Be Accountabilibuddies

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One of the first things we learn about having a successful relationship is that there needs to be healthy, proactive communication.  Though, because we are all human, sometimes there is a lapse in this proactivity.  You can’t turn back time to fix a mistake, but what you can do is aid in the healing of the situation at hand.  One way to do this is to be accountable for your part of the relationship.

There are many things to be accountable for in a relationship, such as:

  • Your actions: Acknowledge what you did so that you can move forward with your partner.
  • Your words: The things you said can hurt just as much as your actions.  Remain accountable for even the small things that may have distressed your partner.
  • Your feelings: Take responsibility of yourself, own your feelings.  Express to your partner how you are feeling in regards to a certain situation.

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You. Owe. Me.

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Recently, my husband and I had an argument about how to get rid of some junk in our garage.  I wanted to post it on Craig’s List for free.  He wanted to take it to the dump. I didn’t want to pay to get rid of it.  He didn’t want it sitting on our front yard.  We compromised and agreed that I could post it on Craig’s list for three days and if it wasn’t gone he could take it to the dump.  Three days later, very little of it had been picked up and my husband had figured out what could be taken to the Reuse Center and what needed to go to the dump. Read More

Pursuer vs. Distancer

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I fight with my husband from time to time. It happens because conflict happens. We disagree, but then we figure it out and move forward. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly, but it is easier now that he and I understand more about ourselves and our relationship.

Until just recently, every time we disagreed, we would find ourselves frustrated and in this cycle. I’d move closer, he’d move farther away. Thinking he needed space, I’d reluctantly back off. He’d feel comfortable again and move closer. Just as I’d warm up to being close again, he’d start to retreat, needing more space. We stumbled in and out of this pattern for years. Not entirely understanding why, but understanding this was us. Read More

The Rules of Taking a Time-Out

alarmclock“We kept fighting and fighting and yelling and screaming and eventually we solved the whole problem completely!” Said no spouse, ever.

One of the most significant tools I help couples learn to implement into their conflict process is the time-out. Though I’m sure this term makes you think of a toddler sitting in the corner of a kitchen on their mini-stool with a parent standing over them shaking their finger, a time-out in the context of a marriage is a powerful and honorable thing to do.

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When Money Changes, Marriage Changes

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When we think of retirement, we usually think about it in terms of money. Will we have enough to travel? Will we have enough to spoil our grandkids? Will we have enough to help our children? And most importantly, will we have enough money to live out our lives the way we want to?

When money changes because of retirement, other changes in the marriage happen without much consideration.

I recently sat down with several couples to learn about how retirement impacted their marriages. All had been married for over 25 years, with one couple even approaching their 60th wedding anniversary! To learn from the stories they shared, let’s consider the story of Mark and Marion. Read More

Forgiveness – Part 2: Seeking and Granting

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Whether you’ve been together for 5 years or 50, at some point in your relationship you will be faced with a situation that requires you to either seek or grant forgiveness. When we think of conscious forgiveness, we often associate it with a major betrayal such as infidelity or abuse. However, as Laura wrote about in the previous post, there are minor, every day lapses in thoughtfulness or judgement that require us to forgive our partner, albeit perhaps on a more subconscious level. Read More

Forgiveness – Part 1: Recognizing Forgiveness

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I recently interviewed six couples who had each been married for over 25 years. As I sat down with each partner, we began talking about their marriage. During our conversation we discussed the impact of their or their spouse’s retirement on their marriage, their level of satisfaction in marriage, and the presence of forgiveness in their marriage throughout the years.   At the end of my first interview, a woman who had been married for 57 years was walking me to the front door. She stopped me to tell me that she was still thinking over the idea of forgiveness in her marriage, some 45 minutes after our interview ended. At that moment, I knew the question about forgiveness would become the most thought-provoking question I would ask in each interview. Read More