He Did What?!

Vida Brown
By: Davida Brown Our lives are full of patterns, and those patterns start very early in life. This is especially so with respect to how we handle conflict. All of us started out with a single defense mechanism or coping strategy: crying. As we grew, so did our strategies. As adults, most of us have several go-to coping mechanisms that we use when we experience pain or conflict. My husband typically retreats. Me, I turn to food. Others may work out, play sports, or even become violent. Whatever the coping strategy (good or bad), we all have them and we’ve had them for awhile. And yes, we use them when dealing with conflict in our marriage. When I work with couples experiencing marital conflict, I do my best to uncover these patterns. No two people are the same and most often spouses have very different coping skills. When we fail to recognize how our partner handles conflict, it colors how we view them, colors how we view a particular situation, and influences the way we respond during the conflict or perceived conflict. Here’s an example. A husband comes home from a long day of work. His boss really lit into him that day, criticizing his performance on a recent project. The husband completely disagrees with his boss and is very frustrated. As soon as he hits the door, he mumbles hello to his wife, goes upstairs, turns on the television and begins playing video games. He stays there for hours.…
By: Davida Brown No matter how connected we are to our spouse, we all experience conversation lulls in our marriage. Some may last a day or two, others weeks. Is this a sign that bad times are around the bend? Not necessarily. Let’s face it, sometimes you go through periods when you don’t feel like talking, or, at a particular point in time, you just don’t have anything “worth” sharing. If you are currently experiencing this in your marriage, don’t be alarmed. Every couple goes through it. If however you find that you more often than not have nothing to say to your spouse, that the conversation is often forced, that you really don’t care to converse with him or her, action is required to get things back on track. Conversation is a key part of communication, and a consistent lack thereof will adversely impact your marriage over time. If this is you, don’t fret. There are things you can do to restart the conversation. I generally put couples in one of the two following categories: We talk a lot, but not about us. Many couples don’t even realize that there’s a lack of critical conversation in their marriage because they are communicating on lots of things that don’t directly impact the marital connection. Critical conversation here means conversations that feed your marriage. My husband and I sometimes fall into this category. We have three kids under ten and a significant amount of our conversations is about the kids: homework,…
By: Abigale Hassel Marriage can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. When you have two whole, adult individuals, with their own opinions, morals, ethics and beliefs, there will always be times in which disagreements happen. You may struggle to find common ground. Your opinions may differ in areas of finances, parenting, or even in what activities you enjoy. Once a crisis occurs, it can throw even the strongest of marriages off kilter. Crises such as illness, death of a loved one, financial problems, child issues, miscarriages, mental illness, just to name a few, can test a couple’s individual and collective fortitude. Here are some suggestions to help you and your spouse remain a support to one another when you both need it the most. 1) Lean on and defer to each other’s strengths: The two of you are different and that is ok. Just be honest with yourself and each other about your strengths and those of your spouse. For example, in my marriage, I am the more emotional one. My husband has a tremendous ability to stay calm in difficult situations, whereas I tend to become very emotional. When we have gone through difficulties, I leaned on him and looked to him to make initial decisions, because I have found that in an acute emotional state, I have difficulty focusing. I accept that about myself and so does my husband. If one of you is better at remaining calm than the other, do not judge or criticize.…
By: Davida Brown After the big day, and let’s be honest several months thereafter, everything is new and fresh. Even if you’re like us, and dated years before marriage, there’s something about the act of getting married that makes you want to start anew. You want to give it your all, 100+ percent. Yes, you know your spouse inside and out, flaws and all, but after those I do's you’re ready for a clean slate. You both want to put your best foot forward. Well after a few months – years for some – you and the love of your life settle into a routine. By this time, you’ve likely established concrete roles in your household and you both expect the other to do his/her share consistently. That’s all a part of marriage. Additionally, if you’re being honest, you expect your spouse to go a bit beyond the norm, at least every so often, right? I mean that’s what he or she did before the BIG DAY. That, at a minimum, should be expected in marriage. I agree wholeheartedly. Marriage is really a journey together during this wonderful thing we call “life.” It’s full of all these twists and turns and yes expectations. And I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with it. That said, even if it’s perfectly okay to expect your spouse to do his/her share, to put in those extra touches every now and again, it’s not perfectly okay to never recognize it. I thought hard about…
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