Small Disagreements in Your Marriage? 8 Ways to Kill them.

The holidays are a time of relaxation, we can all agree on that. If you spend too many quiet hours with your partner or have many busy days you might notice something.

That something is called small disagreements.

Are you with me?

Our petty arguments can go something like this:

Person A: Did you see my pack chicken, I specifically kept for myself?

Person B: Yes, I ate it [non-chalant tone.]

Person A: What? Why? I was saving it for myself, after all you ate yours already (steam coming out of my ears at this point).

 

It may sound like such a small thing, but…

– when it’s the tenth petty argument in the last two hours,

– when you’re thinking ‘I’ve actually just done this and that for you now and this is how you repay me’,

– when you had expectations that this weekend/occasion was going to be magical, etc…

Basically, it may not seem like such a small thing, in that particular moment.

 

So, here’s what I reach for during these ‘squabbles’:

1. I find that for reconciliation to happen , both parties must want to get the issue resolved.

Otherwise, one person will be left frustrated and angrier that they were initially.

If your partner still needs some time to ‘cool down’, they may retreat, or you may just sense they need time – give them that time. That should be a few hours though, and hopefully not days, because leaving it so long, in my experience, just makes the whole drama drag out and last longer.

2. You really can’t think about and bring up, at that particular moment, everything bad that your partner has done.

It will make you more annoyed and you won’t be able to reach a resolution because at that point, you will just want to ‘draw’ blood.

3. The reconciliation-killer words cannot be used: ‘you always’, ‘you never’, ‘why can’t you’,’you can’t’, ‘how dare you’, ‘divorce/break up/break’, ‘I’ve had enough’. Any words or phrases that you know will act as a trigger and make your partner reach boiling point is banned.

This is easier said than done. I usually try talking slowly and picking my words carefully. If I think of the trigger words, I can pause and take the time to choose a less ‘loaded’ one.

4.I read this somewhere and it literarily changed my life: believe that your partner’s intentions are good.

Give them the benefit of doubt. It can prevent arguments and stem the hurt from their wrong doings. It’s also known as trying to see things from their perspective, but goes one step further by adding the positivity element.

5. Find the truth of the situation – read between the lines. Sometimes if you take a step back, you can piece together what the real issue is. That could be what your partner appears to be reacting to or what your partner may be feeling about you at that point. If you can spot that, it should help you be more sensitive to their side of the story, or change how you approach seeking a resolution.

6. One of the tips the Priest who married Mr and I gave us was about being ‘charitable’ to each other. He is an older clergy man, but very relatable. Typically I think of ‘charity’ as the giving to those in need, so when he shared about being charitable to each other, I initially thought, ‘thats an unusual one’. Well, thats not what he meant. The definition of charity he was talking about – is ‘kindness in judging others’ per the oxford dictionary. It is about trying really hard to be kind about Mr’s imperfections, since, I want him to do the same about my imperfections, too. To look at another person’s perceived flaws/failings and try to see the good, is no easy feat, and I do not succeed all the time. But this is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given about marriage.

7. I sometimes just break into a silly joke. For example, I jokily remind Mr that we have sixty plus more years of marriage to go and we’re going to keep annoying each other, so we both better start getting used to the little annoyances. I’m not sure if this grates on his nerves even more, though. LOL.

8. I read somewhere online that a couple could try stopping in the middle of the argument to hold each other and say I love you. This has only worked for us, maybe twice. To be honest, it’s the furthest thought from my mind during squabbles. I like the premise – it’s about reminding each other, quite lovingly, that even through the bickering, and grievances you’re still my person. More realistically, there have been times we smiled at each other halfway through an argument. Honestly, I usually think Mr is shaking his head and smiling while thinking ‘this woman’ lol. But, in any case, the smile really lightens the mood.

No secret magical formula, just some tools that we try to use. I wrote this in January 2015 and I feel like the number of petty arguments we have has reduced significantly thanks to time.  Of course we are still work-in-progress.

 

Alright, over to you. What do you do to keep your cool during petty/small arguments? What has been your experience – do you find that as the years go by in your relationship or marriage, you have fewer of those small arguments? Did anyone give you advice about relationships or marriage that you thought was golden – what was it? I would love to hear.

The Best Marriage Analogy of all time

On Christmas eve – 31st December last year, I heard what I believe could be the best marriage analogy ever. We were  gathered as family and right before we came into the new year, started to talk about love, marriage, infidelity, a social media images of marriage and of course, the D word – divorce. Everyone was well fed and watered, so you know these conversations are always enjoyable.

Then one of my family members commented on analysing a marriage with a method that I think is fool proof.

She said:

—-

A couple’s married life, if mapped out on a graph, would probably go up and down and up and down. The ups and downs would represent the happy times and difficult times. This is what the graph for most newly weds would look like. A husband and/or wife  should worry if when they charted their marriage, the line stayed low, on a straight line, representing a steady and long period of difficult times, and very rarely went up to indicate happy times!

—-

I wanted to do a slow clap, I just love this analogy.

It could help perfectionists get realistic about their marriage – is it really that bad  from month to month?

It could be a tool for newly weds to see just how difficult (or not) those first years are going.

Couples could also use it to check in with each other – you chart yours and I’ll chart mine, month by month and then let’s exchange and discuss.

Therapists could also give it to couples as home work.

You could use it to assess other relationships, too, I imagine.

 

Secondly – First comes marriage…

So talking about marriages made me think about this scenario that occurred a few years ago.

I had so many weddings to attend that year – all my vacation time was scheduled around the weddings.  I think I was between 25 and 27 years old, and I wasn’t married then. At work, I told one of my senior managers* that all my friends were getting married, likely during a  conversation about holidays.

She laughed and said that she remembered that time in her life too. Then calmly and softly she added that now the weddings were being replaced by divorces.

I can laugh now, but at the time, I was so disturbed by this statement. She just said it like it was normal, no biggie. While I young and hopeful tried to swallow the harsh reality of her comment. It’s a sad sign of  the times we live in. Saying that, maybe marriages were just as difficult in the past, only people stayed together for the kids (or other reasons) more often. Regardless, here’s hoping we all stay together, where the marriage is healthy or can realistically be restored to health! Can I get an amen?

 

What analogy or thoughts about marriage have you heard that you thought were good? What are your views on the first seven years of marriage for young couples, from your experience and those around you? Are they truly the hardest years of marriage?

What other topics would you like to discuss regarding marriage?

*this was in the UK.

Women Supporting Women is Not Always Easy

 

I wrote a shorter version of this post on friendships and success for anyone who has wanted to support a friend making career progressions, but had to deal with their own emotions first. I have been there before, so it came from the heart. Here goes:

Ok, let’s talk truths, there are times when you feel ‘some kinda way’ about your friend’s career achievements because you haven’t gotten to your own place of fulfilment yet, career wise.

I have been there.

After university, when some of my friends were getting top grad jobs, in big renowned organisations, I was still figuring out my next plan. I was sending out CV’s, applying to far away cities, anything to get my leg in the door. I really should have applied and tried to secure internships after my first and second year, but somehow I had convinced myself that everything would be OK. I had been so worried about the future in those years, it made me nervous to even put in the beginning stages of preparation, by trying to get an internship.

I paid for those nerves during my first year as graduate with no job. Once I got a rejection email from a careers fair! Careers fair where you meet employers 😂😭😭. That was not a happy moment.

In those days, I would hear my friends happy career news – it started with job, then next promotion, and my first human emotion was a twinge of hurt about my own situation; I still didn’t have a job.

That experience taught me that you do have to accept this hurt (the human emotion itself is not a bad thing), but you do not have to entertain it (that’s when you throw yourself a pity party and sit at the party for months). I did not do that.

I found it in me to be happy about their news, (if you want it to come it will come) and celebrate with them, like I knew I would want when my time came.

My time came, I got that great job and they celebrated with me too!

But now, I understand the emotions of waiting for your own.

I understand the psychological battles and the warfare going on in your head when you go to celebrate with your firiends, while still worried about your current situation and what your future situation will look like.

So, if you feel like your friend who is not quite ‘there’ yet’, in that career building position she wants to be, is being a bit ‘off’ with you, and you think it might be because they are not in that place that maybe you have come into: be patient, be tolerant, and sensitive, if you can. But remember, nobody wants pity.

And to friend who is not there yet: find it in you to celebrate, you would want the same too. It helps to keep thinking about that.

Women supporting women is not always a candy floss party, as some instagram posts will have you believe. It can be hard and demand from us, what feels like too-much emotionally. But it’s a two way street that can be very rewarding, too, when you’re getting the support & celebration.

I am a Woman Supporter, but it’s not a perfect story! This is one story that illustrates the tensions involved in being a woman supporter.

 

How do you deal with success when friends are not supportive? Or have you been in the position where you had to support your friends but it was difficult because you were still waiting on your ‘own’? Maybe you or someone you know is going through this?

Please share details in the comments below.