How Can You Handle a Disagreement in a Productive Manner?

Couple in a disagreement

Here’s a scenario. You and your spouse are having a disagreement. Each of you has a different idea about the issue of contention. How can you get past the frustration and handle this disagreement in a productive manner?

First, you need to decide what “handle this disagreement in a productive manner” means to each of you. Then, that will guide you towards an end-goal during your discussion. The interpretation of that phrase is what leads you down one road or another and towards a goal. It’s as if you’re at a fork in the road. One road leads to more arguments, anger, and perhaps even insults and verbal abuse. Yet, another road leads to keeping the peace, continued happiness with your partner and keeping a happy home.

As an illustration, consider that making the decision to turn onto one road is when you decide what goal you prefer to follow. Then, driving the car down that road equates to the steps you take with what you think, say, and do during the next few minutes or hours with your partner so you can get yourself down the road you choose and to your end-goal there.

Let’s explore two very different types of interpretations of “to handle this disagreement in a productive manner.” Keep in mind that there can be other interpretations and if so, the person will be led down an even different road as they attempt to realize that different goal. For this discussion, we will focus on one interpretation which generally leads the couple into a worse conflict and another which generally leads to a calmer conversation.

The Fighting Road

If one of you interprets the phrase “to handle this disagreement in a productive manner” as meaning “I will get what I want” (because what I think is the best way and so of course it’s the most productive way to handle the disagreement) and your partner interprets that phrase similarly (so they think their idea is better and they will also fight tooth and nail to get it), then the two of you will be locked into an escalating fight where the goal is to control and win (what only one person wants). In this case, each person has as their end-goal “to win with my idea.” Unfortunately, this road typically leads to a worse conflict where neither truly “win” because of what they also “lose” (the trust, respect, good feelings from their spouse).

If you choose to think and act like that couple, then you and/or your partner might be:

1. Intimidating the other by yelling louder or interrupting them so they can’t even put forth anymore of their thoughts

2. Insulting the other so they will buckle and accept your idea instead

3. Trying different tactics to “prove” your idea is superior to your partner’s idea, or that your partner’s idea is “stupid” whereas yours makes the most sense

4. Refusing to talk with each other anymore while harboring resentment, being angry with each other, and with no resolution in sight

The Power Couple Road

On the hand, if you are part of a couple where you each decide to interpret the phrase “to handle the disagreement in a productive manner” to mean “we will agree to some solution to resolve the current issue, if possible, but the main goal is always to maintain the well-being of our relationship and stay respectful, loving, and happy together” then you will not be locked in a fight where the goal is to control and win what only one wants. In this case, your partner’s happiness, ideas, and feelings are a top priority and you want to maintain a happy home. So you and your partner go down a road where each is saying and doing things towards that end-goal by calming the situation and winning by gaining ongoing good feelings towards each other in a respectful and loving relationship.

If you choose to think and act like that couple, then you and/or your partner might be:

1. Thinking of more alternatives: discussing more ideas until you both agree to one, even though the “solution” you decide on may be one that neither of you originally proposed- however, you are both “satisfied enough”

2. Standing down- letting your partner get their choice instead so you both stop arguing and continue happy together rather than angry with each other

3. Supporting your partner’s feelings even though you don’t agree with their proposed solution (example: partner is fed up with kids that day and proposes selling them online – instead of yelling that your partner is stupid for thinking that way, you give your partner a hug, say you’re sorry they had such a hard day with the kids, you know the kids can be extra challenging some days, and ask what can you do or both of you do now to help alleviate your spouses’ distress)

4. Agreeing to have different ideas: tabling the discussion because “it’s not worth it” (it’s not worth hurting each other over this issue) and you decide you each can just continue thinking differently about this and still get along fine- OR- temporarily stopping the discussion by mutual agreement so each of you has time to calm down and/or to think of more ideas for more discussion at another time

5. bargaining or negotiating such that you or your partner get what one wants now but only by also making the other one happy by giving them something in exchange now or in the future, and both of you are satisfied with the deal

This second scenario of resolving a disagreement in a productive manner is one that generally leads a couple down the road to having a stronger, respectful, and happier relationship. With such a couple, they both do all they can to make choices in what they say and do to keep the closeness and happiness they feel in their relationship as their first priority, even when they (at least initially) disagree.

Ultimately, though, this couple chooses to agree on one very important thing. They agree to put the topic of disagreement in the background (as less important) and to put their relationship first.

Communicating with Your Partner: Response or Reaction?

CommunicationSometimes, it can be difficult to get your points across to your partner. This is especially true if you are both having a discussion where you both have very strong opinions. Communicating with your partner is often a challenge since you are both individuals with unique thoughts and ideas, so will need to listen to what they have to say if you want to identify what is important to your partner.

Reacting

If you have a strong urge to speak, disagree, explain yourself, etc. you are reacting to the dialogue between you (or the situation). Take a moment to calm yourself by taking a few deep breaths and do your best to focus on what your partner is saying. Listening to their perspective is very important since it allows you both to gain a deeper understanding of each other. The goal is to be two individuals on equal ground that are sharing and speaking to each other in a way where both perspectives can be appreciated and respected. When couples react rather than respond, conversations tend to be cut short and are often less productive.

Response

Allowing your partner to speak is an aspect of personal and relationship respect. In healthy relationships, couples are respectful of each other’s thoughts, perspectives and desires. If something is bothering one of them, the other will do their best to improve the situation. By waiting your turn to respond to the problem, you are giving yourself the opportunity to switch from a reactionary response to a more respectful, and more appropriate one. After listening to your partner, you should state a summary of the obvious points that were made so that you know where to begin. Stay focused on what your partner has said and genuinely ask questions that can help you understand your significant other’s feelings. For example, you could ask: “How long have you been angry with me about this?” or “What first made you feel this way?”

It can be very hard to switch from a reaction to a response, however, it is worth the effort. After all, communication is a critical component of successful and happy couples. Next time that you feel an argument coming, do your best to listen and formulate an appropriate response that will allow you to better understand your partner.

Marriage Advice To Live By

Couple kayaking

Whether you are a soon-to-be or newlywed couple, there are some things you should never forget as you continue on your romantic journey together. Here are a few pieces of marriage advice that we hope you will strive to live by.

1. Always remember that you’re on the same team

When you choose to be married, you are choosing your lifelong teammate. You are both working towards the same goal, a happy and healthy marriage. When conflicts surface, focus on finding a peaceful solution rather than encouraging opposition.

2. Find balance

While dedicating time with your significant other is important, it is also good to maintain your own interests. Spend some time occasionally with your friends or volunteer for a non-profit. Don’t forgo your passions for the sake of your significant other, after all, they likely have their own things that they would enjoy doing. Support each other in your endeavors– doing so will strengthen your relationship and give you more things to talk about later on!

3. Find common hobbies

More likely than not, you have probably realized that there are some things that your significant other doesn’t enjoy doing (whereas you do). It can sometimes be disheartening to discover that some activities that you are passionate about aren’t met with the same enthusiasm from your partner. But discovery can lead to excitement. Spend some time to discover activities that you can both enjoy, it is very rewarding when you find a common interest and it allows you to do something different from the normal routine together.

4. Play & Date

Have fun! After a while, a regular routine will get established. Keep the romance alive (who said it has to end when you get married?) by setting aside some time to enjoy each other’s company. Enjoy a movie, a nice dinner, a round of mini-golf, or something else entirely. In fact, you could choose to watch a favorite tv show together on your couch. Either way, quality time spent together is the ultimate goal.

Planning to get married and want to power up your relationship to the max? Enroll in our highly-rated online premarital preparation course here: http://FLPremaritalCourse.com 

Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

Couple Arguing

 

Relationships are full of emotions. We often think of these as happiness, joy, and excitement. In fact, with how many emotions you may experience, it’s no surprise that there are negative emotions that will appear as well. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t properly handle a negative emotion and ultimately convert it to a positive one! One of the most destructive emotions is anger — simply because it is such an easily misunderstood emotion. Many couples don’t express their anger in a constructive way, which leads to it being a hurtful experience.

Recognizing Your Emotions

When anger is expressed in a way where one partner takes it too personally or begins to feel alienated, it can have a toxic effect on the relationship as a whole. But it’s important to realize that each person has their own perceived reality, and while you may feel strongly about a situation, the other person may not feel exactly the same. With that in mind, you must take responsibility for your emotions– it isn’t bad to have them, but you should understand them. Make an effort to figure out how to handle the feeling in a way where you can satisfactorily address the problem with your partner. This is critical for communication!

“It’s not about me.”

As you come to the understanding that our emotions are a response to our own thoughts, beliefs, and other stimuli, try to be more mindful in situations when your partner is angry. While the emotions may have been brought up by something that you’ve done, they are telling you about themself. It isn’t completely about you. With that in mind, listen respectfully to what your partner has to say about the situation. It can be extremely difficult to listen without interrupting, especially in situations where you feel blamed. However, you should keep in mind that this is a form of intimacy. But instead of getting defensive, you should encourage yourself to feel curious. Ask yourself: why do they feel this way?

When you start asking yourself these questions, you place your focus on the real issue and opportunity. Not only do you get to learn more about your partner, you can understand how the things you do impact them. Conflicts are hard to handle, but by being a respectful and caring listener, you can peacefully diffuse and resolve problems.

Tips to Remember:

  • Ask questions that help you understand why they feel the way they do
  • Do not get defensive
  • Encourage curiosity between each other

Discover more tips for marriage and relationship success by taking our fun, online Florida premarital course.

Happy National Proposal Day and First Day of Spring

romanticproposal

Each year on the first day of Spring is also National Proposal Day! This year it falls on March 20, 2015. Marriage proposals are great fun and a sentimental moment for the happy couple- and also for their family and friends. Apparently National Proposal Day was created to help designate a day to help couples go ahead, take the plunge and get engaged.

Here are some ideas for starting to hone in on how you want to propose to your loved one:

1. Think of a shared activity you both really enjoy and incorporate proposal during the next time you do that shared activity

2. Decide on a feeling reaction you want to create with your loved one. If your other half has a good sense of humor, you can think of a funny situation within to propose marriage. If your partner is very adventurous and thrives on a feeling of exhileration and danger, you can schedule some extreme new adventure and propose then! If your partner is very sentimental and romantic you may want to create a marriage proposal with words and images that will put them over the top with sentimental feelings.

3. Consider if you want the marriage proposal to be a private or a social event. If your partner is very outgoing and social (and if you’re quite sure of their answer) you might consider crafting a marriage proposal in the company of family and/or friends. If your partner is a more private person or less outgoing though, they’ll probably prefer a more private marriage proposal experience.

Here is a series of fun videos of some memorable marriage proposals you’re sure to laugh and cry along with. A marriage proposal can be very simple and traditional, or quite surprising or extreme. One of the videos begins with scaring the woman that an airplane flight they were on together could be in trouble! We would say that one is one of the more extreme type of marriage proposal situations (and kudos to the gal who was a good sport!)

So enjoy! Maybe one of these videos will inspire you, your partner, or one of your friends to propose marriage today (or real soon)!

http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/20/its-proposal-day-here-are-8-guys-who-planned-picture-perfect-proposals/

 

Tips to Make a Long-Distance Marriage Work

Long-distance distance marriage video chatting

With our increased ability to communicate with people across the world along with economic issues, couples have more career choices and work location possibilities than ever before. While this can be exciting, it poses as an incredible challenge for couples trying to make a long-distance marriage work. It is important to realize though, that living apart can work for some couples as long they both are committed and use excellent communication skills.

Challenges:

Couples that live together are more aware of each other’s goals and intentions. This is primarily because things are shared on a day-to-day basis. Living apart makes it difficult to remain aware of changes that could occur, which can become a source of conflict. Couples living apart are more prone to experience increased jealousy or difficulty with their commitment, however, this is less of a problem if each individual is aware of their individual needs and voices them clearly.

Couples that are considering living apart should:

1. Have a discussion about why living apart is beneficial. While it is a tough situation, it can work if both partners strive to make it succeed. However, living apart is not a solution for getting away from the other… in this case, it is an unhealthy escape.

2. Make a plan to account for the details. This might be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to know who will be responsible for financial chores, homekeeping, and other tasks.

3. Check in with your partner frequently. It’s important to understand if the arrangement is working for both of you. After all, in marriage, you are  a team. Maintaining relationship morale is important in order to endure tough situations like this. Similarly, if you have children, you should set aside some time every day to talk to them. Daily check-in’s with your spouse and children are important for maintaining a strong, healthy relationship when you are separated by distance.

4. Set up a time for “big picture” meetings. During this time, you can address the progress towards accomplishing the ultimate goal that provided the reason for living apart. For example, moving for a position in order to save money and move your family to another state or country. Living apart is most successful when both partners understand that the situation won’t last forever.

Long Distance Marriages Are Not Easy

If you or your spouse have difficulty trusting one another, are afraid of being alone, have never been without a close physical relationship or have health conditions that require close observation and care, living apart may not be an appropriate option to consider. Rather, it should only be an option for couples that are in a solid marriage where the financial health of your partnership will significantly improve and both individuals are comfortable with the means of communication that are available. While long distance marriages aren’t easy, they can work. In fact, they can make a couple stronger in the long run since it takes a lot of care, attention, dedication and love to make a long distance relationship work. Just remember: regardless of where your relationship is, communication is critical.

Want more tips to make your marriage strong? Take our engaging online course before you marry (or even afterwards!) at FLPremaritalCourse.com

Marriage Poem: I Promise

Are you looking for wedding vows ideas or for a marriage poem that could be suitable as a reading for your wedding ceremony? If so, here is a heartfelt poem, ‘I Promise’ by Dorothy R. Colgan, which might fit your … Continue reading 

The Honeymoon Phase is Over… What Now?

couple holding handsPeople always hear about the honeymoon phase in a relationship, where the relationship itself changes into something else. That something else shouldn’t be mistaken for something negative; it’s a time when you’re both comfortable with each other and it’s a sort of stable routine. The tension, the nervous excitement is gone and now you’re spending time with your soulmate knowing who they are and how you both fit into each other’s life.

But what should you be thinking about after you pass that phase?

After the honeymoon phase, the idealizations and projections of the perfect partner fall away and you see your partner for the real person they are. At this time, infatuation changes into commitment. The post-honeymoon stage of a relationship is a vital growing phase in a relationship, where you begin to notice habits, dislikes and likes, and other things that you’ve never noticed of your partner before. It can be a tough time, which is why, unfortunately, some relationships don’t last past the honeymoon stage. But, with due diligence in learning about your partner and making an effort to be mindful that they might be noticing new things about you too, this time can bring you closer than ever before.

Keeping the romance alive

It’s important to remember that relationships are work; you can’t just expect them to succeed without putting in some effort. But it is possible to keep romance alive, at any stage of your relationship. It’s easy to desire excitement, but feelings of stability, mature love and deep attachment are vital for successful relationships. And, as Anne Hathaway says, “mellow doesn’t always make for a good story, but it makes for a good life”. Couples that make conscious efforts to stay connected, do things together and mix up their normal routine can still enjoy the excitement that they adored from their relationship early on.

Discover more tips for marriage and relationship success by taking our fun, online Florida premarital course.

How Apologizing Can Go Wrong

How apologizing can go wrong

Sometimes it can seem like your good intentions backfire.

Whether it was a miscommunication or an unneccessary argument, sincere appologies are important for opening communication and moving past a problem. But why is it that sometimes, when you apologize, things just seem to get worse?

Even if we have the intention to admit we’ve done something wrong, it can be easy to throw in an additional phrase that will put your partner on the defense. These acusatory phrases are a means to shift the blame. Here is an example of how apologizing can go wrong. Which would you prefer to hear if your partner was apologizing to you and you were feeling hurt? “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have reacted like that. It was inappropriate.” OR “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have reacted like that… but if you had just listened to me…”

Apologies are stand-alone statements where we take responsibility for our actions and ask for forgiveness. Shifting blame is an attempt to apologize where you claim that the actions you made were someone else’s or something else’s fault. In doing so, we’re not really taking responsibility for our words and actions. So, the next time you want to do a heartfelt apology, don’t let it turn into the blame game. When you start blaming your partner for your actions, it’s no longer about recognizing that you’ve done something wrong and hurtful, but rather, it becomes about attacking and hurting your partner further. Remember, when you blame your partner for your actions, it’s more difficult for them to forgive you and move past the situation.

How can you avoid shifting blame?

First of all, it’s important to understand that blame-shifting is often done in an attempt to protect ourselves and our image. Nobody wants to be at fault for a mistake. But we need to also recognize that blame-shifting can be detrimental to relationships, both in our personal lives and our professional lives. If you’re apologizing for something, avoid using the word “but” at the end of an apology and don’t bring up the actions of someone else. These tips will help keep you on track to accomplish your end goal.

If you have a problem, you’re going to want to talk about it. But doing so should be done in a way where both individuals feel comfortable. Starting the conversation with an apology and following it up with something your partner did that really bothered you isn’t the way to begin a healthy, open dialogue. Starting with “I feel…” is a better option, but remember that your attitude, inflection and word choices are significant when it comes to having a worthwhile discussion.

Discover more great tips that will help you achieve a successful, long-lasting and fulfilling marriage by taking Envision Love’s fun, online marriage preparation course. Taking the premarital course will allow you to receive a discount on your Florida marriage license and skip the 3-day marriage license waiting period.

Same-Sex Marriage in Florida

How apologizing can go wrong

As of 12:01 AM on Tuesday Jan. 6, same-sex marriage in Florida will be legal.

Beginning as soon as January 6, 2015 same-sex couples can be issued marriage licenses for the first time in Florida. Months ago, federal district court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that disallowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. On Janurary 1, 2015, he confirmed that his same-sex marriage ruling applies to all 67 Florida counties, and therefore all counties should be issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses.

Since views about same-sex marriage in the county clerks of court is a combination between personal conviction as well as logistics, it has made some counties evaluate whether they want to continue to offer marriage ceremonies. At this time, a handful of counties have chosen to only issue marriage licenses and eliminate courthouse ceremonies. Duval, Clay and Baker counties have discountinued courthouse marriage ceremonies, indicating that although the changing situation with same-sex marriage was involved in their decision, there were other factors involved in the decision. Since some clerks may feel it goes against their personal beliefs to perform these ceremonies, some counties will allow clerks to individually decline performing a ceremony if they feel uncomfortable. For instance, in Putnam county, clerks can decline to perform marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples, but nobody has indicated that they would decline to perform such a ceremony at this time. However, the legal counsel for the county clerks of court advises the clerks to follow the judge’s ruling or face possible consequences. Pam Bondi, who has fought against same-sex marriage has indicated that her office will not intervene further in the matter. Her statement, along with the Judge’s clarification of his ruling eliminates the possibility of further delaying same-sex couples from being issued marriage licenses.

Regardless of whether you are a same-sex couple or not, taking an approved premarital course will allow you to skip the 3-day waiting period and receive a discount of $32.50 off of your marriage license.