Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Rules

Disagreements in relationships are normal. Life would be boring if we were all the same and agreed on everything. There would be no growth... no challenges... we would learn nothing from our interactions with one another.

Fighting... when partners follow the rules... can be productive when it's used to clear the air and settle a disagreement that is highly charged. It isn't the best way to communicate, but happens even in the best of relationships and at times is a necessary form of settling disputes... so long as partners follow the rules.


No name calling
Stick to the subject
No bringing up past mistakes
No screaming or yelling
No disparaging remarks
No involving other parties (so and so said this or that...)
If tempers flare, take a time out and return when both parties are cool headed and centered, ready to talk

This may sound impossible...or at the very least incredibly difficult to do but it's not. It's a decision to treat your partner with the same dignity and grace... even when you're angry... that you would offer to a stranger you met in church. When partners agree to follow these rules and make it a habit... many things that should never be said... aren't. And that saves both parties a whole lot of hurt feelings and resentments.

Remember... it only gets hard to follow these rules when we are overwhelmed and out of control. If we practice self care and don't take on responsibilities that aren't ours to begin with, we will feel balanced and centered rather than used and unappreciated.

If we are feeling a great deal of resentment and anger toward our partner we may need to first do some journaling and clarify exactly what is bothering us. We then sit down with our partner when we are calm and share our feelings in a non-threatening way using "I" statements (ie: I feel ___ when you ___) instead of "you" statements (You always... you never) which communicate blame rather than feelings and put our partner on the defensive.

Learning appropriate communication isn't easy... it's a habit that needs to be repeated over and over to become a part of us... but it's so worth it. Our relationships improve dramatically when we learn to communicate in a non-threatening way. We invite our partner to share with us when we listen twice as much as we talk... thereby giving our partner a chance to share their feelings with us as well. These small changes communicate that we value our partner as equal human beings and that they are important to us.

Some of us may have learned that total honesty in a relationship included saying whatever came into our heads when we are angry or upset. This couldn't be farther from the truth. We must learn to use discernment to evaluate whether what we are feeling is accurate or not... whether what we are upset about is important in the grand scheme of things... or not... and choose our words wisely. We must remember that we are talking to someone who is our most valued and trusted friend... our best friend... and our words and actions should reflect that fact.

Always keep your words soft and sweet in case you have to eat them later.

1 comment:

  1. This is right definition for marriage couple's life.Really Life would be boring if we were all the same and agreed on everything. So for change your post is perfect for them who want to be some changes in their marriage life.Thanks Counseling Service Blog.