Tag Archives: communication skills

Top 15 Reasons Romantic Partners Fight

The following list from Science of Relationships shows the top sources of conflict in order of the most common themes. Only about 100 people were surveyed for the results, so it’s not a large sampling. However, I found several things interesting. For instance, being overly self-absorbed about your appearance causes more conflict than being disheveled in your appearance.  And being condescending is number one on the list, something you would think most romantic partners would be above. I was also surprised that being jealous, possessive or dependent ranked so high on the list at number two. Read the rest of the 15 hot-button conflict issues for couples here.

Keep in mind that the degree of conflict can vary greatly on the list. For example, not factoring in your partner’s feelings is a much smaller slight than being sexually aggressive or forceful. As you read the list, think about whether there are any areas in which you have been guilty or less than loving. If so, ask yourself what the underlying reasons for your behavior might be and how you can change and improve. Then, go to your spouse and ask for forgiveness along with sharing your decision to improve that behavior. Ask for their input. If your spouse needs some time to think about your actions before discussing it or forgiving you, try not to be defensive. Sometimes it takes longer to get over slights and emotional wounds than you think. Often, your loving actions will speak louder than your promises to do better.

I don’t advise you to use the list to point out all the ways in which your partner could be a better spouse. The most effective way to improve your relationship is to focus on what you can control–your own actions and responses. Be the spouse you would like to have. Act with love and respect. Even in cases where your spouse is in the wrong, you can address the situation in a loving manner and stand up for yourself. That means loving and respecting yourself, too.  

Do you feel as if you have good conflict management skills, or that conversations quickly turn into arguments, which get heated and don’t usually get resolved? Remember that conflict management and communication are easily learned skills that are taught both online and with skills trainers at retreats or with coaches/counselors. If conflict is bringing your relationship down, invest in learning these skills. One inexpensive place to learn relationship skills online while retaining your privacy and using as much or little time as you wish is PO2.com, or Power of Two Marriage. (I don’t receive any compensation for mentioning them, I merely think they offer an innovative service.) The organization provides entertaining videos and tips to help you practice and improve various skills.

Which areas of conflict are most frequent for you?  I noticed many of the commonly mentioned topics are not on the list, such as financial conflict and conflict having to do with extended family or friends. I was also surprised that chores/childcare/division of labor wasn’t on the list. Are these biggies for you?

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available  at Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com.

Photo by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

Is “Good Fighting” Beneficial to Marriage?

Many couples fear that frequent arguing can signal their relationship’s demise. It may be the type of arguing you do, not the frequency, that determines your fate.

Do couples that fight actually have an edge? A 2012 study found that 44 percent of married couples believe that fighting more than once a week helps keep the lines of communication open.

William Doherty, professor in the University of Minnesota’s department of family social science says although this study was done in India, it reinforces similar U.S. studies. He warns, however, that only “good fighting” can be helpful, and that “bad fighting” can be destructive.

A “good fight” would be a discussion or conflict with a soft start-up rather than a hard start-up. For example, a soft start-up may begin, “I’m feeling very overwhelmed and could really use some help.” On the other hand, a hard start-up may begin, “Why am I the only one who ever does any housework around here?”

Here are a few other tips from Doherty on “good fighting”:

  1. Dealing with an issue can be better than ignoring it, especially if resentment is building.
  2. Focus only on the topic at hand; don’t bring up old issues.
  3. Don’t bring in third parties or their opinions.
  4. Don’t compare your spouse to someone else.
  5. Don’t use “you always/never”.
  6. Remember to RESPECT one another.
  7. Apologize when it’s warranted. This shows you value the relationship.

You can check out the source article at the Chicago Tribune: Couples who argue together stay together.

Check out Lori Lowe’s book, First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage,  at Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com

Photo by Photostock courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

5 Marriage Skills That Can Also Help in the Workplace

The following is a guest post by Naomi Grunditz with Power of Two, an online marriage education program that teaches the skills couples need to have a healthy, loving, and joyous partnership.

After working with the PO2 curriculum and watching how my coworkers interact using the skills we teach, I’ve realized that marriage counseling doesn’t just teach you how to save a marriage, it’s useful for your interactions in all sorts of relationships, including business. That’s because running a business is a bit like running a family, but with more people. Here are the top five marriage skills we teach at Power of Two that can really help you succeed in the workplace:

1. Just Say It. No matter how well you know someone, it’s safe to conclude that they cannot read your mind. If you want to improve communication in marriage, we recommend you just say it instead of insinuating and hoping your spouse will pick up on your hints. Same goes for the office. Confused about something? Just ask! Think you deserve a raise? Say it! Be clear and concise (but tactful) about what you want and feel.

2. Use “I” statements. Power of Two teaches that while a marriage is the blending of two people, you still remain your own unique individual. Avoid invading your spouse’s space by telling him or her what to do or feel. Instead, talk about yourself and what you want, especially when you disagree (avoid “you…”). Using this skill in the office will help avoid confrontation and arguments.

3. Delete “But.” Using “but” deletes what the other person just said. This automatically sets you up for opposition. Instead, first look for what is right or useful about your partner’s statement. Then add to it by using “yes, and at the same time…” This makes room for both of your opinions and will lead to better decision-making.

4. Exit and re-enter. When an argument starts heating up, sometimes you can get so angry that it’s hard to communicate. At this point, all angry parties should exit the conversation. Take a walk, get a non-caffeinated drink, stretch. Then come back and start negotiating again. Good business is conducted when all involved are relaxed, calm and comfortable (provide food and water at meetings!).

5. Clean up thoroughly after upsets. Even with the best communication skills, there are bound to be a few upsets once and a while. When this happens, never, ever, just ignore it and move on. First, both parties should state what they regret and admit their part in the problem. Then, analyze what went wrong and what can be done differently in the future. End with a solid double apology. This will help you maintain an open and friendly work environment and move towards more constructive solutions in the future.

So why not try using the Power of Two marriage skills outside the home? Next time your boss bugs you about that report for the 10 billionth time, cool down with emotion regulation, then use some “I” statements to state your concerns and improve your professional relationship. I just wouldn’t give him a kiss and a squeeze to make things all better … not everything that works with your spouse will work in the office!

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com

Make Your Own Marriage Retreat for Two

Are you interested in a marriage retreat, but either don’t want to spend the money or don’t have childcare or a whole weekend available? Power of Two has an interesting way to accomplish the same objective in a way that even busy couples on a tight budget can manage.

I introduced you to Power of Two (PO2) here; the organization provides online marriage skills training for members at a cost of $18 per month. The staff offers individualized assessments, marriage articles and fun videos in a way that is neutral (doesn’t favor one spouse), entertaining and low cost.

Abigail Hirsch, PhD, a psychologist with PO2, says some of her clients told her they had created a “make your own” marriage retreat. Here’s how:

  • Schedule an evening out with your mate at a local coffee shop (e.g. Panera/Starbucks) or anywhere that has free Wi-Fi. Ideally you would schedule time once a week for 6 weeks.
  • Schedule a sitter or swap with other friends who have children.
  • On your scheduled night, bring your lap top, and spend about 20-30 minutes watching entertaining videos or doing a marriage tip from Power of Two. Chat about it, maybe practice a new skill, then have some dinner.  Enjoy the rest of your evening together.

If you follow this timeline, you will have accomplished six hours of marriage skills training in a relaxed manner with minimal expense. It might be enough to motivate me to schedule those date nights instead of relegating them to the not-so-important list of things to do.

Dr. Hirsch says an added benefit to ongoing training is that couples are more likely to maintain positive skills in marriage with regular practice and ongoing maintenance than they are with a rare weekend retreat.  Of course, both can be beneficial.

You have a few more days to quality for one of two free lifetime memberships to Power of Two! Make a comment on last week’s post, or send me a private message (see my contact page) to qualify for the drawing.

Have you ever attended a weekend retreat? If so what was your experience? Would you be open to this kind of training experience with just the two of you and your computer? What do you think of the idea to create your own weekly mini-retreat?

Photo Credit: ©Andrey Kiselev/PhotoXpress.com