Couples who fight fair thrive!

When couples come together in marriage, they bring their own experiences and expectations. As time passes, these expectations can evolve and change, as can the relationship dynamics. However, when couples find themselves in a rut, communicating effectively and breaking through the barriers can take time and effort. This is where marriage therapy can be beneficial.

Marriage therapy is a specialized form of counseling designed to help couples better understand each other and improve their communication and relationship. Marriage therapy aims to create a safe space where couples can express their feelings and concerns without fear of judgment or criticism. It can also guide how to manage disagreements and work together.

CREATE SAFETY:

The first step in marriage therapy is creating a safe communication space. This can be done by setting aside a specific time and place where couples can talk without interruption. Creating a safe environment where couples can feel comfortable expressing their feelings without fear of criticism or judgment is also essential. This can include setting ground rules like no name-calling or criticism and allowing each partner to take turns speaking.

Once the safe space is established, the couple can then begin to work on improving their communication. This can include learning how to listen to each other more effectively, understanding each other’s perspectives, and learning how to express needs and feelings constructively. Marriage therapy can also focus on teaching couples how to resolve conflicts healthily and work together to create solutions that work for both.

EXPRESS EMOTIONAL NEEDS:

In addition to communication, marriage therapy can also help couples work on their emotional connection. This can include exploring each other’s emotional needs and learning how to express love and affection better. It can also involve exploring past hurts and how to move past them to create a stronger bond.

The existence of conflict doesn’t indicate the end of the relationship. Couples who thrive know how to fight fairly and repair the disconnection between them. Disconnection is inevitable. Having the tools to reconnect is essential.

FIGHTING FAIR:

Fair fighting techniques can help couples resolve conflicts without resorting to name-calling or other hurtful behavior. Not only can fair fighting help couples reach a resolution quickly, but it can also help strengthen their relationship in the long run.

So, what are some of the best fair fighting techniques for couples?

  1. Set Ground Rules

Before any argument starts, couples need to set ground rules. This means agreeing not to resort to name-calling, personal attacks, or bringing up past grievances. Setting ground rules can help ensure that the fight stays on track and that both parties feel heard.

  1. Listen Carefully

When couples fight, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment’s heat and start talking over each other. But it’s essential to take a step back and listen to your partner’s words. This means actively listening and trying to understand their perspective instead of just waiting for your turn to talk.

  1. Take a Break

Sometimes a fight can get too heated, and it’s best to take a break. This doesn’t mean walking away and not returning but taking a few moments to cool down and collect your thoughts. This can help you approach the conversation with a clearer head and can help you find a resolution faster.

  1. Be Respectful

It’s important to remember to be respectful during a fight. This means no name-calling or belittling language. Instead, try understanding and use “I” statements to express your feelings. This will help your partner understand your perspective without feeling attacked.

  1. Find a Resolution

When it comes to fighting fair, the goal is to find a resolution. This doesn’t mean that one person has to be correct and the other wrong, but rather that both parties can come to a compromise. This can involve both parties making concessions or coming up with a plan that works for them.

Fair fighting is essential for any healthy relationship. It’s important to remember that while fighting is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be destructive. With the proper techniques, couples can learn to fight fairly and become stronger than ever.

Let Ron Huxley help you improve your communication skills and fight fairly today. Click here to set an appointment now.

Tackle the Tech: Screen Time Tips

Parents frequently complain about how much time children spend on their screens. It can become a daily battle for technology, reaching addictive proportions for many children and teens. They seem obsessed with social media, snaps, and games. When denied, they tantrums and rage.

Before the pandemic, I used to advise parents to limit screens to a few hours per week. During the pandemic, the screen was the only access to school and social support. Being held “captive” in quarantine opened the apps and social media again, forcing parents to yield to children’s demands. Now, after the pandemic, I have to help parents with new ways to negotiate screen time.

According to the website, Defend Young Minds, here are 9 questions that can help tackle the technology by setting doable boundaries:

Here are 9 questions to help you establish family screen time boundaries:

  1. Mealtime. Are devices allowed when we are together at meals at home or at restaurants?
  2. Being present. Do we allow face-to-face conversations to be interrupted by a phone call or text?
  3. Time limits. How much screen time should we spend each day?
  4. Location. Where can devices be used? We strongly recommend that children’s devices are used only in common areas of the house and never in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  5. Bedtime. Where are devices recharged at night? We recommend that devices be charged in the parent’s room at night or where kids will not have access.
  6. Asking permission. Do I need to ask before I download apps or games? We recommend utilizing parental controls to disable downloads without permission.
  7. House rules. When friends come over, what restrictions apply to their devices? Some families use a cell phone basket on a counter to corral devices during the visit.
  8. Family visits. When and where can we use our devices when visiting friends or family?
  9. Courtesy. When we are in public, what are the rules for using our devices?

Instead of dictating all of the rules, involve children in the discussion so that they take more ownership. Democracy is better than a dictatorship! Be sure to negotiate consequences for not following the guidelines. Will there be a warning? Parents always have the final word but working together as a family team is the secret to screen management.

Restart Your Life (Free Course)

Learn how to reboot and restart your life with a new course from Ron Huxley, LMFT, and FamilyHealer.tv. Here’s what you will learn:

6 ways to deal with upheaval at work

Worry only 30 minutes a day

Be more supportive of your friends

Don’t let disagreements ruin your relationships

Defeat perfectionism!

How avoidance actually creates more stress

5 ways to get out of your own way

Create a plan for your family life

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20 Ways to Forgive – Infographic

How to invite forgiveness to bless your life…

Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. Choose one of the ways listed in this infographic to implement in your life for one week. Assess how it has blessed you and then try a new way until you feel the weight of hurt and bitterness lessen.

Oppositional Defiance in Teens

How do you deal with defiance in teenagers? All teens can be defiant some of the time. It can be a sign of healthy development as teens work to assert their own identity, but what happens when it is the daily pattern?

For oppositional behavior to be a true mental health diagnosis, a child must show a pattern of symptoms of angry/irritable, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness for at least six months. Children and adolescents with ODD may have trouble controlling their temper and are disobedient and defy authority figures. Teenagers who present with these symptoms often have a history of depression or anxiety that coincides with this disorder. Treatment and medication that addresses these issues can reduce disruptive behavior as well.

As you can imagine, individuals with oppositional defiance also have problems making or keeping friends, performing in school, and can’t hold on to a job. Big problems with their own emotional regulation create chaos in relationships inside and outside the home.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder

Parents can learn new skills to manage their child’s disruptive moods and behaviors. Modeling how to collaboratively solve problems and using natural consequences decreases arguments and fights.

Using harsh discipline or aggressive behavior toward teenagers causes the situation to be worse. Authoritarian styles of parenting make get some control of teen behavior in the short term but create more problems over the long term and may ruin relationships with teens as they grow into adulthood. It may push teens into social conduct problems that result in them having trouble with law enforcement and being removed by social services.

Professionals use a “Child Behavior Checklist” to screen for criteria that meet the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders definition of Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Other comorbid disorders may include ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Depressive or Bipolar Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Language and Expressive Disorders, Social Phobia, and Anxiety.

Individual and group therapy for teenagers can be helpful. Parents can also learn new skills for managing oppositional behaviors. Learning about attachment styles and generational patterns of trauma can also be beneficial. Reading books on normal teen development is also recommended.

If you need more help with your teen or want to learn how to better parent, contact Ron Huxley today and schedule a session.

Top Tips for Resolving Conflicts in Your Relationships

No matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen. While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended a conflict can fester and grow. That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.

How do you go about doing that?

1. Start by listening. But don’t just listen to the spoken words, but the feelings behind them. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation after all! By listening actively, meaning pausing to ask questions, clarify, and to reiterate what you think the other person is saying, you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. But more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.

2. Look for the resolution over being right. Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.

3. Stay in the moment. Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Now isn’t the time for blame. Rather look for solutions.

4. Decide what’s important right now. That is called ‘picking your battles’ and is important in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over. Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be easily forgotten, or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.

5. Know how and when to disengage. That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree. Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict. 

Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal. So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.

Let Ron Huxley help you resolve conflict in your life by scheduling a session today or take a free course at FamilyHealer.tv