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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

10 Ways to Worsen Relationship Conflict

posted by Linda Mintle

conflict 2 Jackie and Mike felt like they were constantly battling over small things. Like them, most of us need a little help when it comes to dealing with conflict in our relationships. Here are 10 things NOT to do. They only worsen the situation.

1) Make assumptions about the person or situation. Assume, do not ask, about perceptions, motivations or reactions.

2) Even though conflict is not always personal, take it that way!

3) Blame as much and as often as you can.

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4) Make an effort to avoid problems and hope they magically work out.

5) Go after the person’s character, not the action.

6) Tell other people how unreasonable the person is. Don’t keep the conflict between the two of you.

7) In fact, make it public and bring it up in a public place rather than waiting to be somewhere private.

8) Bring up the conflict and then tell the person you don’t have time to deal with it.

9) Bring up conflict when you are upset, angry, not feeling well or especially irritated.

10) Address the problem via social media or email rather than in person.

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Why the Pope, Not Miley Was a Surprising Choice for Man of the Year

posted by Linda Mintle

Thankfully, Time Magazine chose Pope Francis as their Man of the Year, not Miley Cyrus! When I heard the announcement, it gave me a moment of hope. He is deserving of that award. But in one way, he was a surprising choice.

Headlines are made by the sensationalists. And even though I’m growing weary of the obscenity passed off as entertainment, it pulses through our culture like a life force. Yet, it is the same old obvious ploy–be as obscene and sexual as possible. Madonna, who is more my age, is spewing out trash talk like she is 18. Why? According to the Pet Shop Boys, “She’s got to be obscene to be believed.”

And then there is the king offender of sensibilities, Kanye West, whose mix of obscenity and narcissism, just makes me want to diagnosis and treat him. And Jay Z, who is regularly seen with our President, seems limited in his command of the English language. His lyrics are basically trash talk. It all lacks creativity and the beauty of the arts.

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We no longer  need cable or the Internet to awaken our animal instincts–prime time will give it to us. The singing glee type people were doing Nelly’s, “It’s getting  hot in here, so take off all your clothes” song on a family show last night!

It’s all become so casual. I even saw a blog recently suggesting Jesus would use the F word if he were living in today’s world. Really, I don’t think so. Why is it that when people get saved, THEY report that God cleans up their language and their thoughts? And why would Jesus use a word that degrades sexuality and women?

What’s happening here is a desensitization to obscenity and sex. It’s the proverbial frog simmering in the boiling water.

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Catering to our lowest impulses does not make America great. And it saddens me that  we import obscenity and animal sexuality to the world through our entertainment. But as long as we continue to buy this stuff, our entertainers will keep doing it. Bottom line, if we decide we don’t want this stuff and it stops selling, we might see less.

And occasionally, we’ll have a moment when someone brings in civility and chooses the Pope over a rebellious girl trying to shock her way to the top! It used to be the other way around, we would have moments of vulgarity sprinkled in to the civility. Now, we get excited when civility wins the day. But thankfully, civility won the day on the cover of Time.

 

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Three Suggestions to Figure Out Family Visits During the Holidays

posted by Linda Mintle
gift 1Reader Question:
  1. Both my husband and I love visiting family during the holidays. Each year we are invited to both families but they live in separate states about a three-hour drive from our home. Our relationship with both families is good and we don’t want to let either one down by not coming. How do we accommodate everyone without upsetting someone?

 

What a great problem to have. Both families want you to visit and you get along with both families. Obviously, you can’t be two places at once.

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Many couples handle home visits by alternating years and holidays—visit your family one year and his the next. That said, kids grow quickly and grandparents don’t want to wait an entire year to see little ones ripping through gifts and squealing with delight. Those early years are so precious.

Another option is to have one set of grandparents visit you for part of the holiday, and travel to the other grandparents for the rest of the holiday.

One final suggestion is to examine each family’s traditions and prioritize where you will be and how long you will stay based on those priorities. For example, if Christmas Eve is more important in one family than Christmas day, go to Christmas Eve, bundle up the kids and travel for Christmas morning to the other family. I know this is tiring for you as parents, but the joy you bring to your families may be worth a few hours of less sleep. And grandparents are usually fine with giving you a nap while they watch the kids who slept in the car.  Traveling back and forth may be a little hectic but it can be done if it is important to you. I am a big believer in the importance of family and making time for children to know their grandparents. When my kids were little, we did a lot of travel back and forth to both families and I was so glad we did. It created a bond that continues in their teen years. It also taught them to value family, something that seems to be fading in our culture.

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Will You Rate Your Marriage and See Where You Stand?

posted by Linda Mintle

prom-dancing-smile-5374843-oIt’s not uncommon for couples to come to therapy and a therapist to ask, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your marriage?”

Even couples who don’t come to therapy will occasionally think about this.

What is interesting is whether or not the couple agrees on the rating. When one spouse rates the marriage low and the other high, usually it means one has checked out mentally and the other is unaware of issues.

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And it seems that even troubled couples will rate their marriages higher than reality when it comes to comparing their marriage to others. One reason is because the rating exercise helps you think of positives in the relationship. We tend to overrate our own and underrate others in order to keep our alternatives low.

But is rating your marriage a good idea?

Therapists think so, that is can help you take a step back and evaluate strengths and weaknesses. And it can serve as a baseline for problems that can be worked on and repaired. It’s not helpful if you use it as a club over someone’s head!

So if you are game to do this, do it from a positive perspective. “Hey’s lets take this little quiz in order to gain some insight into our marriage. You know I love you and want our marriage to be the best it can be, and I know you do too!” Then look first at the positive areas and use the lower score areas as a guide to improve.

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Here is the quiz if you want to give it a shot. It’s 40 questions that you rate from 1 to 5. It’s only a tool to help point out areas of strengths and weaknesses, not a scientific test!

Rate your marriage

 

 

Source: Arthur Aron, Stony Brook University and the University of California, Berkeley; Lisa Neff, The University of Texas at Austin; Terri Orbuch, The University of Michigan

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