Vol 1, No. 9 Jul 2011

...A monthly newsletter designed to help make your marriage great. Each issue contains articles, tips and more.


By Lynn M. Griesemer

    Conflict is a part of marriage.  Researchers say that up to 70% of marital disagreements are not likely to be solved.  That doesn’t sound too reassuring, but if you consider that many arguments and disagreements stem from different viewpoints and opinions, it helps to know that you don’t need to argue about the same issues for weeks, months or years.   Remember the phrase:  “agree to disagree?”  Sometimes that’s good advice.  Couples get into trouble when they argue about the same things over and over or do everything they can to avoid conflict altogether.

    Successful marriages aren’t measured by the amount of conflict they have, but on how they resolve their conflicts.   And it’s important to distinguish which conflicts are not worth spending energy on and those that are prominent, in need of resolution.

      In resolving conflict, you first have to approach it with an open heart and open mind.  Next, listen to your partner.  Soften your tone when you speak.  Look for areas of agreement.  In the heat of an argument, we aren’t thinking about common ground – we just want to spew out our point of view, point the finger and blame.  Acknowledge that you are both passionate about the issue you’re discussing.

     If you constantly avoid conflict, resentment is the likely result.  Retaining strong, unexpressed feelings is physically, mentally and emotionally unhealthy.  At first glance, it might seem easier to keep the peace by not expressing issues that are likely to cause a confrontation.  Confrontations can be uncomfortable and combative.  But when husbands or wives keep things inside, what often happens is a slow erosion of the relationship to the point of “withdrawal.”  Withdrawal means that one or more partners pulls back from the relationship.  There is often little to minimal talking.  Issues aren’t raised, issues aren’t resolved and may hang around like unwanted carpenter ants.  Don’t look the other way.  Acknowledge the ants and do something about it.

        Marriage is all about teamwork.  Promise yourself that you will not contribute to escalating the argument.  “Pick your battles” carefully and when you do enter a battle, don’t let anger be your guide.  Be respectful and considerate and listen to your spouse’s point of view.  If you insist on being self-righteous and closed to hearing new information and possible solutions, you will stay on a Merry-Go-Round of Conflict.  And that is not a fun ride.

Lynn M. Griesemer is a Marriage Coach and has been happily married for over 25 years. She helps struggling marriages improve and good marriages become great. www.marriagecoachlynn.com.

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Learn the difference between conflict that is causing a gridlock in your marriage and conflict that is solvable. Many couples think they have to resolve all conflict and this keeps them in a perpetual fighting mode. You don’t have to resolve all of your conflicts (or agree on everything) for your marriage to thrive. Learn to let things go and "agree to disagree."  Arguments that can be reconciled seem to be less painful and intense than bigger ones.  If possible, try not to spend so much time and energy on minor issues in your marriage, because there will be big ones that take up energy.  Ask yourself, "Will I remember this in 5 years?"

Picture Couples Corner

Meet Lieutenant Steve and Terry Zachary.  Married for 25 years, they are the parents of three children and two grandchildren.  Lt. Stephen Zachary has served as an active duty Navy Chaplain for the last 8 years and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Military Ministry at Regents University.   He has been deployed 3 times, once to Iraq, once to Afghanistan, and within the last year - the USS Pearl Harbor in Indonesia and along the African coast. How do couples deal with prolonged absences? Terry says that one thing that is helpful for military couples is to develop relationships and friendships in the community that can offer support for various needs, whether big or small.  The Zachary’s were my guests on “Your Marriage Matters” on 4/19/11 and spoke about the Effect of Deployment on Marriage.  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marriagecoachlynn/2011/04/19/the-effect-of-deployment-on-marriage


"I have found that unrequited dreams are at the core of every gridlocked conflict.  In other words, the endless argument symbolizes some profound difference between you that needs to be addressed before you can put the problem in its place."  -Dr. John M. Gottman


If you haven’t already downloaded your free copy of Reenergize Your Marriage in 21 Days from www.marriagecoachlynn.com, please do so as soon as possible and make a copy to your local files. If you’ve already started the program, let me know how it’s working!

© 2011 Lynn M. Griesemer

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