Thursday, May 9, 2019

Do You THINK Before You Speak?

Think FirstThe way you communicate can make or break your relationships. It can gain or lose you a job. It can hurt or heal. It can affect whether you are successful or not. We are communicating more often than ever because the internet has made it easier to shoot out a meme, share a post or comment on someone else’s thoughts. The ease of communication is both amazing and deadly.

We all need to be reminded of the basics occasionally, so here’s a simple way to THINK about what to say, either in person or electronically.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“But I Don’t Like Confrontation”

ConfrontationWouldn’t it be nice if everyone always got along and communication was always agreeable? That, of course, is a fantasy that will never happen as long as human beings co-exist on Earth. The reality is that there are times when discussions must take place that involve disagreement or confrontation of a behavior or situation that needs to change, whether you like it or not. You may know someone who enjoys a good argument or seems to relish stirring up discussion about difficult subjects, but that doesn’t describe most people. It is more likely that you would rather run the other direction – and you are not alone!

I would have to say that fear of confrontation is one of the most common issues many of my clients face. It’s not uncommon for people to literally become sick to their stomachs at the thought of having to confront for fear of having it turn into a conflict or facing the possibility of rejection. Consequently, these same people often experience low self-esteem, sub-par relationships and emotional turmoil. They live with constant nagging of unresolved issues, anger and frustration. Resentment often creeps into their relationships, and sometimes the other person doesn’t even realize there is a problem.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Keep Conflict from Derailing Your Marriage

Conflict

In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman introduces the concept of “repair attempts” to keep conflict from derailing your marriage. According to Gottman, the success or failure of a couple’s repair attempts is one of the primary factors in whether their marriage flourishes or flounders. Along with Dr. Gottman’s principles, I’ve included my own practical applications for your marriage. Practice these reparative strategies regularly and watch your friendship grow.

A repair attempt is defined as any statement or action—silly or otherwise—that prevents negativity from escalating. Here are a few examples of phrases that can be effective repair attempts. Keep in mind that the absence of repair attempts is a strong predictor of marital failure.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Communicating Affection Without Talking

I frequently hear women express concerns about their husbands not communicating affection or what they think and feel about many topics – especially about them, personally, and their marriage. The husband usually responds with comments like, “You know I’m not a talker” or “I can’t communicate as well as you can.”

Communicating AffectionAlthough most men do have the ability to effectively communicate with their wives they often don’t, and there are many different reasons that we won’t go into now.

Before we go farther, let me clarify that there are some couples in which it’s the wife who has the greater challenge with communication, but since the majority of “non-talkers” are men we will assume this in order to keep it simple. If you are/have a quiet wife, feel free to apply the information as it suits your situation.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Communication Myths that can Cripple Your Marriage – Part II

Last time we talked about the first 5 of 10 myths that cause a great deal of frustration and pain in many marriages. Although these myths can be destructive they are rather common in that most people believe one or more of them at some time, even in a healthy marriage.

Communication Myths

To review, the first 5 myths are:

Myth 1: We should never go to bed angry.

Myth 2: My spouse ought to know what I think, feel and want.

Myth 3: A successful discussion always ends in agreement.

Myth 4: If we bring up or discuss a problem it needs to be solved now.

Myth 5: When I share my feelings my spouse must always do something in response.

Now we will look at Myths 6 through 10.

Myth 6: If my spouse rejects my views he/she is really rejecting me. 

Rejection hurts, especially from someone you care about. However, disagreement and rejection are two very different things. If disagreement feels like rejection to you, you may be caught in “personalization”. Personalization occurs when a person believes that whatever someone does or says is a direct, personal reaction to – or judgment of – them as a person. It is important to remember that your view on a particular issue is separate from who you are as an individual. You and your spouse both have the right to hold differing opinions, and that doesn’t have to be a problem. When a couple is able to respectfully reject each other’s views or opinions from time to time without personalizing, it actually demonstrates the strength of the marriage. Discussing different views helps to strengthen problem-solving, critical thinking and even intimacy. Remember, having a spouse who agrees with everything you believe and think is not only unhealthy, it’s boring.

Myth 7: If

Friday, June 19, 2015

How Do I Get My Husband to Help Around the House? Part III

In my first two posts addressing the question of how to get your husband to help around the house, I talked about two key components to the answer.  First, get rid of the mindset that you are a Volunteer Coordinator and replace it with a Partnership mindset.  The second part of the answer involves being open, honest and direct with your spouse about what you think, feel and need from them and when understanding is achieved, ask for agreement.

Help around the house

If your husband is willing to meet your need for equitably dividing up the responsibilities around the home and is in agreement with the final “plan” you are well on your way.  Congratulations!  The next step is to periodically review the agreement to see if it is working out as you both had hoped.  If it isn’t, continue to modify as appropriate and revisit again in the future.

This last post is for those instances when you might meet up with a little resistance or opposition from your husband.  In other words, he doesn’t want to see things change.

Monday, June 15, 2015

How Do I Get My Husband to Help Around the House? Part I

“How do I get my spouse to help around the house?  I’ve been married for 15 years and I still don’t know how to solve this problem.  What can I do?”  – (Sandy L.)

help around the house

Unequal division of labor related to children and household chores has been a growing problem, especially as more and more wives and mothers work both inside and outside of the home. It creates resentment and hostility and often leads to conflict. In fact, a couple’s inability to effectively remedy this problem can significantly undermine the quality of intimacy and connection in their marriage.

In the next several blog posts I will offer what I have found to be some highly effective tips for solving this very common and frustrating dilemma.

First of all, it’s true that more wives struggle with this issue than husbands, but I have seen plenty of men frustrated with it as well. So, although I will address the problem by answering Sandy’s question, the truths and strategies apply equally. You guys can be successful using the same approach.

So, Sandy, the first step in overcoming the problem of not knowing how to get your husband to start helping around the house is to STOP ASKING HIM TO HELP YOU!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Sabotage your relationships

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers – Part II

Men Asking Questions

Last week we started talking about how asking good questions in the right way could improve communication and cooperation with your staff and coworkers.  The first three recommendations were to listen carefully, control your emotions, and start with something positive.  Today we will discuss a few more strategies.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers – Part I

Here’s the scenario: It has just come to your attention that a customer filed a complaint about Mr. Smith, one of your employees. While your gut tells you that the customer may have overreacted a bit, there’s enough information to warrant a meeting with Mr. Smith. You know from past experience that he’s somewhat sensitive to criticism, but you have several legitimate concerns. How can you get the information you need without triggering a negative response from Mr. Smith?

Ask the Right Questions

Here’s another common office dilemma: You are meeting with a vendor who’s behind schedule and over budget on a project. You don’t want to jeopardize the job and you don’t want to burn a bridge with this company. However, you’re not at all satisfied with the way things are going and you need to take some answers back to your VP of Operations. What is your best approach?