Can I Get Your Advice?

Has anyone ever asked you for relationship advice? How did you respond?

Chances are, we’ll experience this in some form or another in our lives. Maybe it’s a good friend seeking your input, a younger sibling looking for guidance, or a coworker venting about their significant other. Whatever the situation, you’ll have a choice of how to respond. That response, and the ease with which you give it, depends a lot on the context of your relationship with that person, as well as your own relationship experience. Your comfort level could range from “Argh, I don’t know what to say,” to “TMI alert!”

No matter where you fall on this spectrum, here are some things to keep in mind:

Read More

How to Become Positive Marriage Role Models

We know we learn through observing others – this is natural human behavior. Previously on the blog, we’ve talked about what marriage lessons we learn from our families – either as a young kid or even into our adulthood when we’re so kindly given those one-liner pieces of advice from family members. Thinking about those lessons, we encouraged you to consider what things you carry forward and strive to live up to in your marriage and relationships, as what you’d rather leave behind. Your family has good intentions, but they’re likely not all marriage experts.

What happens when you flip the question, to ask not about what you learned, but what can you teach others?

Read More

The Two-Way Street of Defensiveness

Is it just us or does the statement, “Don’t get so defensive!” seem to have the same effect as when someone tells you, “Just try to relax!”

In other words, it makes you feel the opposite of what’s intended – more defensive, less relaxed.

Unfortunately, defensiveness can be a catalyst for negative communication patterns. It can make it hard to talk through issues and be open, authentic, and vulnerable with each other.

Sometimes our defensiveness is our own doing, and sometimes it’s just a natural response to protect ourselves if we’re feeling attacked or exposed. And that’s why if we want to decrease defensiveness, it’s not just one person that needs to put in the effort – it’s a two-way street.

Read More

How to Support Instead of Solve

Are you a problem-solver? When your spouse comes to you with an issue, are you quick to offer a solution?

This can be a very positive trait in many areas of life. You’re action-oriented and aren’t one to wallow around in excuses or blame.

Have you ever been caught off guard by a negative reaction from your partner in response to your suggested solution? You probably thought (or said), “I was just trying to help!” and maybe felt a little hurt or annoyed yourself.

The thing is, sometimes a solution isn’t what your partner wants, or needs, or is ready for. So what do you do when they come to you in crisis or to share an issue or problem?

Read More