It’s important to resist the urge to bring up past experiences that have already been resolved and reopen them for discussion

Acknowledge the current disagreement and work through the conflict by actively listening to your partner. Respect your partners view and remember you are on the same team – it’s okay to take a time out if you need to. While embracing the conflict and dealing with it can be uncomfortable, it can ultimately bring you closer as a couple.

For discussion:

  • What are your automatic negative responses when conflict arises? Anger Withdrawal? Defensiveness?
  • How do these reactions affect your ability to resolve issues respectfully?
  • What can you do to counteract these reactions?

Think about how you can show your partner respect in the midst of conflict. One way to do this is to stop and count to 5 before responding. While short, this gives you a few seconds to consider a positive response versus a negative one.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to conflict in relationships.

For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

Communicate assertively, take responsibility for your own feelings and actions, and focus solely on the issue at hand

It’s important to resist the urge to bring up past experiences that have already been resolved and reopen them for discussion. Acknowledge the current disagreement and work through the conflict by actively listening to your partner. Respect your partner, remember you are on the same team, and know it’s okay to take a time out if you need to. While embracing the conflict and dealing with it can be uncomfortable, it can ultimately bring you closer as a couple.

Consider your automatic negative responses when conflict arises. Do you get angry, do you withdraw or are you defensive. Thing about how these reactions affect your ability to resolve issues respectfully and what can you do to counteract these reactions.

Discussion:

  • What does “take responsibility for your own feelings” mean to you?
  • What does it feel like to recognize your feelings in the situation?
  • Are you relieved?
  • Do you feel more vulnerable?
  • Do you feel proud?
  • How does this help emotionally charged situations?

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to conflict in relationships.

For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

Am I ready to discuss my relationship? Pick a day where your emotions are calm

The development of skills can all to easily become over-shadowed by the feedback process. Why not aim for a balanced approach in which feedback and the development of skills (eg. good listening skills; constructive ways of handling conflict) are both valued?

Move forward when both partners can confidently answer: Yes. We are ready to move ahead.

We have provided some thoughts to consider:

Check yourself

Emotionally:

  • What kind of day did you have?
  • Have your emotions been fairly neutral?
  • Have you experienced any high levels of sadness, anger, or joy?

We recommend discussing your relationship on days where your emotions have been calm.

If you decide you are ready to move forward with reviewing your relationship and working through various issues —that’s awesome.

If you decide you need to make some adjustments before discussing – that’s good too! The goal is to get talking to your partner, even if that conversation doesn’t happen right away.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to conflict in relationships.

For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

Reach out to someone today and say thank you or ask… RU OK?

Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don’t need to be an expert – just a great mate and a good listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling – start a conversation.

Good communication depends on you carefully listening to another person. Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption and then restating what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of the speaker. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood by having the listener restate what they heard.

Examples of Active Listening:

“I heard you say you are feeling ‘out of balance’, and enjoyed the time we spend together but that you also need more time to be with your friends… and you want to plan a time to talk about this.”

“If I understand what you said, you are concerned because you want to go skiing next winter. But you think I would rather to go to the beach. Is that correct?”

When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help develop kind and caring relationships.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

Got a feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it. Learn more about the signs and when it’s time to ask R U OK? here.

Reference: www.ruok.org.au

The 5 key areas of relationship conflict (Bonus #6)

It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on work or home, and we forget or neglect ourselves and our marriage. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage.

Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships… and now we’ve added Technology.

Couples use technology in the little and large moments. They negotiate over when to use it and when to abstain. A portion of them quarrel over its use and have had hurtful experiences caused by tech use. At the same time, some couples find that digital tools facilitate communication and support. A majority of those in couples maintain their own separate email and social media accounts, though a smaller number report sharing accounts and calendars. And fully two-thirds of couples share passwords.

Technology as a source of conflict

Whilst most of the qualities that help sustain a good relationship have not changed – commitment, effective communication, constructive conflict and patience, honesty and forgiveness amongst others – there is strong evidence that couples are using these technologies to enhance their relationships. Both the opportunities and threats associated with the use of internet and mobile technologies by couples and the use of them must be understood and considered to ensure programs are relevant and meaningful to meet the evolving needs of couples in all their life stages.

For generations, commentators have worried about the impact of technology on people’s stress. Trains and industrial machinery were seen as noisy disruptors of pastoral village life that put people on edge. Telephones interrupted quiet times in homes. Watches and clocks added to the de-humanising time pressures on factory workers to be productive. Radio and television were organised around the advertising that enabled modern consumer culture and heightened people’s status anxieties.

Inevitably, the critics have shifted their focus onto digital technology. There has been considerable commentary about whether internet use in general and social media use in particular are related to higher levels of stress and conflict.

Such analysts often suggest that it is the heaviest users of these technologies that are most at risk. Critics fear that these technologies take over people’s lives, creating time pressures that put people at risk for the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.

Smartphones have moved front and centre, across many of our relationships for better and in some cases, for worse. A recent study looked at the relationship between the presence of mobile devices and the quality of face-to-face catch-ups (Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016). The results, not surprisingly, found that conversations in the absence of mobile devices were rated as significantly higher compared with when the individuals communicating had access to their mobile devices.

The debate is beginning to intensify in business and social settings as to what constitutes appropriate smartphone behaviour. The rules are not written and what one mobile consumer might think is appropriate, another might deem abhorrent.

When phones were first released the act of taking a call or even looking at your phone at a restaurant was a no-go zone, compared with today where the standard protocol is to take a photo of your dish, to post it online for your friends to join in your dining experience. It seems that as much as we love our smartphones, our adoring connection with them is creating distances and disharmony in many of our closest relationships.

Nearly a third of Australians admit to having had an argument about mobile phone usage with their partner and 1 in 5 do so at least monthly. If we are not careful our most favourite device could become our most divisive device.

Specifically, the survey found that a quarter of Australian 18-24 year olds noted that their excessive use of smartphones had caused disagreements with their partners. For 25-34 year-olds the proportion was even higher, at 36 per cent.

While stress is not associated with the frequency of people’s technology use, or even how many friends users have on social media platforms, the use of technology is often associated with conflict between couples. Our connection with them is creating distances and disharmony in many of our closest relationships.

Through continued communication, commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our relationship together. If you and your partner ever feel overwhelmed by the ensuing discussion, we encourage you to seek out professional support. Call us.

Reference:

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas.

For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

The 5 key areas of conflict in relationships: Children

It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on work or home, and we forget or neglect ourselves and our marriage. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage.

Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.

The most important thing you can start doing is looking after yourself by focusing on these five areas. You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your relationship today.

This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships, emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

5. Children: Baring and raising children can have a significant impact on your relationship and in some cases completely dominate it. Having a shared understanding of the impact of children on us physically, socially and mentally is crucial for the long-term success of our relationship.

If much of the conflict that occurs in relationships arises out of conflicting expectations, uncover them and discuss a solution. Be aware of your partners personal goals and your goals as a couple and a family. Goals provide meaning and direction in life, and striving for goals provides a sense of purpose.

Define your family tree and discuss the various relationships. Work towards a shared understanding of how and when these interactions will take place.

Discuss family, those interactions and feelings regularly (weekly). Keep the lines of communication open and support your partner. Establish boundaries with other family members and ensure appropriate time with your partner is prioritised – and sticking to these shared rules is mandatory.

Work with your partner and ensure they are number one. Also, ensure one-on-one time is scheduled with each child.

Additionally, household tasks and the allocation of those is critical in the arduous role of a parent. Discuss and script an approach that works for your relationship. Remain open to change and decide an approach that is balanced for both you and your partner.

Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our relationship together.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to the 5 key areas of conflict in relationships.

For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

The 5 key areas of conflict in relationships: In laws

It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on work or home, and we forget or neglect ourselves and our marriage. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage.

Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.

The most important thing you can start doing is looking after yourself by focusing on these five areas. You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your relationship today.

This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships, emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

4. In Laws: If much of the conflict that occurs in your relationship arises out of conflicting expectations, uncover them and discuss a solution. Draw your family tree and discuss the various relationships. Work towards a shared understanding of how and when these interactions will take place and when you will have one-on-one and family time.

  • Discuss family, those interactions and feelings regularly (weekly). Debrief every family occasion and family holiday. Keep the lines of communication open and support your partner. The ties of family are often deep. Work with your partner and ensure they are number one.
  • Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our relationship together.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to the 5 key areas of conflict in relationships.

    For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

    #PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

    The 5 key areas of conflict in relationships: Sex

    It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on work or home, and we forget or neglect ourselves and our marriage. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage.

    Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.

    The most important thing you can start doing is looking after yourself by focusing on these five areas. You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your relationship today.

    This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships, emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

    3. Sex: Our relationship with our life partner is one of the most important and exciting relationships we will have and whilst it is one of constant change, learning and improvement, it is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on everything other than our partner.

    Whilst the quality of our sexual relationship often reflects the quality of our overall relationship, neglecting or forgetting our relationship – and the needs of our partner for affection and intimacy – can have dire and expected consequences. If neglected there is a greater risk of an affair both for the one feeling neglected and the partner neglecting the other and none of us are exempt from the risk of an affair.

    Affair proof your marriage and establishing boundaries is vital: for example, don’t get into a situation where your relationship could be at risk. Your relationship with your partner is important and exclusive. Protect each other by:

      Build each other up
      Fill emotional needs
      Set boundaries – avoid meetings, dinners etc with people of opposite sex
      Keep sex alive – to love is to give
      Be careful with emails
      Pornography – to be avoided.

    Always keep your sexual relationship interesting. Remember anything we constantly repeat will lose impact. Try to vary place and be creative, vary who initiates it.

    Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our marriage together. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your relationship. The most important thing you can start doing is to focus on your partner and your sexual relationship. Affair proof your relationship and establish boundaries and be creative. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your relationship today.

    Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our marriage together.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to the 5 key areas of conflict in relationships.

    For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

    #PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

    The 5 key areas of conflict in relationships: Work (in and out of the house)

    It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on work or home, and we forget or neglect ourselves and our marriage. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage.

    Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.
    The most important thing you can start doing is looking after yourself by focusing on these five areas. You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your marriage today.

    2. Work: At the end of one’s career or life, no one ever said: ‘I wish I had have spend more time in the office.’

    Balance is key. For marriage, it is essential that we continually review and draw our attention to our relationship with our partner to ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement. The importance of renewal in our lives can not be underestimated. Learning, growing and developing ourselves and our capabilities is the process through which marital harmony is made possible.

    Within the house, the demands can be consuming. A practical approach is to list all you weekly household tasks and allocate ownership for each. Many of our expectations about task allocation will be based on our family of origin and who undertook certain tasks in our childhood.

    Discuss the task allocation that occurred in your family of origin and understand that there are ingrained assumptions etched into out brains – who did what and when. The challenge here is to uncover those assumptions and rescript an approach that works for your marriage. Remain open to change and decide an approach that is balanced for both you and your partner.

    Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our marriage together.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to the 5 key areas of conflict in relationships.

    For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to family of origin… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

    #PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

    The 5 key areas of conflict in relationships: Managing Finances

    Finances, Work (in and out if the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise in these areas will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long term.

    All Relationships including those with your spouse and children (and others) tend towards entropy, disorder and dissolution. Marriage and divorces can be disastrous for those concerned, especially for children. Being intentional and principle centred can revitalise and enrich your marriage, ensuring your marriage is sustained and endures.

    This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

    1. Finances: As a couple you may have separate finances, savings, assets, debts, credit cards etc and at some point you will need to either talk about your individual situation or your combined financial position.

    • Understanding what are our individual drivers are with regards to Money: Discuss our orientation to money and understand your partners orientation to understand the pitfalls and to capitalise on each other’s strengths. Are you concerned about money as proving status, security, enjoyment or control? Compare with your partner.
    • Setting financial goals: What are your short and long-term goals and how much money is required to achieve those goals. Set down plans to how much you will spend and save. Determine who is best placed to manage the finances and communicate regularly with each other on how you are tracking.
    • Developing a budget to understand your incoming and outgoings is the fundamental. Listing and controlling your expenditure can be very empowering and required where access to credit is easily obtained. Whilst understanding how much we spend compared to how much we earn is key, realising the link with our spend or saving habits in our relationship is also required.
    • Gambling and other spend related issues may require counseling or assistance from a financial advisor. I encourage you to seek it should you feel that your finances are out of control.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas related to the 5 key areas of conflict in relationships.

    For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

    Tune in next week for more tips and ideas… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.intentional-relationship.com

    #PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships