lengths of comfy verdure

i like to sit back, relax and opine.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

here's where i go all dr. phil on you

i was giving someone else relationship advice today, and since i spent time writing this down, i thought, "why not blog it"? not that i'm an authority. but i've figured out a few things.

1. when you are in a fight, never say "you always" or "you never". tell the other person what they have just done to hurt your feelings specifically. if it is something that happens a lot, try to keep track of specific examples. try to be constructive and focus on specific things that can be changed, as opposed to making broad statements about the flaws in the other person's personality.

2. choose your battles. fights can be draining. try to use your energy to make progress.

3. everybody has a right to their feelings. we can't help the way we feel. and we don't have to justify them. if someone cares about us, they will recognize this. we can, however, help the way we act on our feelings. try to fight about the exact thing that just happened that caused hurt feelings, not about whether each other's feelings are valid.

4. try to end every fight with a plan for the future. each pick something concrete that the other person can do to help avoid future fights. like: one person can agree to put their socks in the hamper more often, and the other person can agree to turn off the bathroom light more often. ideally, it should be related to the original issue that caused the fight, and both of you should offer to try to make a change in behavior. you will eventually see that the other person really is trying to get along. you may not both have the same instincts about what treating each other right consists of, but you can teach each other what is important to each of you.

5. warren brought home a book he found on the sidewalk--for those of you who do not live in the city: there are stacks of books people want to get rid of everywhere every day--about being a newlywed. i have to admit that this last piece of advice is from that book--not that the rest of them didn't come from some place cheesy, except for #3, i think i really did figure that out myself. anyway, here it is: everyone has a different fighting style. some of them very entrenched. try to discover what each others' are. [please comment if you know how to punctuate that last sentence. i don't have time for fowler's until after my wedding.] some people need more time to cool down after a fight is over. and some people are very articulate and expect everyone else to be so too. and those people really deserve sympathy.

okay! so, happy fighting!


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