The Holy Grail, How To Stop Fighting with your Spouse and Relatives

September 1, 2011

This blog post was reposted on the Spiraturally Raw Website and thanks to April for posting it.
John Wilder

All Blog PostsMy BlogAddTHE HOLY GRAIL! How To STOP FIGHTING With Your Spouse or Relatives & Conflict RESOLUTION SKILLS!!! Posted by April Villarose-Matta on September 1, 2011 at 1:00pm
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How To Stop Fighting With Your Spouse or Relatives, Good Conflict Resolution Skills

Nothing kills your sex life and hurts your relationship like fighting. It is imperative for the health and continuation of your relationship to learn to resolve conflict peacefully. I always tell my relationship and sexual coaching clients to go home and rent two movies and study them: THE BREAKUP and WAR OF THE ROSES. It is another example of art illustrating and imitating life. Now there is no such thing as a couple who are going to agree on everything.

The key to a good relationship is being able to resolve those differences without hurting each other and inflicting damage on the relationship. Learning to resolve differences peacefully is one of the keys to having a good relationship and great sex life.

QUESTION: Are you combative or collaborative?

Do you want to win the fight or resolve the problem?

ATTACK THE PROBLEM, NOT YOUR PARTNER!

Ask, “In what way can we solve this problem?”

When you attack your spouse, they tend to want to counter attack which only escalates the problem. Instead of accusing your partner, Make the problem and its solution mutual rather than a contest and argument.

Resolve Differences Quickly

Let not the sun go down on your wrath. Ephesians 4:26 This passage from the Bible is obvious and requires no interpretation. It is a simple command to resolve differences quickly. The reason for this should be obvious. You know when you and your spouse are fighting, the mood is toxic. It stresses and damages the relationship. There is another reason: your children sense the tenseness or worse yet see you fighting. It scares them and they have no way to resolve it, make it better or the ability to get away from it. This is literally torture for your children. It upsets their digestion, their sleep, and their emotional well being. Fighting in front of children is never okay. If you really need to have a fight, find a way to get the children somewhere else where they don’t witness it.

There is a syndrome called Fight or Flight Syndrome. This is a coping system in people and animals. Men tend to feel it more profoundly because of the testosterone in their systems and because nature gives them a strong “protector instinct”. What happens when you feel stressed and threatened, the body releases massive amounts of adrenaline in your body. The purpose of this adrenaline is a simple survival mechanism. The idea is that you can use the adrenaline to run away from your opponent or predator faster than they can chase you and catch you. The other option is that you have so much adrenaline in you that you are able to successfully fight off an enemy or predator. The body is designed to be releasing and dissipating this adrenaline by either fighting or fleeing in a very short period of time. When you do neither, it creates a tremendous amount of stress in you that is not good for the body. It is internalized. Imagine having the need to urinate or sneeze and you can’t do it and you are stuck. It is a miserable feeling. In fact this kind of unrelieved stress is one of the main causes of heart disease and heart attack. When you internalize this stress rather than venting it through fighting or fleeing, you do a lot damage to the body and the relationship. Many times violence can ensue especially with men. This is why the Bible is so clear and unequivocal about resolving conflict and resolving it quickly. Here is another scripture verse to back that notion up:

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother (friend, wife, husband, other relative) has anything against you; Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Mathew 5:23-24

In other words it is so important to resolve the problem immediately because of how an argument can fester and get out of hand that Christ commands that you leave church in the middle of the service to go and reconcile the problem.

LOSE YOUR TEMPER

People will often say that they lost their temper. In fact, they used their temper. Couples often use anger to control and manipulate each other, usually one is stronger than the other and bullies their partner with their anger. Men because of their superior strength tend to use that strength to bully the wife and sometimes hit the wife. This is unhealthy for the relationship and is inexcusable according to the following biblical passages:

Likewise you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. I Peter 3:7

God gave us men superior strength so as to use it to protect our wives and family, not use it against her. Men note the message at the end of the verse; if you misuse your strength against your wife, God will not answer or heed your prayers. That is a powerful warning that is not nearly emphasized enough in churches or Sunday schools today. There is far too much violence against women. I believe that the disrespect and violence against women by men is in large part responsible for the rise of feminism in this country. While feminism has in this writer’s opinion swung entirely too far the other way, one should not dismiss the feminist notions as completely without merit. There were and are legitimate causes for anger on the part of women. The Christian response to some of these concerns was another movement called: Promise Keepers. It is a Christian men’s organization whose principle tenants are that we as men need to be better husbands, fathers and Christian leaders.

Here are scriptures relating to anger especially notable to men.

Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Psalm 37:8

A wrathful man stirs up strife; but he that is slow to anger appeases strife. Proverbs 15:18

Women you also have a responsibility to keep a happy and peaceful home. There are numerous commands in the Bible regulating your conduct with your spouse as well. The following verse is representative of those commands.

The contentions of a wife are like a continual dripping. Proverbs 19:13 In other words like a continual dripping faucet.

We can all agree that men should not physically beat on women. Many times as indicated in the above biblical passages, women don’t have a problem beating verbally on men. The problem is, not only does it hurt your relationship but is very problematic for the husband for a number of reasons. By verbally beating on the husband, you cause the fight or flight syndrome to turn on and gives him tremendous unresolved stress. When the argument goes on, it makes it worse for the man and he gets more and more stressed to where he can explode and hit the wife. Your children are also stressed in this way. They feel the stress of that same Fight or Flight Syndrome and they are powerless to do anything about it. Continued stress of this type can cause heart disease and heart attack.
So the Bible is pretty explicit that hasty anger is not good for relationships and that anger needs to be controlled. Anger is not to be used to beat someone with or to get our own way by manipulating and intimidating them.

However the Bible does not say that you can’t get angry. You can get angry, but you have to control the anger:

Be angry and sin not. Ephesians 4:26

So you see that anger is a human emotion, but you must control it, not use it as a weapon but express it so as to resolve the problem. Often when a person gets angry, they start yelling and raising their voice. This is simply a ploy to try and scare someone or attempt to manipulate someone. This is not an appropriate use or expression of anger. Screaming is an equal opportunity sin by both men and women. It also causes the Fight or Flight Syndrome that was previously spoken about. Invariably when one person yells, then the other person responds in kind which simply escalates the argument and gets it to the point where people are out of control. Here is what the Bible says about that:

A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

So how do you keep peace with your spouse when there is anger over an issue?

The key is to keep emotion out of it. The first rule when your partner is angry about something is to SHUT-UP AND LISTEN.

You let them get everything out that is bothering them. Now the temptation here is to interrupt them and correct them over an issue that you feel like they are unjustly accusing you of. False accusations are not that abnormal as people tend to over-reach when they are angry. You wait until they are completely done before you try and correct them. The key is that you want the spouse to get out all of their frustrations. If you interrupt them, it just makes them madder. You keep quiet until they are done. Once you feel like they are done, you ask them if they are done. Sometimes, they are just taking a breath and re-grouping their thoughts. If they have more to say, listen. If it is a lot, take notes on what they are complaining about so you don’t forget or try to interrupt them to tell them you can’t remember everything that they said. Once they assure you that they are done, then you ask them if it would be okay for you to repeat back the main points of their argument so that you are sure that you understand and don’t want to forget anything. Usually they will be tickled to do that. Once you have re-stated the case, ask them if this is everything that they talked about. Once they have agreed that you have all of their points. You then go to the next step. The next step is to ask them: “in what way can I fix this and make it right? There is nothing to argue about with this point. They will usually have an idea on what you can do to make it right and they will tell you. You can then go back and correct what you feel like they unfairly accused you of. You avoid sarcasm and raising your voice, you simply quietly state that you disagree with the point that you feel like they unjustly accused you of. Now if what they are asking for is unreasonable, you counter offer and suggest that you feel like that what they are asking for is too much but you are willing to counter offer a solution. You then can begin negotiating the solution to the problem. If you can take the anger and attacks out of the argument and make it about problem solving, it is much easier to resolve.

AVOID THE “YOU DO IT TOO” RESPONSE

You need to address the complaint of your spouse and deal with it responsibly instead of trying to say they do the same thing or something else similar. Once that the conflict is resolved to your mate’s satisfaction, then if you have complaints ask to take your turn at voicing your complaints.

NEGOTIATING CONFLICT

There is a good way to negotiate. You can say: “alright on a scale of 1-10 how do you rate this?” If your partner says for them it is an 8 and for you it is only a 4, you agree to give them their way. Again this is just about problem solving rather than attacking each other. You can always propose an alternative solution. In assessing the degree of the problem, you have to be honest. You can’t just claim it is a 10 all of the time. You have to honestly rate the severity of the problem as well as the spouse has to rate it honestly. Make allowances for whoever has the bigger problem. This is peaceful productive problem solving.

AGREE TO DISAGREE

There are times that you are just diametrically opposed to their proposed solution and the two of you can’t reach an agreement. You could start beating on each other emotionally or you could “agree to disagree”. There is nothing wrong with that. In this way, no one is wrong, you are both convinced that you are both right but neither party will concede. Just agree to disagree.

Flipping a Coin To Decide the Problem

If negotiating has not worked and the person is still adamant that they want a solution the Bible has a solution: “The lot causes contentions to cease and parts the mighty.” Proverbs 18:18.

When getting to a solution is imperative and neither side will budge then the only peaceful solution is to settle it by a flip of the coin. Casting lots was a dice game, but a modern day corollary would be a flip of the coin to settle the issue. You both have to agree and stick by it.

And Jesus said: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. Mathew 5:9

Due to the sinful nature of man, we have a natural predilection to fight among ourselves. Being a peacemaker contributes positively to society at large and families in particular. Will you endeavor to be a peacemaker in your own home?

And a further biblical note:

If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18

You can’t make anyone do right, but you can control how you react and what you put into the relationship. Are you doing everything that you can in your relationship to live peaceably with your spouse?

DEALING WITH A SPOUSE WHO WON’T STOP YELLING

If you are faced with a partner that yells and gets verbally abusive and won’t be calmed down and this is habitual, you have to make a change. You can’t force the person to behave appropriately. What you can do is to remove yourself form the situation. You simply go get your keys and get in the car and leave for several hours. Don’t answer your cell phone or texts from the person demanding that you come back. After several hours, you come back home and tell the person that you will talk if they are willing to talk to you without verbally abusing you and yelling at you. If they start in again, you simply leave again and stay overnight somewhere if necessary. It is not likely that you will have to do this more than 3 times and the person will realize that you are no longer going to put up with the abuse. If you don’t take a stand and make it stick, the abusive person will continue the abuse.

The Ten Commandments for Fair Fighting

1. Never argue in front of the children, it harms and scares them.
2. Don’t ever hit your spouse.
3. Don’t call your spouse names or use insulting or demeaning language to them, it is abusive.
4. Don’t attempt to get your way by bullying your spouse.
5. Don’t withhold sex to get your way.
6. Do not scream at your spouse.
7. Do not interrupt, it is disrespectful, listen until they are done.
8. Do not take revenge for perceived hurts.
9. Develop a peacemaking attitude with questions like: How can we resolve this?
10. Don’t give people the “silent treatment”. It is revenge and it is emotionally abusive.

I have re-written an old nursery rhyme to a more appropriate meaning:

Sticks and stones can only break your bones, but words can wound a spirit, break a heart or kill a relationship.

When you can’t resolve the problems between the two of you then seek out the services of a mediator, or a relationship coach.

Or just email me at marriagecoach1@yahoo.com

John Wilder


6 Reasons To Avoid Marriage Counselors Like The Plague

September 12, 2010

We have the highest divorce rate on the planet. Judith Wallerstein did a groundbreaking study on the effects of divorce on children, even into adulthood. She notes the following effects on children:

The children Wallerstein studied were more likely to struggle with drugs, alcohol, and sex. Fully half the children she studied were involved in serious abuse of alcohol and drugs, some as early as age 14. And they tended to become sexually active early, particularly the girls.

• Expectations of failure, based on an “internalized image of failure;”
• Fear of loss, due to earlier anxiety about abandonment by one or both parents;
• Fear of change, since experience has shown them it is usually for the worse;
• Fear of conflict, because it leads to explosions or the impulse to escape;
• Fear of betrayal, because they have seen so much of it;
• Fear of loneliness, sometimes leading to self-destructive choices in partners.

Naturally, we want to protect our kids from divorce so people attempt to resolve their problems by going to a marriage counselor. The dirty little secret in the industry is that you are likely to be worse instead of better after going to a marriage counselor. Here are some reasons why.

1. Marriage counselors have a horrendous 75% failure rate. That is defined as couples coming to them for counseling to save their marriage and get divorced in spite of the counseling.

2. Marriage counselors are not required to have any specific training in couples counseling, some of the most difficult counseling that there is.

3. Marriage counselors don’t really deal with problem resolution, they talk about feelings. This is about as effective as a reporter shoving a mic in front of a grieving relative and asking them how they feel.

4. Marriage counseling takes place one hour once a week. This is not effective. No other helping discipline works this way. If you went to a doctor to find that you have strep throat, you would not expect a doctor to give you just a little antibiotic and have him come back for months giving you just a little more antibiotic to cure the strep.

5. The reason that most couples divorce is the lack of conflict resolution skills. Traditional marriage counselors don’t teach this vital skill.

6. Too often marriage counselors are not marriage positive but take sides with one of the couple and suggest that they go ahead and get divorced. They don’t tell them about all the negative ramifications to children that the divorce will cause them.

The Solution
The answer is to search out marriage coaches. Marriage coaches deal with resolving problems in a short period of time. They are marriage positive. They tend to take a moderator or mediator role assuming an authority role and telling couples where they are doing it right or wrong. Marriage coaches have a much better success rate of 75%.
Many traditional marriage counselors are abandoning traditional counseling methods and instead are adopting a coaching paradigm in their practices. People like Michelle Weiner Davis of Divorce Busting and Dr. Harley of His Needs, Her Needs.

You can punch marriage coaches into Google to locate one. They will deal with you on the phone or on Yahoo IM. Barring that you could just email me at marrriagecoach1@yahoo.com .


The Story Of How I Got To Be Me In The Helping Profession

June 2, 2010

I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional home. I had a cold, distant and alcoholic mother. I had an unbelievably cruel father who enjoyed inflicting pain on my two brothers and me. Some examples: He hit me full force with a punch to my nose, shattering it for the sin of interrupting him when he was talking. I was six years old and the force of the punch was so strong it knocked me across the room. He told me to take a bath and go to bed, leaving my broken nose untreated. 6 years later I experienced something that has profoundly changed me for life. My 6 year old brother rebelled in a way that came to haunt us. He went over to his school in the summer with another boy and threw paint all over the school. The police were called and they were caught and brought him home. My father said that he would take care of it. He took him back into the bedroom where he shared with his 3 year old brother, next to my room where I was. He proceeded to beat him with a belt and would not stop. I was convinced that he was going to kill him. He was a bloody mess from all of the cuts from the doubled leather belt.

I desperately wanted to stop him. At 12 I was trying to figure out how to stop my father from killing my little brother. I considered that I was not big enough or strong enough to stop him. I thought about my baseball bat. I was plagued with doubts as I tried desperately to figure a way to stop my father while hearing the blood curdling screams of my little brother being savagely beaten. I thought that I could go in and threaten him and he would stop. Then I realized that he would take the bat away from me and use it on me. Then I thought that I could go in and hit him in the head and knock him out. Then I realized he would wake up and beat me with the bat so enraged that he likely would kill me. Then I thought of hitting him in the head so hard that I killed him. The thought of going to jail for life stopped me. In the end I sat in my room in tears and desperately hating myself because I was not big enough or strong enough to stop him. He continued beating my little brother until he exhausted himself. He had to go and sit down in his recliner to rest. After resting for a half hour he went in again and beat on him yet again. I don’t know how my brother survived it and my little brother was terrified at age 3. There were many other beatings in the household.

As I got a little older, I was always picked on by bullies and always cowered because of my father. That incident so filled me with rage that two years later, I got into a fight with a kid who squirted chocolate milk on my white shirt at school. I beat the crap out of him and then had to beat the crap out of another guy right afterwards. Then two days later had to beat the crap out of someone again. It was an awakening for me. No more did I have to tolerate bullies. I told the old man that the beatings were going to stop at home or I would beat him to death and meant it, unafraid. Never again would I fear another man. I learned hand to hand combat in the military and how to kill someone with my bare hands. It was empowering. I have since backed down a lot of bullies without having to get into a fight. I would look them in the eye and tell them that if they felt froggy go ahead jump and I would let them throw the first punch. Men look into your eyes and when they read no fear, it scares them. They back down like the cowards that they are.

I wondered at man’s inhumanity to man. Like all kids who were abused as kids, you grow up bent in one of two different directions; you either grow up to be a bully or you grow up to join the ranks of the helping professions. I decided to get into the helping professions because there was no one there to protect my brothers and myself when we needed it. This is why I help couples to make it better.

I see marriages breaking up, parents fighting in front of kids and terrifying them. Using kids in the parents battle against each other. I want it to stop and I am willing to do whatever I can to stop it and help couples get along and grow and nurture each other. That is my goal as well as my dream. Please help me to spread the word.
I have forgiven my parents, but have long since excluded them from my life because they are poison. It caused my brothers to reject me. Kids will do anything for their parents approval, sort of like the puppy who licks the hand of his abuser.


Marriage Counseling Versus Marriage Coaching

April 7, 2010

                  

                                                      COACHING VERSUS COUNSELING

 

     There is a dirty little secret in the marriage counseling industry.  75% of all couples who go to marriage counseling end up being divorced.  There is a quiet revolution taking place in this country where  some forward thinking counselors are abandoning the traditional counseling methods and adopting a “coaching” style.  A couple of well known counselors have made the transition like Michelle Weiner Davis, author of: DIVORCE BUSTING and Dr. Willard Harley, author of HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS.

     Part of the problem is how services are delivered.  One hour once a week is insufficient to do the job.  Another part of the problem is philosophy of treatment.  Counseling concentrates on couples talking about their feelings.  Coaching concentrates on resolving the problem.

     Think about this for a minute.  If couples seek out marriage counseling, the marriage is likely in deep trouble  where the stress level is such that they are considering divorce.  Now think about the “medical model” for a minute:  If you had serious heart trouble, would you want to go to a cardiologist whose record is that 3 out of 4 patients under his care die?  If you had a very serious life threatening cut, would you be happy with a doctor who said, I am going to put one stitch in you now, and you come back in week and I will put another stitch in you and keep coming back once a week for the next 20 weeks and we will have you all stitched up?  If you had Strep Throat would you be happy with a doctor who says that he will give you a little antibiotic and keep coming back for 20 weeks until the infection is cleared up? Would you want accept any of those treatment plans

     Would you accept firemen coming out to your house and telling you that they are going to put a little of the fire out and that they would come back the next week and put a little more of the fire out and keep coming back until the fire is out? There is no other profession that attempts to resolve a problem utilizing this paradigm.

     The reason that it is done this way is not because it is what is best for the patients, but it is what is best for the insurance industry who will only reimburse for one hour once a week.  Actuaries  (these are guys who are the bean counters for the insurance companies) have figured out that couples will abandon the process long before they resolve the problem thus saving the insurance company money.

     Another part of the problem is the philosophy of counseling style where the counselor assumes a neutral position. Mediation services don’t follow this style.  The mediator takes two opposing sides and takes charge and is a referee suggesting alternative solutions to both sides and maintains order during the process.  They also roll up their sleeves and over the course of several hours resolves the problems or makes great strides in resolving the problem in a minimum of sessions in a very short period of time. Couples don’t need to talk about their feelings, they need to resolve the problems.  They need to be taught relationship skills.  There is an old Chinese proverb which states:  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.  Couples need to be taught conflict resolution skills which do not come naturally.  What comes naturally is fighting.

     Going back to the medical model, you don’t leave a patient with a high fever for weeks at a  time, you treat the fever and what is causing the fever in a short period of time.  Couples in crisis are having the equivalent of serious fever.  They are in stress because the “Fight or Flight Syndrome” causes huge adrenaline rushes which can’t be easily sustained over weeks of time.  The stress is very hard on the body and is a leading cause of heart disease.  The collateral damage happens to the children in the family.  The toxic mood in the house is equivalent to torture for them because they are helpless and can’t do anything about it.

     Clearly the treatment model for counseling needs a paradigm shift.  We need to first resolve the problems in a short period of time, teach couples conflict resolution skills and relational skills and to lobby the insurance industry to adopt a different reimbursement model.  Insurance companies need to pay for hours of service rendered and not dictate to the counselor how he structures the time element in the therapy.

     As a couple, you need to seek out a marriage coach to help you resolve your problems.  You will have to pay for it out of your own pocket, but it is a much more effective therapy and far cheaper than divorce. 

    Most coaches will deal with couples by phone or on the internet by Individual Messenger (IM).This saves time and money.  Many couples don’t like to drive to an office.  This way you can deal with your problems in the comfort of your own home .

The author of this article can be reached at marriagecoach1@yahoo. John Wilder can help you with your problems and reach a happy harmonious relationship.  Mr. Wilder has a BA degree with a double major in Behavioral Science and Bible.  He has also attended Nursing School and Graduate School for Clinical Psychology. He offers a money back guarantee and a half hour free consultation.  He treats clients holistically, dealing with mind, body and spirit.


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