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5 Things You Don’t Need to Have in Common With Your Spouse

You can let your differences complement each other.

When I first started dating my husband 32 years ago (but who’s counting?), the first thing I noticed about him besides his legs was how different we were from each other

I was concerned we didn’t have many things in common. Would this be a stumbling block to our future marriage? 

Now, I see the benefits. I see how not acting the same, not thinking the same, interacting with others exactly the same, or even having a whole lot in common became a strength in our marriage, not a problem. The things we didn’t have in common caused us to respect each other and support each other better. I had to stop myself from continually thinking we had to have everything in common. I realized the words from Jerry Maguire were absolutely wrong. It’s not about seeking to complete each other, but learning to complement each other despite differences.

Here are some things you and your spouse DON’T need to have in common:

1. Personality

From the very beginning of our relationship, my husband and I were and are different. He liked Lakers’ Showtime of the ’80s while I was a fan of the Bad Boys of Detroit. I loved pro football, and he was a big college football fan. I am an extreme extrovert who loves being around many people. At the same time, he is much more comfortable around a small group of close friends. Neither one of us is right or wrong. Instead, we learned to respect and embrace our differences.

2. Common Interests and Activities

Many couples struggle with the idea that they must spend “all their time together.” Yes, you and your spouse need to spend intentional quality time together. You don’t need to spend every waking moment together or have all your interests and activities in common. While you are a part of a couple, it’s vital for you as an individual to grow and develop. The key is to support your spouse in their activities. I enjoy reading. My husband—not so much. It makes me feel loved and valued when he goes to a bookstore with me while I just wander around. Or he takes care of our family while I head to a bookstore. In both cases, he is demonstrating his care and support for me and my interests.

3. Family/Cultural Background

Although my husband and I come from the same racial & ethnic background, our families are very different. My family is composed of biological family and friends that become family. His family was basically made of his immediate family, aunts, uncles, and biologically-related cousins. It doesn’t matter if you come from a single-parent family with one child or a large family with several children. You could have been born in Georgia while your spouse is from Utah. As long as you recognize and appreciate what you each bring to your relationship, it will not suffer because of your cultural differences.

4. Political Beliefs

As a young adult, I watched James Carville and Mary Matalin work for 2 different presidential campaigns. I watched how they disagreed politically yet didn’t let it negatively affect their relationship. Political beliefs are deeply felt and long-standing. Allowing your spouse to hold their opinions, which differ from yours, causes us to create spaces of patience, understanding, and civility. 

5. Housekeeping and Organizational Skills

As someone who is organizationally challenged, I am grateful that my husband and I don’t have this in common. If we did, we might have ended up on “Hoarders.” (Not really…) For him, everything has a place. For me, as long as I can find it, I’m good. The key is to respect each other and not mandate your spouse to change to be exactly like you. Remember, it’s about complementing each other, not making a clone.

Help! My Spouse and I Have Nothing in Common

We’re Total Opposites! Can Our Relationship Work?

★ For a long time, I wanted him to act like me, like the same things I liked; be involved with the same activities. I thought it would make our relationship better if we liked ALL the same things. I now understand and respect our differences. The fact that we are not the same and see things differently makes us STRONGER. We lovingly and consistently challenge each other to see old things in a new and unique way. 

No matter where you are in your relationship, it’s vital to love and accept your spouse for who they are without spending all of your energy worrying you don’t have things in common.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

What To Do When Your Family Disagrees About Politics

Keeping conversations civil can help you keep your relationships intact.

There are two things you don’t talk about: religion and politics.” I’ve heard that phrase since childhood. Seems like useful advice, but is the best way to address politics with your family not addressing it? Maybe it is, especially if your family disagrees about politics. Still, I don’t think it has to be the only choice.

As families come together for the holidays during a presidential election year, politics can be a sticky subject. If your family disagrees about politics, you have two choices. Either you don’t talk about it or establish some ground rules for how you’ll address the disagreements. Remember, first and foremost, your family’s relationships are more valuable than being right about a political dispute. 

Here are some ideas for how to keep the conversations civil when family members disagree:

(If you decide to engage in politics…)

Be respectful.

We don’t always agree with our family, whether that’s lifestyle choices, parenting styles, politics, the list goes on, and it’s okay. We’re humans, not robots. We should have opinions and passions, but just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I should disrespect you. If you embark on a political discussion and the encounter gets heated, put on the brakes. Before the conversation begins, lay some ground rules. A few rules could be no raising voices, no profanity, and no personal insults. The relationship is more important than voicing your opinions. 

Be open to learning.

Our political beliefs are often influenced by our individual situations. It’s okay to ask someone who disagrees with you politically why they believe what they believe. Don’t ask to respond but ask to understand. When we know the why behind someone’s political beliefs, we are often more compassionate toward that belief. This isn’t about swaying them to your side but genuinely understanding their point of view. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I disagree but understand and respect your viewpoint.” Being right should not be the goal; maintaining the relationship should be.

Be prepared to stop the conversation.

Politics bring on passion. When our heart rate increases and we get very passionate about what we’re discussing, we have a greater chance of speaking before we think. Be careful not to let your passion lead you to say something that will negatively impact the relationship. Remember, our goal here, if you choose to approach the subject of politics, is to have a civil discussion without damaging our family. A great way to pause a conversation is to say, “Thanks! You’ve given me something to think about. Can we come back to this topic at a later time?” Both parties feel heard.

Parents, this is for you… lean in. Be cautious about how you engage in political disagreements with kids around. Politics is an alien world to young children and can be very nasty. It’s not fair for kids to feel like they have to choose sides when family disagrees. They are watching what you say and how you react to those who disagree with you. Do take the opportunity to talk to them about the political process. Maybe have that discussion at your home. Check out this resource: How to Guide My Child Through Election Season.

So when your family disagrees about politics, remember this… relationships are more important than politics. As you prepare to gather for the holidays, this year may look a little different. It may be a little more stressful. But be diligent not to let political opinions damage the relationships you have with your loved ones.

6 Ways To Agree To Disagree With My Spouse

Sharpen your skills together for the marriage win!

If you’ve been married for a minute you know disagreements are going to come up between the two of you. But, have you ever had one of those disagreements where not only were you on opposite sides of the issue, neither one of you was willing to budge?

Guess what? You’re in good company. Plenty of marriages have experienced this; they may just not be talking about it because what does it really say about your relationship if you can’t figure out how to come to some type of compromise? Asking for a friend, right?

It’s actually possible to agree to disagree without experiencing distress in your marriage. Meaning, both people have accepted the other’s point of view without agreeing on it and they are moving on.

For some couples, this is a very far-fetched idea.

The key to couples learning how to agree to disagree is learning how to be good listeners and knowing how to value and express appreciation for their perspective, even if you have a completely different point of view.  

Typically, what happens in a marriage when spouses disagree is one person shares their perspective. Instead of really listening to what the person is saying, the other spouse is focusing on words or phrases they want to respond to. So, they don’t really hear all that their spouse said. And, while responding, the same thing happens with the other spouse which creates this dangerous downward spiral, leaving both people feeling unheard and not valued.

What if you both agreed to hear each other out?

Scott Stanley, Howard Markman, and Susan Blumberg have been researching couples for more than three decades. One of the things they learned is, it’s hard for couples to slow down long enough to hear each other before jumping in with a response. They came up with an effective way to help couples hear each other called “The Speaker/Listener Technique,” which is also known as “The Floor.”

Here’s how it works.

One spouse has “the floor.” The “floor” could be an index card, a piece of paper, anything that is a visible reminder of who is speaking at the moment. That person chooses one topic—only one topic—to talk about from their perspective.

The other spouse does not have “the floor.” They are the listener. Think of this as being an investigator. The goal is for your spouse to feel heard when they finish sharing with you. You’ve asked questions in a way that makes them know you are listening. Your spouse knows you value what they have to say—even if you don’t agree with them

Here are some other strategies to help you when it’s clear you need to agree to disagree with your spouse:

  1. Make sure your spouse feels heard. Sharpen those listening skills.
  2. Guard against allowing the disagreement to create resentment or bitterness between the two of you.
  3. Accept that it’s possible neither of you may be wrong—you just see the situation from different perspectives. It’s like being at the scene of an accident and two people telling what happened from two completely different angles. Neither is wrong, just different. Different isn’t bad. (See #5.)
  4. Make an extra effort to love through the disagreement. In other words, don’t punish each other for not seeing things eye to eye all the time.
  5. Different is good! Don’t forget, differences are like ingredients in a recipe. If you only have one ingredient, it will be a very bland dish. The different ingredients allow your tastebuds to experience the dish in an entirely different way. The same is true in your marriage.
  6. If you’re experiencing great difficulty getting past something that’s causing stress or distress in your marriage, a third party may be able to help you.

It’s not always easy to disagree without being disagreeable. Keep in mind, the one you love is far more valuable than proving your point or being right. Highly happy couples will tell you there are plenty of moments where they’ve agreed to disagree about certain things, but they never lost sight of the fact they were on the same team and their marriage was more important than whatever threatens to come between them. There is a better “right” than being right. 

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

You see things differently than you used to. You’re living a healthier lifestyle. You go out less. You interact differently with people. You’re investing more time into hobbies.

You love the way you feel—happier, healthier, and less stressed—except in your marriage. Your spouse seems agitated with you which just doesn’t make any sense.

Shouldn’t they be glad you’re improving and becoming a better person?

Your spouse may not see it that way, especially at first. Here’s why!

Feelings of insecurity.

Change often feels threatening. They might feel like you’re moving away from them with all the changes. It might be time to sit down and talk with your spouse about your “why” behind all the changes.  

Feeling judged.

If your spouse feels judged by your attitude toward them, it might be time to ask yourself, “Am I actually becoming a better version of myself?”

Feeling Manipulated.

If there’s the slightest feeling you’re trying to change your spouse, you can expect there will be tension. 

Related: My Spouse Has Changed.

★ As you grow and continue to better yourself, it will affect your marriage and your family. Naturally, your spouse may see it from a different perspective.

How can you work through it?

Never stop talking to one another.

Regularly talking to your spouse about what’s important to you gives them the chance to support you even if they aren’t “joining” you.

Understand their concerns.

Resist the temptation to get defensive. Put effort into listening to their concerns. Believe the best about your spouse. 

Don’t try to change your spouse.

There are strengths in your differences. Their path to becoming the best version of themselves will look different.

People respond to change differently. Through one’s eyes, it’s great and through another set of eyes, it’s potentially destructive. The uncertainty leads to unrest. 

The ultimate test is: Does your change have a positive impact on your marriage? 

Patience, empathy, and understanding must be the foundations of your communication with each other to help change be seen as growth to better yourselves and your marriage.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Have you ever thought about how poor communication could be affecting your marriage? To be honest, for the first five years of our marriage, I don’t think I really thought much about communication in our marriage because I thought I was a decent communicator… until several “situations” occurred, the biggest of which was the time I expected my husband to read my mind.

I know. I know. It’s not possible, but hey, I was young and we were just getting started. The deal was, we made some pretty hefty purchases one year so I told my husband I didn’t think we should buy each other anything for Christmas. He agreed.

Now, when I made that suggestion, in my mind what I really meant was, you don’t need to get me anything, but it would be nice if you got me a little something. So, you know the rest of the story. Christmas day arrived, I pulled out a little something for him and he looked at me like, “Wait, what?” (Let’s just say my response was not my finest moment.) 

My poor communication created a totally unnecessary rift between the two of us.

Can you relate?

There are plenty of ways poor communication has the potential to affect your marriage. Just so I’m not leaving it up to your imagination what poor communication looks like, here are a few examples:

  1. Holding your spouse accountable for unspoken expectations you have about your relationship.
  2. Giving your spouse the silent treatment when there is an issue between the two of you.
  3. Multitasking when your spouse is trying to tell you something.
  4. Interrupting them, talking over them, or finishing their sentences for them.
  5. Listening only to respond versus listening to understand.
  6. Expecting your spouse to read your mind.

★ Let’s flip these and look at how they can impact your marriage.

  1. When you don’t share relationship expectations with your spouse it almost always leads to disappointment and disconnection, not to mention resentment and bitterness.
  1. Staying silent when you are upset sets your spouse up to play the guessing game about what is bothering you. This typically leads to wrong assumptions and makes it practically impossible for your relationship to grow.
  1. If we are being totally honest here, we all know that even if we think we are great multitaskers, it’s impossible to really focus on what someone is saying while we’re doing anything else (unless, of course, you’re taking notes on what they’re saying). When we try to multitask and listen, chances are great we will miss something important they said, a facial expression or the tone of voice they used, which are all important pieces of information.
  1. Some spouses talk about being able to finish their spouse’s sentences as if it were a sign of “we have finally arrived.” But if you asked the spouse whose sentences are always being finished for them, they probably wouldn’t say they consider this a term of endearment. It doesn’t feel good to have people talk over you, finish your sentence, or interrupt you when you are trying to communicate.
  1. Too many of us have experienced a spouse who only listens to respond. Meaning, they aren’t really listening to understand the issue at hand. Instead, they are preparing their case in their head for how they will respond when you finally stop talking. When this happens in a relationship, it leads to people shutting down, walking on eggshells, and feeling like the relationship is adversarial versus being on the same team.
  1. Back to my Christmas story. I expected my spouse to read my mind and know what I was thinking. When that didn’t happen it led to disappointment, frustration, a boatload of unnecessary drama, and me being angry at him when I really should have turned the mirror on myself. Let me just put it out there: nobody can read our minds and they shouldn’t have to. Making our spouse guess what we need is swimming in dangerous relationship waters.

Here’s the deal, nobody’s perfect and anybody can find themselves slipping into poor communication tactics that affect their marriage.

But, if you know what the landmines are, it makes it easier to either avoid them or catch yourself if you start down that road so you can do something different. 🔎 Even if some of these are things you do frequently, you can definitely learn new communication strategies. Pick one to work on this week!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Image from Unsplash.com

Tired of the so-so communication in your marriage? 

Check out this hefty DIGITAL E-BOOK by Marriage Researchers & Therapists

Inside, you’ll find:

  • How and why you and your spouse communicate differently, and what to do about it
  • 5 proven listening techniques that will pump up the intimacy in your relationship
  • 4 ways to start and end difficult conversations well
  • 5 ways you may be hindering communication with your spouse without realizing it
  • AND MORE!

PLUS! Every section has an easy, no-stress discussion guide created for you and your partner to build the communication you want in your marriage.

My Spouse and I Have Different Political Views

Focusing on your marriage goals can help you navigate any political disagreements you have.

When Trump was elected President in 2016, Wakefield Research found 1 in 10 couples ended relationships over their political differences. For millennials, it was twice that. With the next presidential election upon us, many wonder if marriages with different political views can survive the increased volatility of the times.

political views

Susan and Darrell* have been married for more than a decade. In that time, they have experienced two presidential elections where they each voted for opposite sides of the aisle. If you ask them how their marriage is today, they will tell you it’s great…

But how can your marriage be great when you disagree on such huge issues?

Susan and Darrell certainly aren’t alone when it comes to being on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Nearly 30% of married households are bipartisan. In fact, there are some pretty well-known, long-married couples who have navigated these waters for years. Take James Carville, a Democrat and Mary Matalin, a Republican. Married since 1993, Carville says in Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home, which he co-authored with his wife, “I’d rather stay happily married than pick a fight with my wife over politics.” 

That right there is the key. A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (Explaining the impact of differences in voting patterns on resilience and relational load in romantic relationships during the transition to the Trump presidency) found that couples who actively maintain their relationship are better able to “weather the storm” of an election because they build up positive emotions that protect the relationship during difficult times. So, even if you vote differently, actively maintaining your relationship can help you keep feeling emotionally connected to each other and reduce the propensity for stress and conflict.

For example, in an interview with U.S. News and World Report, Mary Matalin shares that she and her husband have many interests other than politics that they enjoy doing together like fishing, cooking and learning about history. “Talking about the impact of the minimum wage is just not something that is high on our list of fun things to do,” she says.

What does this mean for couples who find themselves with opposing political perspectives? Susan and Darrell, along with other couples in the same political boat say this: “Instead of allowing your political differences to divide you, see it for what it is and don’t allow it to take center stage in your marriage. There are a lot of things we agree on and enjoy doing together. We choose to focus on those things.” 

When you find that you and your mate differ on things like politics, these tips can help you navigate through those differences for the good of your marriage:

  • Avoid trying to change your spouse. Trying to get your spouse to change will only create angst in your marriage. You can appreciate the fact that they are active in the political process and exercise their right to vote (just like you), which is a really good thing and not something to take for granted. 
  • Know that every married couple has issues they agree to disagree on for the duration of their marriage. Let politics be one of them. 
  • Focus on why you married them in the first place.
  • Build up those positive emotions that protect your marriage. Compliment your spouse. Speak kindly about them to others. Be intentional about focusing on the things you love about your spouse and your relationship.
  • Rein in negativity. The more you think negative thoughts about your differences, the more you teach your brain to think negatively about your spouse. This is a dangerous downward spiral that can take you places you do not want to go.
  • Appreciate ways that you are not the same. Differing opinions and perspectives can offer depth and the ability to practice empathy in a relationship.
  • Put safeguards in place such as agreeing that you aren’t going to talk about politics and you for sure are not going to chide your spouse about their political persuasion.
  • Remember what matters most. Your marriage is more important than many differences you have, including politics. It will likely outlast any president’s tenure. 
  • Be respectful. Even when you disagree with your spouse, you can still be respectful. (Here’s why respect matters.)

A pandemic + a struggling economy + an election all in the same year can = frayed nerves, anxiety and an unusual level of sensitivity.

These things can magnify differences in your marriage that normally wouldn’t be a big deal. Knowing that this moment in time is especially extraordinary and putting some safeguards in place can protect your marriage. This allows you to focus on the goals you have set for your marriage… even when you disagree.

*names have been changed.

While you’re engaged, conversations tend to hover endlessly around the wedding day, and naturally so. Though working out the details and planning your celebration is exciting, having conversations about other topics is important, too. 

You and your fiancé are stepping into something beautiful—a promise of commitment, a proclamation of loving each other now and falling in love over and over again, a 24/7 best friend, and a person who wants to love you at your best and through the worst. You owe it to each other to take the time to appreciate what you have and to continue the pursuit.

One way to pursue each other is to sit down and have important conversations. Continue to learn about each other, find a middle ground for things you may not have the same opinion on, and keep the door open to come back to these conversations down the road. As time goes by, things can change, and so can you. 

5 Conversations Every Engaged Couple Should Have Before They Say, “I Do”

1. Talk about the importance of marriage, what it means to you both and what you hope for it to look like.

Being on the same page about why marriage is important to you helps you both take ownership of your relationship and establishes its value. When you take the time to lay out your hopes and expectations, you invite your spouse into the opportunity to make those happen. If you don’t voice what you expect from your future spouse, you’ll set them up for failure and yourself up for disappointment.

2. Do you want children?

If one of you does and the other doesn’t, this could be quite an obstacle to get over. It is important not to assume the other’s answer in this particular conversation because it intimately affects what the future looks like. Talking about this as an engaged couple is a really big deal.

3. How do you handle conflict and what rules do you want to establish on how to fight when you do?

Conflict is inescapable for any relationship, says Psychologist Dan Wile, but some of the best news is that conflict handled well actually brings you closer instead of pulling you apart. You have to find what works best for you both. For my husband and I, we have two ground rules: 1. No yelling and 2. No cussing at each other. This works for us! If we feel like we are going to start yelling, we call timeout and revisit the conversation after we have had time to process.

With more than 40 years of love and relationship research under their belt, The Gottman Institute says that whether love will last is more about how couples address their differences and support one another’s needs and dreams. Here are some steps they suggest to handle conflict better.

4. Talk through your finances. 

What are your financial goals? Have you talked about a budget and about savings? This topic can take a turn for the worst pretty quickly if you don’t find a middle ground. Here’s some guidance on automating money in your marriage and saving thousands by The Gottman Institute.

5. Intimacy in your relationship.

It’s an often underrated conversation. Being intimate isn’t limited to being physical, though that is an important part. In fact, there’s emotional and spiritual intimacy, too. Each of these plays into each other and helps create a deeper bond with your partner because you are learning about them in a way that others may never experience. Spending quality time together is a great way to increase intimacy. Talk about what your dreams are, your spirituality, your feelings and what’s on your heart as well.

Get personal with your sweetheart. Start out your marriage with the muscle memory of talking through tough conversations, how you want to love each other and what’s important to you. The more you communicate, the richer the potential for a lovely life together. Now who’s ready to say I do?

Check out some other great blogs for engaged couples:

Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

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My Fiancé and I are Fighting All the Time

These 5 steps can help you work through it.

Fighting with your fiancé all the time, aka, the person you are planning on spending forever with, can feel just exhausting. Planning your wedding, fear of job loss, or navigating unemployment while trying to secure a future together… uncertainty can definitely stir the dust in the air. Just when you think the dust is going to settle, one of you kicks it back up again! 

I have seen far too many people fall into the trap of marrying a person thinking that they knew them, but in reality, they only knew about them,” says Dr. John Van Epp, relationship expert, and author. 

So, for starters, if you find yourself in constant conflict with your fiancé, what exactly are you fighting about?  

  • Finances around the wedding?
  • When you will actually get married?  
  • What the celebration will look like in the midst of “RONA?”
  • One of you is messy and the other is a neat freak?
  • Your mother?
  • Quarantining during the Pandemic?
  • The dishes in the sink overnight?
  • Money in general?

Fighting about things that matter is one thing, but if you find yourself fighting with your fiancé about Every. Little. Thing, that’s a whole new ballgame.

It might be a good time to take inventory of your relationship and see if it’s unhealthy. 

An important thing to consider—if you are fighting about everyday things that you will for sure continue to encounter, and you are thinking that once you marry things will simmer down and those issues won’t be such a big deal or you will be able to “work on your spouse” to get them to change… Do not be fooled. If you see things that you need to work on individually or as a couple, the chances of change happening before the wedding are far greater than after the ring is on your finger

The hopeful news is that conflict is inescapable for any relationship. Some of the best news is that conflict handled well actually brings you closer instead of pulling you apart. 

You for sure are not alone in this. Psychologist Dan Wile says it best in his book After the Honeymoon: “When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” It’s true.  Every couple has around 10 things they will not necessarily agree on for the duration of their marriage. Despite this, relationship expert Dr. Gottman, who has studied couples for the last 40 years, has found that about ⅓ of conflicts can be resolved with the right approach.

Even for those things that you might disagree on for forever, Gottman found that how you approach each other is the key.

Dr. Gottman’s Approach:

Step 1: Soften Your Start-Up.

Are you beginning the conversation where you left off in your head? When your fiancé gets to your apartment you say, “Why should I ever be ready on time? You’re always late.” They respond with, “I got stuck behind an accident. I’m working on my timing.” Then maybe you go on to say, “It’ll be something else next time.” Soft Start-Ups don’t include the Four Horsemen (criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling). Instead, you and your partner start the conversation gently and with intentions of understanding each other and coming to a resolution.

Step 2: Learn to Send and Receive Repair Attempts.

Think of a repair attempt as slamming on the brakes when you see a red light. You do this to avoid a collision that could harm your marriage,” says Kyle Benson from the Gottman Institute. In the example above, acknowledging that your fiancé is working on their time management could have de-escalated the situation. Practicing sending and receiving repair attempts can help improve the quality of your relationship.

Step 3: Soothe Yourself and Each Other.

If you know you’re too upset to have a conversation at the moment, take a 20-30 minute break. Try and “focus on the positives of your relationship by yourself.” When you’re “Flooded, ” as Dr. John Gottman refers to it, your brain is flooded with stress hormones and chemicals that make it nearly impossible for your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for complex problem-solving, to function. As a result, you can’t physiologically function as you normally would. You can’t communicate as you normally should. Acknowledge what makes you feel flooded. Talk about the best way and time to bring up issues to each other, how your partner can soothe you and what signals you can give each other to clue the other into how you’re feeling.

Step 4: Compromise.

When you negotiate, you accept each other’s imperfections while recognizing your relationship is more important than the argument and being right.

Step 5: Address Emotional Injuries.

Sometimes how you fight is what hurts more than what you were fighting about. Be open to talking it out and processing what you two went through. Accept responsibility and learn from your fights.

Fighting with your fiancé doesn’t have to be all bad—it can be an area for growth and an opportunity to understand each other’s differences better. A great way to fight for your relationship is by preparing for marriage. Consider premarital education or counseling to set yourselves up with the tools you need to thrive in your relationship.

Some other blogs you might find helpful!

10 RULES TO “FIGHT NICE” WITH YOUR SPOUSE

TOP 10 POTENTIAL MARRIAGE PITFALLS

10 GREAT DATES BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”

10 RED FLAGS IN A DATING RELATIONSHIP

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.