Protecting Your Marriage from Infidelity

 

Have you ever worried what would happen if you found out your spouse was unfaithful to you?  I think there is always some part of us that wonders how we would react and if our marriage would survive this sort of betrayal and trauma.   Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and have had thoughts about engaging in a relationship with someone outside of your marriage.  This should be a red flag and something needs to be done to protect your marriage and prevent these thoughts from turning into actions!

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Greg Smalley, Psy. D. writes about daily decisions you can make to build trust and security to affair-proof your marriage:

  1. Make a Commitment Towards Growth

The more unhappy you or your spouse are in a marriage the more likely you are to find satisfaction outside of the marriage.  Ask yourself “What is something I could do that would cause our relationship to grow?”  Make a list and choose one thing from the list to do weekly.

  1. Becoming Aware of Your Choices

Many times we rationalize behaviors that could lead to infidelity.  For example, maybe there is a co-worker we find ourselves talking to at work and begin feeling an emotional connection to them.  We need to stop asking what is wrong with the choices we make and ask what’s right with them.  As we become aware of our choices we can protect our marriages.

  1. Draw a Line and Then Stay a Safe Distance Behind It!

It is important that you have a line of safety and stay a safe distance behind it.  This line will be different for everyone.  For one person it could mean not working late with a co-worker of the opposite sex and for another it may mean not meeting a certain person for lunch alone.  Whatever you line is draw it and stay behind it!

  1. Become Accountable to Someone

Find someone you can ask these questions to:  “Did you compromise your standards last week?” or “Have you been getting your emotional needs met from someone other than your mate?”  Having someone to be accountable to for the commitments you have made in your marriage will help in affair-proofing your marriage.

Marriage should be a life-long commitment!  We live in culture where we are taught new is always better and if something or someone isn’t meeting our needs than commitment and disloyalty are okay.  This is an individualistic view and not what marriage should be.  Marriage is about “us.”  Take a look at where you are in your own marriage.  Have you had thoughts about straying?  Do you talk to someone at work or when you go to the gym that you have an emotional connection with that may be inappropriate?    Evaluate your marriage and start working on ways to affair-prove it today.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side!

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Dating on a Budget

Have you ever gone over your monthly budget and realize you are going to have to cut your expenses somewhere and usually that “somewhere” ends up being those categories that fall under “date nights”?  For my husband and I, this seems to happen a lot, especially as our children get older and their involvement in extracurricular activities seems to drain the household budget.

Something my spouse and I enjoy doing is brainstorming about date ideas that are fun and budget-friendly.  A few of our dates have involved star gazing using an app on our phones, writing down topics on slips of paper and taking turns pulling them from a hat and writing poems about them.  After writing the poems we take turns reading them to each other.  Another inexpensive date we enjoy is going to the store and picking out a treat for under $5 and eating it while we snuggle on the couch, watching a movie we rented from the Redbox, after the kids go to bed.

Whitney Hopler, a contributing writer to crosswalk.com goes over “8 types of dates you and your spouse can enjoy together for only about $10”:

 

Adventure Dates: 

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  • Pretend you and your spouse are tourists visiting your hometown and visit tourist attractions you haven’t been to before
  • Go on a shopping adventure and surprise each other with a gift costing no more than $5
  • Attend a free community seminar or workshop together
  • Go exploring on some back roads in your area, going only as far out and back as $10 of gas will take you
  • Visit a home improvement store and plan future home projects together

Out-on-the-town dates: 

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  • Have dinner at home and then go to a fancy restaurant and just order desserts
  • Go to a store that sells greeting cards and choose one to give each other and then put them back
  • Tour homes that are on sale during open house events
  • Go to the public library together
  • Go to places that are significant to your relationship, where good memories were created, and take photos of each other at those places now
  • Eat breakfast in bed
  • Run errands together
  • Visit a museum in your area

At-home dates: 

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  • Watch a movie that you had seen during your first year of dating
  • Play a favorite board game
  • Cook together
  • Watch your wedding video and reminisce about that special day

Outdoor dates: 

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  • Go on a hike
  • Enjoy a campfire or fireplace
  • Stream a movie through a mobile device at an outdoor location
  • Go to a local youth sporting event together
  • Exercise together
  • Go to a local playground and play together like children there
  • Take a walk

Marriage pick-me-up dates: 

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  • Do family history together
  • Go to a place where you can talk privately about the current health of your relationship
  • Volunteer your time to work on a project or help someone in need together
  • Create a “bucket list” of places you would both like to travel
  • Identify people who have helped you as a couple and take time to express your gratitude to them

Romantic dates: 

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  • Have a picnic dinner under the stars
  • Enjoy a spa experience at home, with a romantic bath and massages
  • Take dancing lessons through free online videos
  • Meet your spouse at the door when they return home and offer to grant them three of their romantic wishes
  • People watch others in a hotel lobby
  • Surprise each other with inexpensive objects in a place that will help you communicate a significant message of love

Seasonal special dates: 

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  • Celebrate the arrival of spring by attending a local festival
  • Plant a garden together
  • Go swimming, boating, or fishing
  • Visit a farmers market
  • Pick your own fruit at a local orchard
  • Drive around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights

Unique and unusual dates: 

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  • Have a gold scavenger hunt in your house and sell any gold you no longer need
  • Prepare dinner together using the food you have in your pantry and freezer
  • Test drive a vehicle at a local dealership
  • Visit a local pet store and play with the animals there
  • Plan landscaping for your yard
  • Go to estates sales in your area and look for bargains under $10

Don’t let money get in the way of going on dates with your spouse.  With a little imagination and brainstorming, dating on a budget can be an adventure you can enjoy together.  Take some time to sit down with your spouse and make a list of inexpensive dating ideas together so when money gets tight you can continue to date, worry free!

 

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Healthy Benefits of Sex in Marriage

We are constantly hearing that we need to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep,  but what kind of benefits do we reap by getting intimate with our spouse?  Yes, sex in a marriage improves your health!  I have felt the benefits of love-making with my spouse throughout my marriage including some of the benefits Woman’s Day shares in “8 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex”:

  1. It May Make You Thinner
  • Sex burns between 75 and 150 calories per hour
  • It counts as exercise and is equivalent to yoga, dancing, or walking for 30 minutes
  1. It May Improve Your Heart Health
  • Researchers found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half
  • It raises heart rate and blood flow
  1. It Can Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep
  • People who have frequent sex often report handling stress better
  • Many say they sleep more deeply and restfully after satisfying lovemaking
  1. It Can Boost Your Immune System
  • Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30 percent higher immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system
  • During cold and flu season wash your hands and make a bedroom date with your spouse—often!

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  1. It Can Improve Your Mental Health
  • Psychologically, sex improves one’s mental health by building intimacy and reducing stress
  • Sex reduces cortisol which lowers the chances of increased blood pressure, hyperglycemia and increased acidity in the abdomen
  1. It Can Help Relieve Pain
  • Sexual arousal and orgasm allows oxytocin to be secreted into the body which releases pain relieving endorphins
  • The next time you have a headache…sex may be the remedy you are looking for
  1. It Can Help You with Bladder Control
  • Doing Kegel exercises during sex helps strengthen the muscle associated with incontinence
  1. It May Give You Healthier Skin
  • During sex, your body produces a hormone called DHEA which can boost the immune system and give you healthier skin and decrease depression
  • Throw away that expensive face cream and increase intimacy with your spouse instead

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Making intimacy a priority in your marriage not only has health benefits but it brings you closer together in mind, body and spirit.  If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping at night or tend to get stressed easily, don’t take a Tylenol P.M., turn to your spouse for a remedy that only he or she can give you and have fun in the process!

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Text Messages Your Spouse Would Love

 

From the article “How to improve your marriage by texting…” Gordon Brewer found that “97% of smart phone users use texting.  And as of 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans own smart phones.  So it is very likely that you communicate with your spouse via text messages.”

Let’s face it!  If we own a cell phone it rarely leaves our side and we are constantly using it to communicate with others.  How often do we use it to create closeness and intimacy in our relationship with our spouse?  How often do we use texting when we are trying to solve a conflict with our spouse?

Brewer believes trying to solve conflicts through texting “sets a couple up for failure” and he lists some simple guidelines on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of texting your spouse:

The Do’s:

1. Text your spouse love notes often!
2. Only use texting for non-crucial conversations.
3. Texting is great for grocery lists, when you will be home, when to get the kids or what’s for dinner…
4. Sending each other pictures of fun stuff (only appropriate stuff!).
5. Sending affirmations, “warm-fuzzes” and “just thinking of you” are always okay and encouraged.
6. Only handle conflicts face to face; take texting off the table when it comes to disagreements about things.

The Don’ts:

1. Never use texting to settle the argument from the night before, or anytime for that matter.
2. Never send criticisms, jabs or hateful messages.
3. If it takes more than a sentence or two to say what you want to say, you should probably call or wait until you are face to face.
4. Never complain about your spouse to others in a text message or pull someone else in to help you “win” the argument.
5. If you have saved text messages from past arguments, never use those as future ammunition. That is just not fighting fair! Delete them.
6. Never use texting to have deep or intimate conversations. Save it for when you are face to face.

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 One of my favorite things to receive is a screen shot of a meme or cute quote from my sweetie.  Although this act is simple and takes only a few seconds to do, it always brings a smile to my face.   I am amazed at how much one little text message can help me to feel more emotionally connected to my husband.

Katie Secretary shares “14+ text messages to send your hubby” (or your wife) that she sent her husband in celebration of her 14th Wedding anniversary.  I loved the idea of sending the same number of text messages to your sweetheart as the years you’ve been married, to celebrate your wedding anniversary!  Here are some of the messages Katie shared:

  • “You are AMAZING. Just thought you should know”.
  • “How did I get so lucky to have you?”
  • Being with you…is the best!”
  • “Your boss is lucky to have you. I’m proud of how hard you work.”
  • “I LOVE being your wife.” (You could switch “wife” for “husband”)
  • “I love you to the moon and back.”
  • “You’re my hero!”
  • “I’m having one of those days that make me realize how lost I’d be without you…Just wanted to let you know.”
  • “I had a dream about you and I woke up smiling…”
  • “I thought about you and it made me smile.”
  • “Our kids are so blessed to have a dad like you.” (replace “dad” with “mom”)
  • “I feel safe with you.”
  • “I thought about you and it made me smile.”
  • Tell your spouse 3 reasons you appreciate them today

One app that I enjoy using is Bitmoji.  This app allows you to design an avatar that looks like you, which makes the text message you send that much more personal.

Here are a few I’ve sent to my husband:

                              

If you avoid the “don’ts” of texting and follow the “do’s” you can find creative and exciting ways of improving your communication with your spouse through the wonderful world of technology.  The next time you are checking your e-mail or Facebook page on your phone, take a few moments to send your spouse a message, letting them know you are thinking about them and how much you love them.

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Fire Proof Your Marriage: Conclusion

Conclusion:  Taking on the 40-day “Love Dare” Challenge

To access the full 40-day challenge click here!

Being in an intimate relationship isn’t always easy.  There are going to be days when you feel like giving up and just taking the risk of letting those “hot spots” grow and fester, until before you know it, you are dealing with a 5 alarm “relationship” fire.   This is not the solution.

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It’s your turn!!  My challenge to you, is to take on the “Love Dare”—a  40-day series, based on the book  “The Love Dare” by Stephen and Alex Kendrick,  of challenges and activities designed to help husbands and wives understand and practice unconditional love and possibly rekindle some of those sparks that have gone dim. This challenge can help those that feel like their marriages are about to go up in flames or for those that feel their marriage is solid but want to continue to do things to nourish and strengthen it. For the “Fire Proof Your Marriage,”  series we only touched on four out of the 40 “Love Dare” challenges.  Consider doing all 40 “Love Dare” challenges with your spouse or getting some other couples involved and trying it together.  If you want to take this dare a step further, write your experiences in a journal.

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From personal experience, I can tell you it works!  It was not easy to do, but in the end I walked away feeling happier about myself, feeling closer to my husband, and feeling like I could put out those fires that have the potential of sending my relationship burning out of control, leaving only a trail of destruction behind.  

In the article “We Took the Love Dare”, Mary Lebeau writes about her experiences with her husband Scott.  Here are a couple of her journal entries:

Day 12: Love lets others win

The Dare: Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

To paraphrase Dorothy to the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz: “I think this one will hurt most of all.” I hate to lose. I always have. When I do have a position on a topic, it’s pretty hard (read: almost impossible) to change my mind…

So when Scott decided to okay our daughter’s bedtime snack even though she hadn’t eaten her dinner, I bit my tongue. Okay, I admit that wasn’t much of an argument, but we do have a lot of disagreement about parenting, and this was the only issue that came up today. I’m going to have to remember to keep doing this beyond today, as I’m willing to surrender my pride to keep my marriage healthy and strong.

Day 2: Love is kind

The Dare: In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

I was feeling a bit challenged about the dare. Show a gesture of kindness? I wasn’t sure what to do with that. I wanted to clean our bedroom, which certainly would be a huge act of kindness (for both of us!), but I didn’t get to finish it. Life intervened—Scott went to the doctor because of back pain, and learned he had to be tested for kidney stones. So I took over cooking duties while he went for his ultrasound. (No results yet, so we’re praying that, no matter what it is, it doesn’t cause him much pain.)…

Thinking about it, I came to a revelation. My husband is really good at being kind, especially when it comes to me. He’s good at small gestures and back rubs and making the kids’ lunches before he leaves for work. He used to do the last one because I’d be up working, but now that I’ve cut way back on writing, he still does it and lets me stay in bed. That is really kind (especially because he’s more of a “sleeper” than I am).

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I DARE YOU to take on the “Love Dare” and see what amazing things can happen in your relationship with your spouse!

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R.A.M. – Touch

The fifth dynamic to know someone in How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk by Dr. John Van Epp is touch.

What does it mean to touch?

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary touch means, “to put your hands, fingers, etc., on someone or something; to be in contact with.”  I like these definitions because it is pretty straight forward on the meaning of touch. When I touch my husband I hold his hand, put my head on his shoulder or chest, cuddle, kiss, etc. I LOVE being able to share something with my husband that only he and I can share with each other!

In the RAM by John Van Epp, it is impossible to have touch in a relationship if there is no know, trust, rely, and commitment.  So, if we want to have a successful relationship we need to get to know somebody first, learn to trust them and learn to rely on them. Once you get that far you are able to commit to them more easily and then touch lastly. You can’t have a successful relationship if your touch bar is higher than your know and trust bar. I remember when I was dating my husband and I waited to show him affection until I got to know, trust, rely, and commit to him more. Once the bar rose on each dynamic, I felt comfortable sharing and showing my affection for him.

In the beginning of marriage, it’s easy to put a lot or all of your focus on the beauty of being physically intimate with one another. However, after years of marriage, some lose that passion for one another.

Focus On The Family came out with an article called, Keep the Spark Alive. In the article it reads, “The passion is gone. We might as well be roommates. We’ve heard disappointed couples make similar statements countless times during our careers as sex therapists. And the statement is not without some truth. There’s something fleeting about the excitement and passion of a new relationship. Before long, the daily pressures of life nudge out those giddy emotions, and the surge of “newness” brain chemicals slow to a trickle. Some couples are so busy raising children and dealing with stressful jobs that physical intimacy has imply slipped in their priorities – or at least in one of the spouses’ priorities. Regardless of how much the flames have died down, couples can learn to revitalize their sexual relationship and build deeper passion over their lifetime.”

Talk to your spouse about physical intimacy and talk freely. Share each others likes and dislikes and make sure you respectfully talk through differences and create a plan that works for both of you.

Focus On The Family shared a Formula for Intimacy

Connect 15 minutes a day
Emotionally: Look into each other’s eyes; share a positive thought, feeling or affirmation of the other.
Spiritually: Share an inspirational reading and prayer.
Physically: Hug for 20 seconds: kiss passionately for 5 to 30 seconds without leading to sex.

One evening a week
Walk, date, caress with no demands.

One day a quarter
Make time for special fun and playing together without distractions; lead and teach enjoyable touch.

One weekend a year
Spend time alone together away or at home with no distractions.

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Fire Proof Your Marriage: Part 4

“Love is Accountable”

Are their behaviors in your relationship with your partner that are unhealthy or not in the best interest of your marriage?  How do you handle those behaviors?  Do you judge, punish, or try to force your spouse to change?  Do you have personal accountability in your marriage?

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In the article Love Essentially:  Relationships hinge on accountability Jackie Pilossoph  says “Every couple fights…But the distinguishing factor between working together versus calling it quits comes down to one word:  accountability.”

Taking accountability is being able to admit you are at fault and then apologizing.  This sounds so simple, right?  If you are anything like me,  admitting that I am wrong and using the words “I’m sorry” make me feel like I have lost a battle. Admitting that I’m wrong is like pulling teeth!

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What can I do to get past my unwillingness to take accountability for my wrongs in my relationship?

Pilossoph says, “It takes courage to engage in retrospection, humility and true honesty.  Accountability means taking a hard look in the mirror and owning up to a problem you caused or contributed to.  Further more, it means having the guts to attempt to fix what you did, either by asking for help or applying the discipline to change the behavior.”

Confessions of a Terrible Husband:  Lessons Learned from a Lumpy Couch gives several tips “to help you, and your spouse become accountable to each other”:

  1. Identify areas of your life and marriage you both need accountability for.
  2. Let each other know about these areas, and discuss them.
  3. Ask your spouse to keep you accountable.
  4. Let them review and assess the areas you need accountability for.
  5. Make your home a safe environment for accountability.
  6. Be quiet and listen when your spouse is talking.
  7. Be honest with the constructive feedback you give, and receive each other’s feedback with enthusiasm. Feedback will allow you to access what you might be doing wrong.

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It can be really, really hard to admit we are wrong in our marriage, but admitting we are wrong, not only leads to more trust and understanding but it makes you a hero.  My “Love Dare” for you is to stop trying to find blame and fault in your spouse but to be more willingly to step up, take accountability and apologize for any wrongs you have done.  As you do this you will create more harmony in your home and find more joy in your marriage.

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R.A.M. – Commit

The fourth dynamic to know someone in How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk by Dr. John Van Epp is Commitment.

What does commit/commitment mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary rely means, “a promise to be loyal to someone or something; the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something.” I like this definition because when we commit to someone it means we promise to be loyal and true to them. When I married my husband, I made a commitment that I would be loyal and faithful to him. We made a commitment together that we are going to make our marriage and relationship last.

Focus on the Family shared an article called Strengthening Martial CommitmentIn the article they share three levels of commitment:

  1. Personal Commitment, a.k.a. “I Want To.” If you have a high level of personal commitment to your marriage, you may find yourself saying or thinking, “I want to continue in my marriage. I take pleasure in being married. I enjoy being committed to my spouse.”
  2. Moral Commitment, a.k.a. “I Ought To.” The with a high level of moral commitment might say, “I believe staying in my marriage is the right thing to do. I’ll stick it out because of my values and beliefs. I made a commitment before God and I should keep my word.”
  3. Structural Commitment, a.k.a. “I Have To” If you have a high level of structural commitment, the following statements may apply to you: External constraints are keeping me in my marriage. I have to stay married. I can’t afford the negative consequences of divorce on my finances, my social relationships and the way others might perceive me. Divorce would also be detrimental for my children.”

“Although one facet of commitment may sound “better” or more virtuous than another, our relationships benefit from having all three.”

In marriage it is VITAL to have and show commitment to your spouse. Commitment in marriage takes more than words, it takes action. In my own marriage, one way that my husband and I show commitment to each other is that we agreed that we won’t put ourselves in situations where we are left  alone with someone of the opposite sex. For example: we won’t drive alone with someone of the opposite sex or be left at someones house alone with someone of the opposite sex. Of course there are some situations we cannot avoid this such as the workplace or school. We don’t want to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations where there might be temptations.

The article Strengthening Martial Commitment shares ways to strengthen your level of commitment:

  • Pray. Seek God and His will for your life and your marriage. Spend time in honest reflection. Ask Him to show you how to be the spouse He wants you to be. Pray for strength and unity in your marriage.
  • Say it with actions. Let your behavior reflect your commitment. Make yourself available when your spouse wants to talk. Spend time alone with your spouse. Laugh together. Date each other. Plan for your future together. Build hedges where necessary to guard against external temptations and distractions.
  • Say it with words. Tell your spouse that you are committed to your marriage for the rest of your life. Let your kids know that you and your spouse are committed to each other through thick and thin.
  • Remind yourself of all the positive aspects of your relationship. What do you love about your spouse? How has being married blessed you? How has marriage made you grow? Make a list if you have to and review it often.
  • Set goals. How would you like to see your marriage grow? What areas would you like to see improve? Map out a game plan to achieve those goals and work toward them. Seek outside help if necessary.
  • Get others involved. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who share your values and want to see your marriage succeed. Form accountability partners. Seek out an older married couple to mentor you and your spouse.
  • Go public. Renew your wedding vows. Publicly express your continued commitment to your spouse. Invite friends and loved ones to pledge their support for your marriage.

How do you and your spouse show commitment to each other?

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Fire Proof Your Marriage: Part 3

“Love Fights Fair”


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I don’t know how it goes for you when you get in an argument with your spouse, but for me it’s usually about having one “winner” and one “loser” at the end of it.  Is this truly the way we should be approaching a “fight”?  Are there healthy ways to resolve our disagreements where you both feel good about the outcome?

In the article “Fighting Fair in A Relationship:  How to Get What You Need and Stay Close While You Do It,” Karen Young talks about 19  “do’s” and “don’ts”  about fight fair:

  1. Don’t Fear Conflict
  •   When you are in a devoted and close relationship conflict will exist.  Conflict is how you are able to learn from and see each other’s side on issues.  Not seeing eye-to-eye is “normal, healthy, and sometimes necessary when there is something important at stake for both of you.”
  1.  Attack the Issue, Not Each Other
  •  In the heat of the moment it can be easy to say things that we can’t take back.  “Don’t name call or bring the other person down to get on top of the argument.”  Sometimes it is good to take a “timeout” from the argument for a few minutes, to regroup and rejoin the conversation when both of you are less emotional and able to think more clearly.
  1.  Stay with the Issue at Hand
  •  How many times have you rehashed old issues in order to win?  I have been guilty of this myself.  This just leads to more contention and less problem solving.  “It’s the quickest way to send an argument off track and land you in a place you forget what you were fighting for.”
  1.  Don’t Confuse the Topics with the Issue
  •  Often times when we begin arguing with our spouse other issues that have been unresolved come up.  You may start arguing about the topic of leaving the toilet seat up and for some reason that leads back in to the unsettled issue of rising credit card debt.   “If you keep fighting over different things but you always seem to end up on the same issue (e.g. money or the night he/you came home late), that issue is actually where your work needs to be…Give what’s needed for the issue to let go of the grip it has on your relationship…”
  1.  Don’t Downplay the Issue
  • Ignoring a problem does not make it go away! “If feelings or needs aren’t resolved, the will come out through other topics.”
  1. Don’t’ Withdraw, or Chase
  • It can be easy to put up our defensive walls when we are feeling attacked and refuse to engage in an argument.  It can also be easy to pursue the argument if we are feeling ignored.  “One way to change that is to name your contribution to the issue… ‘I know I probably haven’t helped things by…’ or, ‘I know I upset you when I…’ This makes it easier for your partner to trust that you aren’t only out for blood.”
  1.  Be Open, Nobody Can Read Your Mind
  • How much easier would it be if we could read minds!?!  How many times have you had a disagreement expecting your spouse to already know what is wrong without being told? Guilty!  “Research has shown that people who expect a partner to mind read are more likely to feel anxious or neglected.”
  1.  Find the Real Emotion beneath the Anger
  •  In my own marriage I find that it is easy to accuse each other of being angry.  That is the “go to” emotion to turn too.  “But anger is a secondary emotion—it never exists on its own and always has another emotion beneath it.”  If you can get to the real emotion being expressed you will have more success in responding to your partners true concern.
  1.  Be Attentive
  • There is nothing worse than feeling like your spouse is not listening to you.  Having the television on during an argument in our house is sure to lead to one of us feeling like the other isn’t listening.  Give your spouse you undivided attention, no matter what!
  1. Don’t Yell
  • “If the argument is at yelling point, nobody is being heard because nobody is listening. At this point, someone needs to be the hero and calm it all down.”
  1.  Stay Away from ‘You Always’ or ‘You Never’
  • “Nobody is ‘always’ or ‘never’ anything and using these words will just inflame.”
  1.  Be Curious
  • If you aren’t asking for details than you are probably trying to come up with a rebuttal.  This type of strategy leads you nowhere fast!  “Slow things down and ask for details. This shows that you’re open to getting things sorted out.”
  1. Honestly Accept that Nobody is Perfect
  •  I have the hardest time accepting criticism but I can be really good at dishing it out.  This may be because of how my spouse is sending the message or because I am unwilling to accept that I have flaws.  “If you are the one with the wise words, say it in a way that can be heard by being generous in the delivery.”
  1.  Watch out for the Passive-Aggressive
  • ‘I’m just being honest …’, or ‘I’m not criticizing you but …’ or ‘You’re probably not going to like hearing this but …’
  1.  If You’re Wrong, Apologize
  2. If You’re Going around in Circles, Stop
  • If you feel like you are on a merry-go-round, saying the same things over and over again “slow things down and communicate to your partner your understanding of their side of things…try finding a different way to say it and check you aren’t too much on the attack.”
  1.  Find Common Ground
  •  Many times my husband and I end an argument with agreeing to disagree.  “Anything that will help to get you both back on the same team is a good thing.”
  1.  Give in or Compromise
  • “Any small concession is the groundwork for bigger ones.”
  1.  Don’t leave it unfinished
  • “Find a resolution, otherwise it will continue to press for closure.”
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The next time you feel like putting on those boxing gloves when you are fighting with your spouse, remember that a house divided against itself does not stand!  Talk with your spouse about setting rules of engagement went it comes to fighting fair and stick to those rules, no matter what!

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