this obviously doesnt take the place of the retreat, but not everyone can attend and not everyone wants to. I think the best thing about the retreat is that youre there with your partner and you can each identify what it is YOU yourself need to work on in terms of communication. Its a lot easier to accept the issues you have and the problems you create when you accept it yourself and figure it out yourself rather than someone (that someone being your partner) telling you what it is your doing that doesnt work. i.e. if bill tells me yelling isnt helping. well you pointing that out doesnt help either i feel as if he is making it out to be the reason we’re fighting. When we talked about volume in the retreat i said to myself “yeah, i do tend to get loud. i dont really need to.” Any how Im just putting in here what *I* found useful. There were MANY things that were covered that didnt hit home for me as much so im not going to write those out.
4 Major issues
- hyperboles <- dont use them! “you NEVER pick up your clothes”. That is an exaggeration. He may not pick them up 90% of the time but thats not NEVER. “We fight ALL the time.” no, no we don’t it just feels that way in the moment, but thats NOT TRUE. They NEVER help an argument<- that is not a hyperbole lol.
- VOLUME!!!!does NOT clarify. You know when someone is speaking in another language to you and they get louder? Does that help you to understand….UH NO! Same principle.
- different isnt bad, its just different. The way you put the toilet paper on the roll, the way you load the dishwasher, how you take the trash out, how you squeeze your tooth paste, family traditions. Start a new way, start a new tradition, let him load the dishwasher however he wants to…he is loading it thats all that matters! it sounds silly, but people really get stressed, emotional, and argue about small stuff like this!
- “I” message instead of “you”. “You’re making me mad with your driving!” no, “I feel irritated when you drive like that”.
Where Things Go Wrong
- criticism. “You never remember to fill the tank!” Do NOT criticize, but form a complaint. “Babe, why didnt you fill the tank up?” This allows your partner the chance to fix the problem.
- contempt. this is where all the eye rolling, sarcastic remarks/laughing, scoffing, name calling all that goes in here. NONE of this is helpful, only hurtful. seriously at this time take a moment to stop and be positive about your partner.
- defensiveness. its hard not to be but its not always useful. dont “right fight”. Im right because. Sometimes its okay to be wrong.
- stonewalling. SHUTTING DOWN. Creates a type of pursuit that doesnt help the situation.
Ways to remedy
- Call a “time out”. Take your prospective corners and cool down, if youre in public or have kids or around family or something just say “wait, stop. we need to move on and we can talk about this later behind closed doors.” Or say take an hour away from one another contemplate how youre feeling, why youre feeling it, and also contemplate what YOURE doing to not help the situation. When youre pointing fingers you have one pointed at the other person and 3 back at yourself.
- “xyz” statements. “At x time, when you were doing y, i felt z” Also do this with positive things when youre feeling contempt.
- YOU CANNOT HOLD A GRUDGE! if someone says they are sorry and are going to fix a situation you have to forgive them and move on. DO NOT bring it up again after that. If they repeat the action they said they werent going to do anymore then you come up with a consequence but you CANT KEEP BRING UP OLD ISSUES.
- Side note-you should always take time to think about all the good times and good memories you have to remind yourself of what you have, and then use that motivation to make new and happy memories.
this part i sort of knew already so i didnt have as many “ah-ha” moments but i think it helped a lot of the other couples so I’ll share.
Go find the MYER-BRIGGS personality type test (i forget the name exactly all my notes are downstairs). Betchu that you and your partner have some opposite personality types in there and that can cause some friction. You can use these differences to build and strengthen where one is weak the other is strong. Bill and I example - im big picture, he is detailed. We’re moving soon and looking at buying a house. I feel like we have a basic idea of how we’re going to handle it, we have a good chunk is savings, we’re fine. for him NO, he needs to budget now so that we can have the money for the mortgage for 6 months until his GI bill kicks in. He is very much right here right now, i think about the future. He will say things like “well i’ll just fly home for 4th of July and then come back.” me im like “UHHH NO HELLO we need that money for when we get out which will only be a month and half later”. These things get frustrating for us but if we know where we have the strength in one situation then we can use that so that the person who has the strength can be in the lead.
THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES!!! HUGE! i read this a while ago and it makes perfect sense. We receive love in different ways, and the way we receive love is the way we give it because thats what we would want. Bill and I happen to be the same love language which is physical touch. I VERY VERY much need to feel physical affection to know that someone loves me. This is why we struggle some during deployments and time apart and we get frustrated bc we cant be physically near one another. But some people receive it in acts of service i.e. cleaning the house, doing the dishes, cleaning the car…..stuff like that. Its a book, idk what you can find online or anything but its definitely worth while.
there is so so so so so much more we went over this weekend but i think these are some things that you can work on yourself. marriage is two people that are committed to working and investing their time into one another and it takes both people to do the work but you can only be responsible for yourself. The retreat was great for us to attend together so we could some to conclusions together and got time together away from all the stresses to really take it in. I am lucky that I have a willing husband to do things like this and he really took it all in as well. Do what you want with this, and whoever read this good-on-ya!