Healthy and happy partnerships are not about finding a "perfect partner".
They are about sharing values and resolving conflicts.
Many children's stories end with, "they
lived happily ever after”.
If you want a "happy ever after", resolve your relationship conflicts.
Show your Love by Resolving Conflicts
What is love for you? Sexual chemistry? Feelings?
Behaviors? Decisions? Whatever it is, most people want this magical adhesive.
Yet good intentions are not enough. We need mature role models and experienced
mentors for our love relationships
Can you and your partner discuss emotions without blaming, complaining,
withdrawing? If you and your partner have enjoyed happy, mature parents, then
resolving conflicts will feel natural and easy. And if you didn't, it's not too
Since our sessions with you we both talk about our feelings, we
acts of kindness,
and we show each other gratitude for little things. We never knew how important
Were you trained in partnership skills? Good intentions do not
magically resolve conflicts. Western adults often
know a lot about sex, and little about kindness. Arabic and Oriental couples
often know more about kindness, and less about sexuality.
Do unto others as they want you to do unto them!
We help couples solve a huge variety of partnership conflicts - about family members, money, sex,
children, abuse, boundaries, health, stress, infidelity and much more. What part
of partnership is without conflict?
Yet few of your fights or arguments may truly be with each
other! Many fights and arguments are varieties of, "My mother's opinion
versus your mother's opinion" or "I worry that you will
act like my ex-partner" or "You remind me of ...",
We help partners explore their needs, values and complaints -
Conflicts will happen, so we teach people how to manage and use their
conflicts to increase trust and improve cooperation. Here are some good
Couple Communication Exercises.
We usually coach partners separately at first, to resolve individual
issues, and then together, to solve couple problems. We help couples understand each other,
define their partnership goals and develop plans to reach their goals together.
Practical love is resolving conflicts
After an infatuation or honeymoon phase of a partnership,
conflicts become more obvious. Let's take household chores. If you want your
partner to do things differently, what do you do? Attack? Whine? Nag? Stop
The real reason
for my divorce was my desperate desire to be right;
which reflected my father's desperate need to be right.
My parents divorced when I was nine.
What are the consequences of avoiding conflicts? Probably you
and your partner will feel more distant. You may both feel less understood and
less intimate. Avoiding genuine resolution will likely increase the number and
severity of future conflicts.
We focus on the feelings that motivate unwanted behaviors.
We listen carefully and explore which emotions
have what triggers. Often the real issues are conflicts from
childhood or from past partnerships.
The benefits of resolving relationship conflicts include
increased intimacy, satisfaction and understanding. Then we can coach
couples to coach each other through conflicts until they are confident
that they can deal with whatever comes up.
Will you stay together or split?
Do you both have the necessary skills to attract -
and to be attracted to - a healthy partner?
Some women say, "Men should be more sensitive!"
To men, that sounds like, "Men should be more like women".
Men may say, "Women should be more realistic!" Guess what
that means to women. Generally, the more shoulds - the less happiness.
We promised God that we would
stay together ... but our love slowly degenerated into
a respect for each other that would be more appropriate for two old enemies.
Real partners have real conflicts. If you are in a relationship without
arguments or conflicts - perhaps you are still on a honeymoon
... or maybe you are only having an affair ... or perhaps you
are both hiding emotions and staying together for some other reason than sharing intimacy.
Avoiding truths and telling lies is not likely to help. You may
gain a few days peace - at the high price of losing trust. (Telling the
truth often requires massive trust).
It's unlikely that you and your partner will agree on every detail.
Do you resolve conflicts, or do you just hide them? If you appear to have no conflicts,
it is likely that one or both are hiding
unpleasant emotions and avoiding important issues.
Common Relationship Conflicts
Money and budgets
(S)he won't listen to
(S)he avoids conflicts
Many people delay resolving conflicts until they their pent-up
emotions seem to explode over apparently trivial details. If you continually use
distractions to avoid solving conflicts, you may be setting yourselves up for
alienation and separation.
Check your partnership skills, see
Patterns of Partnership
show appreciation and
gratitude to each other
|One or both are often
dissociated, irritated, depressed, critical or show contempt
respond to most verbal and
|One or both
ignore, avoid or shorten
events in their history
review their relationship history
|Partners greet after time
apart and ask about each other's activities and other news
||They rarely interact when
without even silent intimacy
|Partners enjoy meeting
each other's needs for passion, intimacy and commitment
||One or both often ignore or
the other's goals and needs
|Partners discuss goals
and dreams, finding shared values and creating shared meanings.
||They rarely discuss
values or meaning.
|Partners often go out
||One or both generally prefer
to go out alone
require committed cooperation
|One or both
often avoid, ignore or give
small attention to shared projects
|They wish to stay together
to enjoy sharing partnership and parenthood happiness
||One or both want to separate but
because of guilt, fear or other constraints
|They respect most of each
other's choices and decisions, and discuss differences
||One or both show contempt
for the other's decisions and angrily demand changes
|Partners both want happiness
||One or both prefer
to be apart
Continued at Couples 2
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