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Tips To Finding A Solution Without A Fight.

When couple face a disagreement all they can see are the two opposing choices. For example, Paul wants to spend money on a luxury vacation in Hawaii, for just he and Jena. She wants to go camping with the kids in the mountains and save the extra money for remodeling the bathroom. All they see is the differences and they make assumptions about the other’s intentions or reasoning. This leaves them stuck in conflict and anger and they are only looking at the tip of the iceberg. 

Both Paul and Jena have made judgements and assumptions about their partners intentions. These assumptions are created in their own heads and are probably false. They are based on little information and end up making the other person defensive. Because of these assumptions they listen selectively and only hear evidence that supports their belief.

In order to facilitate a shift we need to let go of our judgement and try to explore the other persons choice. At this step each person needs to listen with openness, to put aside judgement and their own interpretations and rebuttals. Not an easy thing to do. 

After gathering information about what each persons idea is truly about, then it is helpful to go deeper into the feelings behind their choice. This can be uncomfortable for some of us who want to jump to a solution, but unless your partner feels that their feelings are heard and understood they are not likely to listen to the solution. So at this point learning what feelings motivated their choice will move you forward. You may learn that what was assumed about the others needs and intentions was false and come to a better understanding of your partners underlying intentions and desires.

In understanding your partners true intentions and reasoning it is then helpful to empathize with them. This does not mean that you are in agreement with their choice but it does help you connect with them, see things from the other persons vantage point and feel what they feel. If you can share this new understanding with your partner you will be closer to finding a solution that brings you together. This also lowers defensiveness and allows each of you to open up to new ideas.

So now you have a better understanding of what is on the table. At this point it is not just a choice between the two original choices but it is time to brainstorm other solutions and ideas that may be a win-win solution for both of you. During brainstorming though each person needs to remain open and non-judgmental about the new ideas. Avoiding sabotaging new solutions, this is a time of creating ideas that are possibilities, not finding the solution yet. This is not a time to persuade each other to your side, it is a time to be creative and listen well to new possibilities. 

After many possibilities are on the table you are ready to pick a solution and one strategy to choosing which solution is best is to play the “Flash Forward Game” suggested by Shirzad Chamine author of Positive Intelligence. This requires each of you to think of your self at the end of __________. At the end of your life, at the end of the year, at the end of the kids’ time at home? Looking back, how do you wish you had conducted yourself? This helps narrow and prioritize your choices. 

This is not an easy process and it does take a great deal of self awareness and control. It is easy to fall into judgement, avoidance, defensiveness, anger or frustration. It helps to remind yourselves that if you work together you will be able to find a solutions that will please each of you. Be patient with each other, you are on the same team. If you are struggling, I am always here to help.  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions! 

Give us a call at (562) 537-2947.  

Written by Lisa Strong

Build Trust and Security Into Your Relationship

Trust and security are the foundation for a healthy relationship. But how do we nurture these feelings in our relationship? I believe that we do this by letting our partner know that they are a priority in our life and we are committed to them. When we are committed we are all in and we are not coming from a place of self-interest but we are considering the cost of any choice for our partner too. 

You don’t want your partner wondering “How important am I to you?” or “Do I come first in your life?” These acts cause a sense of doubt that can grow into insecurity and fear. A healthy relationship needs trust, a knowledge that you can count on each other and that your concerns are important to each of you.

Can your partner count on your word? Do you stand by your word by saying what you mean and meaning what you say. To build this trust you need to stop saying things that you won’t follow through on, or that don’t represent your true feelings. If you continue to not follow through then your partner will learn not to count on you.

Here are a few examples of behaviors that break trust in a relationship;

  • Not showing up on time
  • Not making your partner a priority
  • Keeping secrets
  • Lying
  • Humiliating or putting down your partner in public or private. 
  • Not being there when your partner is hurting or sick

We can show commitment to our partner in the small acts that respond to their needs. When our partner sees us listening and supporting them then they feel the commitment but if we dismiss them or turn away during their time of need then this is seen as a betrayal. I am not referring to a significant betrayals like infidelity, it could be something small like looking at your phone instead of listening to a concern. These small betrayals build up and diminish the sense of security and trust in the relationship.

When you have learned that your partner is trustworthy and committed then you are able to give them the benefit of the doubt instead of always coming from a place of suspicion and questioning. Doesn’t that sound nice? When we are repeatedly challenging and questioning our partner this is exhausting for both parties. No one wants to have to doubt their partner and I certainly would get frustrated if I feel like my partner is always doubting me. So to avoid this dynamic we have to make it a priority to build trust and let your partner know that you have their back and you can be relied on. 

This takes work and can be challenging because once you are in a relationship and you are committed to your partner then it is no longer all about you and your needs. But the sacrifice is worth it to have a partner in life that you can trust. 

Written by Lisa Strong

How To Manage Shelter In Place With Those You Love?

Now is a time of extreme stress on many families and relationships. The COVID-19 shelter-in-place order has triggered a lot of fears and anxiety in each of us. If you are at home with your family, a friend or spouse then the tension between each of you may be high and that is what I want to address. 

Here are some reasons for the anxiety you or your family member may be experiencing.

  1. The life as we had been living it has changed and many of us do not do well with change. 
  2. There is uncertainty in the future and this uncertainty makes us nervous.
  3. There are financial concerns, will I loose my job or be furloughed or my pay be cut? How will we manage? 
  4. Will I or my loved one get the virus? Will they get sick and I won’t be able to help?
  5. Will I be left alone if I get sick, will it be painful and will the doctors be able to help me?

This list of concerns only touches on many of our deepest fears and we all respond to these triggers differently. On top of all that, you are now living in close quarters with other family members, trying to manage children or learn how to do your job remotely, this is a situation that can get ugly unless we make a conscious effort to manage it in a healthy way. 

We have been told to eat good food, exercise and isolate ourselves and all of these things are good practices and needed but I want to talk about how to communicate your anxiety and how to listen to the others in our home so that the tension will minimize. 

Here are some suggestions for your relationships.

  1. Be patient with each other. This is not a time to push each other to do something that is uncomfortable. Some of us might want to keep busy, others might want to be left alone, some might want to talk about their feeling and we each need support.
  2. Remember that this is not his problem or her problem, it is a problem you both need to share and find a solution that works for each of you. You are a team and need to work together. 
  3. Listen without judgement, do not shame your partner for feeling like they do, do not tell them to get over it or minimize their fears by saying “we will be fine, don’t worry” They want to feel heard and supported. 
  4. After listening, then show understanding. Acknowledge their fears, show that you understand them. Validate how they feel and let them know that their feelings are important.
  5. Ask how you can help and work together to find a strategy that will bring some relief. This might be a new routine, a time to share with each other and just verbally process feelings together, or it could be giving your partner some space. This will be individual to each of you. 

We all can acknowledge the severity of this situation and the extreme challenges that it brings. 

If you need extra support we at Save My Family Today are available to meet with you via Zoom, an online conferencing website, to give guidance, support and knowledge of how to navigate this uncertain time. It is imperative that you stay not only physically healthy but emotionally and relationally healthy as well. Give us a call at 562-537-2947.

Written by Lisa Strong