Shane and I are hitting our 2nd year of marriage (4 years together), and year and a half as parents. With one on the way, we have been really practicing not only our communications but our closeness. By no means are we perfect, and yes we still argue, but things have grown to a much better understanding where both of us feel heard and we are taking steps to what we need to be pleasant close parents and lovers.
6 MOST COMMON ARGUMENTS:
1. BEING RUDE, SNAPPY, OR IN A MOOD TOWARD YOUR PARTNER DUE TO FATIGUE.
2. HAVING UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR PARTER
3. COMPARING WHO IS “SACRIFICING/DOING” THE MOST (KEEPING SCORE)
4. NOT GIVING YOUR RELATIONSHIP PRIORITY AND TIME – LACK OF SEX AND/OR TIME ALONE
5. RESENTING THE OTHER WHEN THEY GET A BREAK
6. FEELING UNAPPRECIATED
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!
There is nothing worse than stewing over an issue and building up resentment your partner knows nothing about. Your husband can’t know you need a break if you don’t tell him. Your wife can’t know you feel unappreciated and not close to her if you don’t tell her.
As soon as you can identify your feeling, express it to your partner. Don’t express it in a, “You do/don’t do enough of ___.” The sooner you are able to collect yourself and process your feeling(s) with your partner, the less likely it will become bigger than it actually is.
Don’t battle it out. If you can feel the argument is getting heated and neither of you is being heard, then pause, take a breath, and say, “Alright, I want to switch to a more solution-oriented conversation, what do you need from me? and if it’s okay, after you express that, I would like to express what I need.” In order for this part to go smoothly, you must know what you actually need. I can’t tell you how many times I used the tactic and neither of us had an answer right away.
We tend to hold onto the unrealistic belief that our partner is just magically supposed to know exactly what we need. As days and weeks go by, we can become resentful, hopeless, and unappreciated. When you start telling your partner exactly what you need (whether in the form of a chore, an emotional connection, help with the baby, sleep, or a physical break where you can just get out of the house) they are given the chance to help you.
LISTEN TO HEAR NOT TO RESPOND
This might look like asking more questions or sitting down and giving your partner undivided attention. If your partner is sharing his or her needs/feelings to you, be an active listener. I like to ask, “Can you give me an example of when that happened,” “Tell me more about that,” “What’s the best way for us to get passed this?” Listen to HEAR, don’t just listen to RESPOND. If you listen to hear what your partner is saying, you are less likely to be on the defensive and more likely to be more understanding of where they’re coming from. Be humble and apologize if you need to. This one is a tough one for me but I find comfort in saying, “I am sorry, I will work on that; I can see where you are coming from.”
TOUCH, ALONE TIME WITH JUST YOU TWO, EYE CONTACT
I don’t know about you, but I can’t begin to count the number of times an argument is solved by simply setting aside some time for just us. We reach out to a sitter or grandma and ask for just a few hours, we pick a restaurant or a dish we want to cook and give our relationship the time it deserves. Self-care for your relationship is just as important as personal self-care. Mark it in your calendar and don’t let your relationship be put on the back burner. It can happen quickly, so make it a habit that you and your spouse get alone time (no distractions) at least once a week.
Remember your relationship needs to be good and solid for the family unit to even work. You can be the best dad or mom in the world, but if you treat your partner like garbage, the family will suffer (including your children). Be examples of healthy conflict and how to resolve them. You and your partner are on the same team, remember that.
STAY VULNERABLE AND HUMBLE
Connecting with “listening to hear,” staying humble and vulnerable is a beautiful way to approach and remain during a conflict. Allow there to be space and grace not only with your partner but with yourself. Your concerns are valid and mistakes are apart of it.
If you receive feedback or negativity always be quick to apologize and be vulnerable. The conflict lasts exactly how long you want it to. Just the other day Shane and I were at it about something I completely forgot about now. But it felt real and essential to dig both of our heels in and “fight” for our perspectives. Neither of us was listening to each other yet that’s all we wanted. Shane wanted me to apologize, and my pride was in the way. I refused to say I am sorry. I felt justified in my world of whatever I was thinking. I stewed on it like a toddler for an hour not even talking to him while we were in the same room. I knew I was being childish but I “couldn’t” back down and let him know he was right.
Looking back now, I laugh and that silly little girl inside me that decided to come out and act that way. The second he would ask me to apologize (whether I was “right” or “wrong”), the best thing for me to do would be to humble myself, be vulnerable and express what was hurting inside, look him in the eyes with hands on each shoulder, and say, “I am sorry.” Right there, that would have done it. I chose to be in conflict for several hours, that was all my decision. And as conflicts come up between you and your partner ask yourself, “Is all this heat and emotion worth it? how can I defuse this situation while still allowing my partner’s feelings to be heard?”
DO WHAT YOU WANT DONE TO YOU
This is a great practice to exercise. Let’s say you can feel a strong emotion or disagreement starting to brew. You can feel it in the pit of your stomach and the pressure in your chest when it comes up. Your body signals to you that you disagree with what is happening around you. Instead of brewing, building up your argument, and layering on the resentment to your partner, try this instead. Ask yourself what you would want done for you: more affection, appreciation, someone to listen. Then, like magic, you do that exact thing for them. This practice can kill resentment in its tracks. If you are resenting your partner when they ask for alone time, don’t begrudgingly give it to them, generously give it to them, expressing how much they deserve it.
For example, I was finding myself build up resentment towards Shane (without telling him what was bothering me, just assuming he could read my mind) that I wanted to be appreciated. I wanted him to know all I did in a day and that I too can feel exhausted at the end of the day. I wanted to feel valued. I wasn’t just a mom. I was the mom, the glue, the healthy chef, the nappy changer, the cry soother, the foundation, the selfless never-ending love in our family!!
After a session with my coach, I decided to try something different. I was going to shower my husband with gratitude. I authentically looked for all the things he does for our family, our house, or marriage, and acknowledged him with sincere appreciation, just like I wanted. I was stunned! It worked, later that night after Grant was asleep, we sat on the couch and he looked me straight in the eyes with that “I see you” I was longing for. My tears welled with tears as I felt to validated and valued for the role I play for my family. Give it a try. Humble yourself and give your spouse exactly what you desire. You might be surprised that perhaps they too, wanted the same thing.
I hope you enjoyed and found value in these 6 things parents fight about and how to resolve them. If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them. Don’t forget to follow me or reach out on IG!!- plantingseedsmamma.
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