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Marriage Counseling: How to Reduce Hurt Feelings When You and Your Spouse Disagree
One of the biggest on-going problems for couples is how to reduce the hurt feelings that can result from arguments and disagreements. The fall-out from a no-holds barred "kill your opponent" verbal altercation can last for decades.
I have worked with numerous couples in marriage counseling who have struggled with forgiving each other for damaging words they have said during a fight. Many times, the fallout from an argument or shouting match is left to accumulate like toxic dust on the relationship, with each ensuing episode adding another layer. Eventually, the residue interferes with every component of the marriage as resentment and unaddressed issues build up.
The words you say and the tone of voice you use during an argument are important. So is the way you deliver your message (screaming and hollering, for example) and any non-verbal gestures you use (shaking your finger in your partner's face). If you make fun of your spouse and show disrespect for him, you are hurting the chances for real communication between you.
The same is true if you make threatening gestures and try to intimidate your spouse with your anger. Honest, healthy communication requires a feeling of safety from attack. A spouse who is afraid her partner will make fun of her ideas or feelings, either at the time or later during an argument, isn't going to share what she is really thinking or feeling.
So how can you and your spouse create an atmosphere of safety and protection so that you can each express your real feelings and thoughts? And how can you disagree so that you don't permanently damage your marriage?
You can take action and ask your spouse if the two of you can work together to develop a list of fair fighting rules that you both agree to abide by. Here are some guidelines often used in marriage counseling sessions for you to consider:
1. Even when you're in the white heat of anger, think about the possible damage that you could do if you let your anger out unrestrained. The challenge is for each of you to express yourself without damaging the fabric of your relationship. The fabric of the relationship has to be protected. There's no place in a healthy marriage for a partner who wants to win an argument at all costs, no matter what he or she has to say or do to "win." The same goes for a partner who wants to "win" by hurting the spouse as much as possible.
2. Emphasize showing respect for each other, even if you can't figure out how your spouse could possibly feel the way he or she does. You don't have to understand it and you don't have to agree-you just have to respect your spouse's right to have differing ideas and opinions.
3. Ban name-calling, cursing, belittling, sarcasm, mockery, screaming, and pushing, slapping, or other physical or emotional abuse. These actions will only cause division and hard feelings between you and will harm your relationship. They will not help you to find constructive ways to settle your differences.
4. Avoid using words such as "always" and "never," such as "You're always late. You're never on time for anything. I'm sick and tired of always waiting for you." The words "always" and "never" are examples of over-generalizing, and they close communication doors instead of opening them. They also divert the discussion from the real issues and turn the focus onto whether or not the other person can come up with an example of a time when he or she wasn't late but the partner was.
5. Keep the discussion limited to the issue at hand. Many relationships have an informal "historian" who can recount every mistake the other spouse has ever made. When this happens, the discussion is diverted from the present issue to an argument about what did or didn't happen in the past, which greatly reduces the odds that the present disagreement will be resolved. Stick with current events instead of revisiting past history that can't be changed.
6. Listen to each other and let each person speak his or her mind. This can be difficult to do when you're frustrated, impatient, and agitated. But until you have heard each other out, you don't have all the information you need to try to reach a respectful compromise.
7. Take a break from the discussion when it gets too emotional or "heavy." Go to the bathroom, step outside on the deck, or do some deep breathing exercises to help relieve the stress. Let yourself cool down and give yourself a chance to regroup before continuing the discussion.
8. Apologize immediately when you slip and say something that might hurt your spouse's feelings. Say, "I didn't mean that. I'm sorry. I didn't mean for that to come out sounding like that. Please forgive me. Let me try again."
9. Look for a "win-win" compromise resolution. Some issues are more important to one spouse than the other, and it builds up good will to go with your partner's views when it doesn't really matter as much to you.
If your spouse wants you to record the checks you write in a certain way so that it'll be easier for him or her to handle the bill-paying, it probably makes sense to go along with it, even if it's not the way you'd do it. That will build up good will so that the next time you have a differing opinion about something that's really important to you, you'll have a better chance of acquiring support from your spouse.
10. If the subject is too emotional for you and your spouse to resolve between you, then consider enlisting the help of a professional counselor to serve as mediator. It may only take two to three sessions to clear the air, generate some new options, and make a decision. And the best part is that by using a counselor to help you work out an acceptable compromise, you avoid the long-term strain and emotional drain that could damage your marriage for years.
Until you and your spouse can discuss emotional issues and have differing opinions without being disrespectful to each other, it will be impossible to tackle the really crucial issues in your marriage with any lasting success. Without mutual respect and the assurance that you won't be ridiculed, you will both be reluctant to express your true feelings and show vulnerability.
Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D., is co-author of the book Keep Your Marriage: What to Do When Your Spouse Says "I don't love you anymore!" This is available at http://www.KeepYourMarriage.com, where you can also sign up for the free Keep Your Marriage Internet Magazine to get weekly ideas and support for improving your marriage.
Invitation Anatomy 101 - Optional Components - Part 2 of 3
Hopefully, you've read my prerequisite lesson "Invitation Anatomy 101 ? Typical Components". If not, I would highly recommend reviewing that article first. Now that you've been introduced to the main components of the most common invitation style/format, have a read of some of the Additional or Optional items you may want to add to your invitation.
A Tale of Two Weddings
In the next six months, my son, daughter, andgrandson are all getting married. Our family isspread across Ontario and the United States, so I'm thankful to be living in the computergeneration. Wedding plans without theadvantage of the Internet and email wouldbe a long, difficult process.To get my point across, let's visit the homesof Miss Modern and Miss Pre-Computer asthey prepare for their special days:Miss Modern has an idea of the venue shewould like for her wedding and spends anevening researching on the Internet. Shelooks at pictures of different halls, alongwith prices, menus, and featuresincluded. After deciding on threepossibilities, she emails to ask if they would be available on the wedding date.One hall is booked, so Miss M. and herfiance will go to see both halls and makea final decision. Communication and menu changes are done by email. Miss M. designs a database for her guestlist. Additions and changes are easily made.Invitations are created using specialwedding software and elegant blank cards.Easy, attractive and inexpensive.Again using the database and a signaturefont, Miss M. creates mailing labels (usingtransparent labels) for 200 people in lessthan an hour. To create personalized reply cards, she uses mail merge and the computerinserts names on each card.A relative in another country would likephotos of the couple for a special weddinggift. Using a digital camera, the photosare taken and emailed in plenty of timefor the gift to be made. There are constant questions from theguests about accommodation nearby, whatis everyone wearing, what do the young couple need? Emails answer many of the questions and guests are given a website for the bridal registry. Items still needed are listed here, can be purchased without leaving home and will be delivered to thereception. This is a big help to peoplecoming from a distance.Miss Modern relaxes while she and herfuture husband look at honeymoon spots- on the Internet of course! Miss Pre- Computer, on the other hand,has had a headache for days. Too manythings to do and not enough time.After weekends spent looking atvarious halls, she and her fiance can'ttake it any longer and book the nextone they visit. The guest list has been typed out, butsome important people were missed andthere are duplicates on the list. MissPre-C is not a fast typist when she'sstressed, so has to re-do the 200 guestlist a number of times before it's right. Her days are constantly interrupted byphone calls from guests with questionsabout the wedding. The long distancebill is growing every day. A friend recommends a good printerfor invitations, but he is out of town,and another search begins. The invitations are beautiful, soMiss Pre-C begins addressing the200 envelopes. Never praised forher handwriting, the last of theenvelopes is barely readable. Shedecides to try again tomorrow. Relatives need pictures of the couplefor a special gift. The photos aremailed and after frantic calls to thepost office, are finally delivered, toolate to use. More long distance calls so gifts aren'tduplicated. A frantic call from Gramma at the border.Customs officials are questioning her andare taking apart the gifts. Through her tears, Gramma explains that the 50 itemshad been individually wrapped.Miss Pre-C takes a deep breath andconsiders eloping.P.S. If you still need convincing, my sonmet his future bride on the Internet!
Jewish Wedding Traditions - The Wedding Day in a Nutshell
Many of the Jewish wedding traditions are derived from ancient Jewish wedding customs dating back thousands of years.
Celebrate With Butterflies ? The Flying Flowers
Make your upcoming event the most memorable ever by adding butterflies to your special day. Butterfly Releases are a perfect way to celebrate all of the important occasions in life. They are wonderful additions to weddings, anniversaries, funerals, memorials, birthdays, holidays, ceremonies, and even corporate events.
Wedding Dresses - How to Buy Dreamy Wedding Gowns Online
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Wedding Dresses - Frequently Asked Questions
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Lighting The Way When Two Become One
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The Wedding Aisle - Who is Walking You Down it?
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The Marriage Test
Love should not blind a couple to the realities of their legal status of husband and wife, for they are bound by an unwritten contract of marriage governed by the laws of the federal government, the state they live in and the decisions of the judiciary. Every bride and groom must learn that the state is at the altar with them.
Mens Wedding Bands ? A Whole World Of Choice
Mens wedding bands are an emerging phenomenon. Whilst women have worn engagement and wedding rings for years, men are just starting to catch up.
The Reality of Arranged Marriages
Arranged marriages have been a topic of interest for centuries. Authors across the ages have explored this theme at length, and it still surfaces in literary works today. What's the appeal? Is it the fascination with the lack of lust and desire we cultivate in North American society? We strive on the element of danger, of the forbidden, while an arranged marriage is usually a safe way to ensure a family's approval of a union.
Wedding Rings ? Through the Ages and for All Eternity
The exact origin of the wedding ring is uncertain and is rife with superstition and mythology. Papyruses dating back to the ancient Egyptian civilization depict wedding rings, and historians credit the land of the Pharaohs with originating this tradition. Engagement or betrothal rings were in use as far back as prehistoric times, but the wedding ring is a relatively new tradition, and unlike the engagement ring, is steeped in religious ritual.
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WHAT HAS WORKED FOR US
Top 5 Reasons for Hiring a Wedding Planner
One of the most joyous occasions in life is a wedding, a time when two people in love exchange those powerful words, "I Do", which binds them legally as husband and wife. Although an exciting time of life, planning a wedding is also a very stressful time. For that reason, many people have discovered the benefits of hiring a professional coordinator to ensure everything comes together as it should. In this article, we are providing you with the top five reasons for hiring a wedding planner so you can enjoy your wedding with much less stress.
5 Tips To Keep Marital Bliss Alive After You Retire!
Let's face it retirement is a time of great transition for spouses. Ample free time and drastic lifestyle changes can be a burden or a blessing for your marriage. Regardless of whether one or both spouses retire, the secret to a smooth transition is planning before you retire. For example, if one or both of you have been task-driven individuals with their own careers, a 7/24 marriage may not be to your liking. Retiring couples who have lived independent and relatively separate lives may become frustrated and bored being joined at the hip. Others may rejoice in spending more time with each other. The most important step to take prior to retiring is:
Cheap Wedding Invitations
Your wedding invitations are your announcement to family and friends of your wedding date. A special day you want them to remember as the best wedding they've ever been to.
Saving Money on Wedding Music
When it comes to wedding music, there are some choices that stand apart from others. During the ceremony, it is getting more popular to avoid the traditional bridal music and use a chosen song of love instead.
Wedding Day Hair Styles - A Top Ten Checklist
The big day is fast approaching, and the energy of themoment sweeps you up. But does it carry your hair alongtoo? Use the following checklist to ensure your wedding dayhair is everything you dream it will be:
Have a Garden Theme Dream Wedding
You've found the perfect venue: old oaks, a stone wall, a gazebo, acres of fragrant jasmine and honeysuckle, and even a small, clear pond. Now it's time to take the garden wedding of your dreams a little further. Let's start with invitations.
How to Choose a Marriage Counselor
You have made the decision to contact a marriage counselor. The next question is "How to choose the right marriage counselor?" The success of your counseling experience will relate directly to your compatibility with your counselor.
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