, let them know directly what the real problem is, and work it out together. But that can only happen once you’ve gotten in touch with the voice within.

Another important aspect is finding acceptance. A lot of times when we feel bad about ourselves, we lash out at others, particularly at our partner. Not only is this unfair it makes matters worse. Be more compassionate. But the best compassion is first offered to one’s self, before it is extended to others. If we are down on ourselves, there is no way we can see the positive in those around us. When all we see is negative that is all we receive. But if you are positive in your interaction with your partner they will be nicer and happier as a result, communication will be better, problems will be more easily solved and the relationship will develop into a deep and loving one. Embrace gratitude. When you are really down, think of the things you are happy for, especially in your S.O. Some problems in a relationship recur. The couple can never seem to get past them. Just come to an understanding. How much should be spent and saved each month, how to discipline the children and when to spend time with in-laws may seem like insurmountable problems. But couples for time immemorial have muddled through. You will, too. These problems don’t have to sink your entire relationship. If something can’t be solved now, couch it until a pre-appointed time and then negotiate. Don’t strive for perfection, only the perfect version of you. Overall, it pays to use this momentum you feel in the New Year to reenergize yourself and your relationship. With these tips you should have all you need to reach your relationship goals. Want some more help? Read, Gaining a Fresh Perspective: Seeing Relationships through New Eyes by Charles R. Swindoll.