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what to do when you disagree with your spouse
Ever had the same old fight over and over? Do you wonder why, or what in the world you can do about it? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, disagreeing with your spouse is normal. The bad news? According to Dr. John Gottman’s research, 69% of problems in relationships are perpetual or unsolvable. Couples will return to these issues over and over again in their relationship. These are often grounded in fundamental differences between two people: differences in personalities, needs, or expectations.
So, what do we do if all our problems can’t be solved like the fairy tales taught us? Gottman suggests creating a dialogue around them instead of attempting to solve them.
Sometimes, disagreements can bring a couple closer together. The key is how you and your spouse handle it when you disagree. Successful couples learn and grow together through difficult times.
Here are some steps to take when you disagree:
1. Don’t avoid the issue.
3. Practice empathy.
4. Be respectful.
5. Seek a resolution.
The goal of managing a disagreement isn’t to win. It’s to understand each other and find a mutually beneficial solution. Marriage is a partnership of two imperfect people choosing to build a life together and move toward each other throughout the journey. You’re going to disagree with your spouse, but you can use those disagreements to grow closer together.
steps to a productive marriage check-in
Staying on the same page with your spouse doesn’t happen by accident.
Businesses have staff meetings. Sports have team meetings. And marriages need marriage meetings. We’ll call these Marriage Check-Ins.
A Marriage Check-In is when you and your spouse meet to talk about marriage and family stuff.
Steps to a Productive Marriage Check-In:
Set a Time
Saturday mornings before kids need you and Sunday evenings after kids’ bedtimes are two great times. Put it on your calendar. Set the notifications. If you have to miss it, you can reschedule it right then.
No kids allowed. No technology except when it’s obviously adding to the value of the meeting, e.g., using your calendar or planning a date and looking up attractions.
You’ll probably have a routine. You may discuss on Saturday mornings over coffee or sit on the couch after the kids are in bed. Occasionally, change it up.
Always start by Appreciating Your Spouse
Your spouse will look forward to the check-ins because they know they’ll hear something positive about themselves.
Discuss upcoming schedules
Work schedule/changes, community meetings or activities, kids’ events, and social calendar all fall into this category.
Listen to Your Spouse’s Emotional, Mental, and Physical Needs
Generally, save this for last because it’s the most open-ended
Connect, grow, and course-correct. Your marriage will thank you!