5 posts from September 2010

September 28, 2010

Resolving Conflict: Simple Rules To Guide You

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Conflict is inevitable.  Regardless of whether you’re the most down-to-earth, go-with-the-flow person in the world or a meticulous, type A personality, the reality is that you will experience conflict in your life.  The only true question regarding conflict is, therefore, not whether you will or won’t experience it, but how you will respond to it.

Conflicts, by themselves, are not a bad thing.  In fact, they can often be extremely helpful and productive when handled well.   Unfortunately, countless people don’t know how to resolve conflicts effectively and relationally.  Instead, some people try to avoid conflict at all cost while others get locked into a conflict at the drop of a hat.  Neither extreme is very effective. 

When it comes to conflicts, here are a few basic, easy-to-follow rules:

What NOT to do:
1.    Don’t silence: Silence is a guarantee that nothing will change.  It blocks all avenues to solution and keeps things stuck.  Do not walk away, give someone the cold shoulder or hope someone else will address the conflict for you.  Instead, step up and step in.  Deal with the issue directly and in a timely fashion.
2.    Don’t lie: Lying, speaking indirectly or sugar-coating information is frustrating to all involved.  The more indirect you are, the more confusing your message becomes.  It should not be up to the other person to decipher what you really mean.  They’re not mind-readers so don’t ask them to be.  Also, if you’re struggling to find the courage to speak honestly about an issue, then don’t speak about the issue until you find the courage to do so honestly.  Speak to the issue at hand in an honest, upfront way
3.    Don’t bully: Conflict does not have to be aggressive.  Make sure that you are respectful in all conflicts and not trying to bully your way through someone’s views, opinions or choices.  Be clear, be honest and even be firm if you need to be, but do not be abusive, threatening or intense.  Bullying makes you unsafe and rots out marriages, jobs and friendships.

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September 22, 2010

Do Your Actions Show You Care? 10 Ways To Cherish Your Partner


1.    Perform a random act of kindness--out of the goodness of your heart--with no expectation of them returning the favor.  Do this throughout your relationship
2.    Tell them you love them with your words.  The saying that actions speak louder than words is great…and you also need to use your words.  The strongest combination is when your actions match your words: tell them and show them you love them.
3.    Give them compliments.  Change your lens from a negative one that’s all about what they’re doing wrong or how they don’t look good, to a more positive lens.  Actively focus on what you do like and voice that.  Be complimentary often and at random times.
4.    Do something they would like to do not what you would like to do.  Too often we do the things that we like and ask our partner if they want to tag along.  Step out of your world for a moment and step into theirs.  Offer to do something you know they would love to do and surprise them with your compassion.
5.    Give them a gift that they would like not one that you would like.  This is similar to #4:  step out of your world and give them what they want not what you want them to have or what you wish they would give you.

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September 17, 2010

What’s Up With The Sex? Pay Attention To Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing…And With Whom You’re Doing It With


In the world of relationship coaching and therapy, it’s fascinating how things seem to come in waves.  The issue of the month may cycle from rage in men to rage in women to affairs to passive-aggression to dead marriages.  Before I know it, I have several different couples dealing with the same issue...until the next wave of couples comes along.
The apparent new wave has to do with sex.  Not just any kind of sex, though, it’s sex with multiple partners -- swinging, threesomes, open marriages and the like.  I’m sure many people take some kind of stand -- for or against -- this kind of sex.   However, I have really tried to be open enough to hear couples out and not just assume the worst.  In fact, I’ve even gone out of my way to try to see it as another alternative for keeping things alive in a marriage.  To no avail…
I’ve heard the arguments that humans aren’t meant to be monogamous, that people are too stifled regarding their sexuality, that anything goes with two consenting adults, etc.  Here’s the thing though…I have yet to find a happily married couple with a great relationship, invite a third party into their bed.  I have also yet to find a couple who was swinging or the like, where one partner wasn’t more into it than the other—or where jealousy didn’t come into play somewhere down the line.

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September 13, 2010

10 Ways To Earn Trust In Your Relationship

Mistrust is a common problem in many relationships for many reasons: affairs, lies, jealousy, poor behavior etc.  Once mistrust is present, it’s very difficult to get trust back.  Without trust, many relationships won’t make it. 

If you would like to earn back your partner’s trust, make sure you’re doing all the things below on a daily basis over a long period of time (several months minimum).  Be certain that you are doing these things with a good heart and not from a place of resentment.

1.    Be where you say you’re going to be.  Don’t avoid a difficult conversation by omitting one of your stops on your journey.  
2.    Be on time or call well advance if you will be late.  Even those times when you’re late make sure it’s reasonable.  Coming home at 3am from a party your partner was nervous about in the first place is not reasonable.
3.    Be moderate with your reactions.  If every time something happens you freak out, then your loved ones will avoid being honest out of fear of what you’ll do.  Chill out, stay centered and don’t over-react.
4.    Answer questions without being defensive.  If you’ve been caught in lies before, this one is especially important.  Just answer the question asked without attacking the person asking it.
5.    Have nothing to hide.  If you have nothing to hide, don’t act like you do.  Allow your partner access to your phone, e-mail or whatever if you’ve broken trust.   This won’t be necessary forever but is necessary after affairs.

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September 01, 2010

10 Ways To Get The Spark Back Into Your Relationship

Neither you nor your partner have to be drop dead gorgeous or sexual dynamos to get the spark back.  Often all you need is two willing people and a determination to find each other again.  Step out of your comfort zone and take some steps to get the spark back.
1.    Stop telling yourself you don’t have that spark.  Our thoughts are extremely powerful and once we tell ourselves it’s gone, that becomes the only thought we notice.
2.    Act more sexual and be more flirtatious Dress sexy (put on perfume/cologne, dress up, wear something you feel good in or that you know your partner likes) and act playful.
3.    Do random acts of kindness without any expectation that they will return the favor or that you’ll get something in return. 
4.    Be more affectionate deliberately.  Hold hands, touch more, look your partner in the eyes when you kiss them, touch the small of their back when you walk by etc.
5.    Change your lens and focus on those moments you do like your partner or like what they’re doing.  Take these moments in.  Seldom do people constantly dislike their partners.  Notice when you feel any level of attraction and take note of that.  If you can’t think of any now, think back to when you first fell in love.
6.    Act as if:  act as if you are in a great relationship with someone you adore.  What would you be doing differently?  Our actions greatly influence the actions of those around us; play with this idea and see what you notice.  See what happens as you become more loving and cherishing.
7.    Just do it.  Our libidos are just like our brains—if we don’t use it we lose it.  Stop saying you’re too tired, not in the mood etc., and just do it.  Clear your mind of the clutter and  the negative talk and just be present.
8.    Say it straight. Tell your partner what you like and don’t like instead of assuming they should know.  Ask your partner what they like and don’t just assume you’re wonderful.
9.    Talk to each other. Share your day, your fears, your upsets and your crazy thoughts or dreams. Intimacy means into me you see; give your partner a glimpse of who you are and what’s going on in your world.  Know that when your partner shares with you it is a window into their soul which is a gift; treat it as such.
10.    Be the change agent rather than waiting for your partner to change.  Too many people say they’ll change when their partner changes and it’s killing couples.  Stop waiting for something to happen and make it happen.

Challenge:  Choose 1-2 suggestion from the list above and incorporate them into your relationship for a minimum of two weeks.  Pay attention to any changes you see from your partner.

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