Tag Archive | forgiveness

The Five Secrets to Fair Fighting and Getting What You Want

The Five Secrets to Fair Fighting and Getting What You WantIn any relationship worth having conflicts and fights are bound to arise.  The true test of the relationship is whether or not you feel that it is worthwhile to resolve these conflicts and if you are able to do so in a fair and objective way.

The five secrets to fighting fairly include sticking to the issue at hand, being open to listening to the other person, not involving others in the fight, not bringing up old issues and finally being willing to accept responsibility for your part in the issue and being able to let it go when the fight is over even if no resolution has been immediately found.

It’s important to know what you are fighting over and to stick to that issue in the argument.  If you allow things to build up over time and then explode neither you nor your partner will have a clear understanding of what the issue is or why you are fighting.

If there are many issues it is important to address each of them separately as they arise to alleviate resentment and fighting that does not have a clear focus.

Sometimes all you need to do is just listen

Listening is also a very important component of fighting fairly.  It is imperative to allow your partner to offer his side of the argument.  Fighting without listening will not be effective because it does not allow you to be open to the other person’s opinions and beliefs.

Your partner may have a very valid reason for their actions, thoughts and feelings but if you are only interested in what you have to say and are unwilling to listen you will not understand their point of view.

Another aspect of listening is to really try to understand what the other person is saying.  It’s very easy to not hear the intent of a person’s message.  In a fight you want to actively clarify your partner’s statements and give them the opportunity to affirm or deny your interpretation of their argument.

Bringing others into a fight, other than your counsellor, is also not a fair way to fight.  It is important that the fight take place between those directly involved and that neither party elicits the help of friends or family members to validate their position.

It doesn’t matter how many other people agree with you, that does not necessarily make you right, so don’t involve others in your fight.  This is not only unfair to your partner but it is also unfair to those who are dragged into the argument.

In a fair fight it is also important to not bring up old issues.  A fair fight will remain focused only on the issue at hand and bringing up the past will only distract and send the message that the past has not been forgotten.  If your partner feels that you are bringing up old issues, he may feel as if the current fight is not worth fighting because it will not be forgotten.

And if you convey the message that you are not willing to forgive and forget there is also the possibility that your partner will withdraw with a belief that there is no point in resolving this issue anyway.  Also, bringing up old issues is simply not relevant to the current fight.  A fair fight must simply be focused on a current conflict only.

Another secret for fighting fairly is to be willing to accept responsibility for your own actions and be willing to reach a resolution so you can both move on from the argument.  Those who fight fairly are prepared to concede the fact that they may even lose the argument.  Losing the argument means either that you admit that you were to blame for a situation or that you have come to understand and accept the others perspective.

Leave the fight in the past

What is most important in a fair fight is not who is right or who is wrong but that you are able to reach an amicable agreement and that you are both able to progress and leave the fight in the past.

Fighting fairly is crucial in a healthy relationship.  Disagreements are natural and resolving them in a fair way is imperative to a thriving relationship.  Not fighting fairly is indicative of a relationship that is not healthy.  A fair fight incorporates the key elements of focus, listening and resolution without involving third parties in the fight.  A fair fight is also left in the past after resolution.  Fair fighting leads to some kind of resolution even if that means you may have to agree to disagree.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Is This Really The End?

Is This Really The End?

Reflecting back to a previous article I posed three questions for you to answer to help you decide whether it really is time to say goodbye. Here they are again for a reminder.

  1. Do you feel that you still love your partner and do you feel that your partner still loves you?
  2. If you had your time again would you still go into this relationship?
  3. If you could leave your partner right now without there being any cost, trouble or ramifications of any kind would you?

If in answering these questions you come to the conclusion that this really is the end then you now have some challenging times ahead of you. This topic will be covered in greater detail in another of my upcoming books but for now let me just say this; while there will be lots of things to take care of legally to separate yourselves from each other financially there will also be lots of things to take care of to separate yourselves socially and emotionally as well.

Of course the biggest hurdle of all will be managing how you are going to continue to be parents to your children. This is sometimes overlooked in the emotion of the day.

While you contemplate finally removing the person that was your partner from your life, you can forget that while there are children to be taken care of the likelihood that you will need to continue to find a way to communicate with each other is more likely than not and may only happen in the event that one of you decides to divorce yourself from your children as well.

It might sound like a contradiction in terms, but separation doesn’t have to be the end of the world if you do it with grace and dignity and respect, even if it feels that there is no love left.

Many couples I work with know that their relationship is over but have still come into counselling to find some understanding and/or some peace and forgiveness of themselves as well as of each other so that they can move on from this.

A Healing Separation

A Program I work with with couples contemplating separation is called “A Healing Separation”. The essence of it is for each of the couple to take some time to figure out what they need to learn from the situation to ensure that they don’t end up in the same place again.

This generally includes counselling each of the couple separately as well as together. And it doesn’t matter if they have kids or not. As the name of the program implies it is about healing and finding forgiveness as it is only through forgiveness that you can truly move on. Maybe this can even be to enter into another relationship that is much more fulfilling than the one you left.

So if you are struggling with a separation maybe you could benefit from some counselling. Alternatively you will find an exercise to help you with this on my website under quizzes and questionnaires titled: “The Unfinished Business Letter”. Try it out it’s free.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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10 Secrets to Achieving Marital Harmony

10 Secrets to Achieving Marital Harmony

Marital harmony can be achieved in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is the little things that maintain the peace in a relationship and sometimes it is more monumental decisions that can either harm or help the harmony in the household. While agreement is not always possible, it is important for the couple to realize that even during arguments it’s possible to maintain harmony. As long as you understand that disagreements are only temporary the harmony in your marriage will remain throughout all types of trials and tribulations.

  • Being aware of your partner’s likes and dislikes is one way to achieve marital harmony. This awareness allows you to operate in a way that keeps your partner’s preferences in mind. If you know what your partner likes and doesn’t like you can take precautions to not engage in an activity that will hurt your partner. Additionally, your partner will respect your consideration of their feelings. This consideration is necessary for those who wish to achieve marital harmony.
  • Sharing in the decision-making process is also critical to achieving marital harmony. This is important for a couple of reasons. First it gives the couple the opportunity to work together to make a decision and second it helps to make them both feel involved in the process. Also, if one person takes the responsibility of making decisions without consulting their partner it can lead to resentment especially if the decision turns out to be a bad one.
  • Another secret to achieving marital harmony is to work to balance your career and home life. It is easy to get caught up in your job responsibilities and to begin to allow your job to take precedence in your relationship but working hard to ensure this doesn’t happen will be beneficial to your marriage. It’s important to realize that no job is more important than your relationship. There may be times that you need to work late or on weekends but try to keep these instances to a minimum. Also, strive to not bring home your work, either physically or mentally, and allow it to encroach on your marriage. It’s acceptable to share information about your day and vent about any problems you may have had for a little while but going on and on about your job will cause problems in your marriage.
  • Any marriage is bound to have its problems and disagreements but it’s important to not let that problem linger. When disagreements arise, try working out an amicable agreement but when this is not possible sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and move on with your marriage. Remember that each morning is a new day and strive to wake up having forgotten any arguments you may have had with your spouse on the previous day. If you made your best effort to resolve the problem and were unable to reach a resolution, just let it go and start the new day out harmoniously.
  • Agreeing on financial matters is also key to achieving marital harmony. Money is one of the issues that creates the most arguments in a marriage. If both partners are aware of their current financial situation and are willing to work together to establish a budget and stick to it, you will avoid discontent related to financial matters in the marriage.
  • Perhaps an important secret to achieving marital harmony that is often overlooked is knowing your partner very well and discussing major issues before getting married. For example if you have always wanted children, it’s best to find out your partners view on children before getting married. Differences of opinion in an area such as this can doom a marriage. However, if you make sure you marry someone who agrees with you about these critical issues you will avoid having problems arise later in the marriage as these subjects come up.
  • Keeping politics and other sensitive issues out of your marriage is also important to maintaining harmony. It’s acceptable to have opposing viewpoints on issues and debate your beliefs but allowing these issues to create a major rift it your marriage is not acceptable. Two people can exist harmoniously in a marriage while holding opposing viewpoints as long as they respect each other’s opinions.
  • Allowing each other some time to be alone can also help you achieve marital harmony. It’s important to spend time together and share interests but sometimes too much time together can be stifling. It is important for each partner to have interests or hobbies that they participate in without their spouse. This time away from each other helps to maintain harmony by giving each partner a sense of individuality.
  • Being respectful of your spouse is also very important to achieving marital harmony. Couples that treat themselves and each other with respect are able to maintain a sense of civility and accord even during disagreements. This feeling of respect will help the couple to remain harmonious even in the most trying situations.
  • One last secret to achieving marital harmony is to share household chores. A couple that divides up the responsibilities in the household and strives to help each other out whenever possible will have an easy time maintaining harmony. Failure to do this, however, can be very damaging to a relationship. If you have to go as far as drawing up a list of chores and who is responsible for them, go ahead and do that. A written document illustrating who does what around the house will make it clear if one person is overburdened.

It is important to not confuse harmony with agreement. Couples do not have to agree on every issue in order to have a sense of marital harmony. There are many factors that contribute to whether or not a marriage is harmonious. Some factors may be bigger than others, but they are all equally important in achieving marital harmony.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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How to Decide Whether Or Not to End a Relationship

How to Decide Whether Or Not to End a Relationship

 

So often I meet with couples who are on the brink of separation. It seems that even while there might still be a skerrick of hope they don’t know what to do about it and decide to separate because they simply can’t see any other way out.

Here is one question that came to me recently that follows this line.

“I have been married for ten years. In the tenth anniversary month, we are in the process of splitsville. One thing we both agree with is that the challenges “do not appear insurmountable”. But guess what, we just have not been able to crack. … No outings, limited intimacy living like roommates. At the moment we are getting ready for court, we are on the brink, what do we do, given that there is a sliver of hope?”

Deciding whether or not to end a relationship is just as hard as being left. Although you may be very dissatisfied or wonder if you have any love left, you may be reluctant to really make a break.

Tormenting yourself over whether or not to continue the relationship may interfere with looking at the changes you need to make in yourself. Don’t count on a new partner to take away any underlying insecurity you might have.

Before making the final decision to stay or leave, consider the following:

Do not expect yourself to feel love for your partner when you are feeling resentful. These two emotions are virtually incompatible. If you are feeling resentful at all you deal with that first. If you can’t talk to your partner about this just yet, speak to a professional Counsellor first to defuse it before it becomes too big to manage and it overwhelms you.

Imagine yourself living with your partner on even days and living apart on odd days. Contemplate what it feels like in each of these scenarios to test whether it feels more right to be together or to be separate.

Do not let anyone pressure you into a decision. Only you can make the correct choice for you. If you are not ready to make it just yet then it’s best to pause making any decision until you are ready. It might mean that your partner will make their own decision to separate in the meanwhile and if this happens you will have to accept the consequences.

I teach my clients a strategy which I call “Traffic Light”. Red stands for ‘stop’. So when you need to make a decision, or you are being asked to do something which you are not sure about, stop whatever you are doing and take some time to think about what is happening. This is represented by the yellow light; slow down and be prepared to take careful and well thought through action. Green stands for ‘go’. Take the action that has been well thought through and is the best action to take for the situation you are in.

Discover how you allow yourself to be a victim by talking to friends or a Counsellor. You will not stop feeling resentful until you stop giving up your power. You can control your life and what you think, do and say and know that if you take the time to consider your situation carefully you will make the right decision.

Identify one change you are going to make in yourself to develop your decision-making skill. Make this change consistently until you sense that you are no longer acting like a victim.

Make a final decision only after making these necessary changes in yourself. This will give you a much better sense of what you need to do next.

Often people, by their inaction, stay in relationships far too long often until they have no love left. If this sounds a bit like you take action now. Don’t let the situation go until you get to that point of resentment. And if there is any hope at all make a commitment right now to do whatever you need to do to really give this relationship the best chance you can give it.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

So often I hear from couples that they get to a place in their relationship where they are just constantly yelling at each other. And not only do they complain of having constant yelling matches but also that the arguments are as often as not about nothing so that afterwards they are left wondering what was the point of it all anyway.

It may surprise you to know that there is actually a point and if you think that that is actually nothing to do with the topic of the argument you would be right.

The point is this. As you come through the honeymoon phase of your relationship there is a need to re-establish your own identity separate from each other. All this time you have been entangled with each other in a dance only for two. You now need to pull away from each other again in order to get on with your own lives.

This is totally normal and as it should be. You need to re-immerse yourself in your work, in your friendships and in your own interests to ensure that you continue your personal journey as you carry on with your couple’s journey.

To allow this you subconsciously start to find the flaws in each other. This includes the discovery that each of you are human after all with all of the faults and failings that comes with being human.

For so long you have simply only seen each other through rose-coloured glasses. This is now the time to take off the glasses and notice that your partner is not all you’ve attempted to convince yourself they are.

You struggle with this idea. Your prince or princess is really human after all just like you.

The only way you can humanly separate from another person is to create conflict. Just like an adolescent separating from his or her parents has to create conflict so too you do. Otherwise why would you move away from each other at all?

The tricky bit in all of this is firstly to recognise that the fights are for a good reason even if there seems to be no reason at all. Then, and maybe even more importantly, it is going to be critical for each of you to embrace the opportunity that you are providing each other here for growth ensuring in the meanwhile you don’t lose sight of your relationship in the process,

Something to note here is that there are people who are addicted to love. These people are likely to use these fights as a way of leaving the relationship and to seek another to replace it. Some people go their whole lives flitting from one relationship to another. They may even believe that the relationship is over so can’t even contemplate that maybe it’s just a phase.

Then there are others who just believe that they will never actually find love at all and give up even trying to find the way out of the current dilemma.

So if you find yourself yelling and arguing with your partner, pause a moment before making a decision about whether to quit or not. If the arguments really don’t have much substance, other than it being a tug of war to prove that you are right, maybe there is something else going on here.

If this happens take the time to really look deeply within yourself to check whether this is really just a phase and it’s worth the effort to work through or is this truly a sign that you are simply not compatible and maybe should separate from each other before too much damage is done.

If you can’t see the difference clearly seek some professional help before making a decision you may come to regret.

One strategy to really test this out is to commit to going all out for at least thirty days giving 100% of your effort to this relationship without question or regret. Love your partner unreservedly with all the love you have. This might even mean stepping back to allow that person some space to grow in as you take space for your own growth.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

It constantly amazes me how some people can remember the smallest details of everything that happened around a particular event while others don’t remember clearly what happened yesterday let alone last week, last month or last year.

Actually these attributes clearly describe the difference between my life partner and me. My partner can recall events from his past as clearly as if they were happening right this minute while for me it’s more like out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

There is an upside and a downside though for each of these positions. For my partner the upside is his brilliant recall allows him to remember the wonderful people we’ve met and the places we’ve been to on our many journeys around the world. The downside for him is that he finds it hard to let go of past hurts often holding grudges which should have been let go of long ago as they prevent him from fully enjoying the company of friends and acquaintances.

For me though, as I forget about old wrongdoings so easily I sometimes also forget the lessons I should have learned and have to learn them again. On the good side I don’t tend to hold grudges as I move on quickly putting old hurts behind me. The appearance to others of me is that I harbor no bad thoughts of people and I truly can forgive and forget.

So all of this got me thinking about “forgiving and forgetting” and the benefits and disadvantages of doing this when someone has crossed you.

Forgiveness is the act of excusing someone for a wrongdoing but unless you are also willing to forget their transgression you aren’t truly forgiving them. I qualify this by adding that ‘forgetting the transgression’ is really quite different from forgetting that it ever happened. It’s about not harboring the bad feelings associated with an event but instead becoming neutral to it.

You may have been wronged in a situation and your feelings of anger may be completely justified but it’s important to truly understand your feelings in order to forgive and forget.

It is imperative that you realize that the actions of the other person may have hurt you or made you angry but that reacting in a hostile manner as a result of these feelings is not beneficial to your relationship.

While your feelings of hurt of anger may be justified, taking the time to work through these emotions before offering forgiveness may help you to forget your partner’s words or actions. If you rush to offer forgiveness before you have had the opportunity to vent your own frustrations it will be difficult for you to forget your partner’s wrongdoing.

You also need to understand the feelings of the person who offended you. It is also important to speak to your partner about why they committed the offense against you. It is not fair to them to make assumptions about why they acted the way they did.

Giving them the chance to express their side of the situation will give you a better understanding of why they acted the way they did. You may learn that everything was a misunderstanding or that you were not hurt intentionally. Allowing the other person a chance to offer their take on the situation will enable you to see their motives.

Understanding your own emotions as well as your partner’s will help you to really forgive and forget.

This kind of forgiveness can only be achieved by understanding your own feelings as well as those of the person who wronged you. It requires you to express your feelings in a rational way, realizing that your relationship is more important than being right. It might also include accepting the other’s apology whether this is your partner’s, your friend’s or a collective of people.

Give yourself a little time to manage your own feelings and collect your thoughts so that when you approach your partner you are able to speak about your feelings in a rational manner. It’s best to wait until both you and your partner are ready to speak about the conflict in a calm and rational manner than to rush in and come to regret something said or done.

A crucial aspect of forgiving and forgetting is valuing your relationship more than you value being right in a disagreement. While you may be completely right in a situation, being right is not worth destroying the relationship over.

If you are able to put your love for your partner ahead of the need for being right you will be more willing to forgive and forget. Also, forgiving and forgetting will allow your relationship to continue to flourish simply because working through conflicts makes a relationship stronger.

Finally you can never really forgive and forget unless you are truly willing to accept your partner’s apology. Harboring feelings that the apology isn’t genuine will damage the relationship because you will never forget their offending action.

Listen sincerely to your partner’s apology and have faith in them that their apology is heartfelt and genuine. Then let them know that you accept their apology and are willing to not let this situation interfere with your future interactions.

True forgiveness involves not only excusing the transgression but also effectively forgetting it as well. You cannot truly forgive someone if you don’t also agree to forget the offence. Refusing to forget indicates a lack of trust in your partner to not repeat the offence.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Will I Be Able To Love Again?

beautiful

 

This is the question that comes up for us when we have lost love. This might be as a consequence of our partner saying they no longer wish to be with us or if they have betrayed us in some way such as in having an affair.

It’s nothing short of absolutely miserable when you are deceived by the one you put all your love in; all your faith and trust in.

So the real question here might be: Do you think that people can love again after they have been left or betrayed? The answer is absolutely yes!

Firstly that one person who betrayed you was not the last human being on earth. There are plenty more. And there are those who are worthy of your love and who will truly love you in return. And sometimes you just have to make a decision to move on.

Do you want to continue to offer your love to the person who cheated you?

Sometimes your love is so strong that it can forgive anything. Even the greatest betrayals just feel like trivial deceptions because of your love. Ask yourself if your love is strong enough that it can forgive and if you can, you should forgive and then decide what you must do from there.

In order to get past whatever it was that halted us we actually do need to find forgiveness before we can decide if there is a way to continue in the relationship. And sometimes in finding that forgiveness we must decide to move on.

Even if you think they do not deserve forgiveness, its fine, but you should not keep your heart from the beautiful feeling called love and the only way you can do that is through true forgiveness.

Love is such a feeling that if a person does not find it, it finds the person. Just don’t put up walls around yourself because someone deceived or betrayed you. The really critical thing here is learn from your past mistakes so that the time in that relationship has not been wasted.

You should be careful next time, do not make the mistakes that gave the other the liberty to deceive you. Learn from your previous relationship. The first time you got deceived you were a learner. The second time you get deceived you really need to now look inside to check if you might be drawing that kind of person to yourself in some way.

However, it does not mean that from the fear of deception, you draw back from love. The way forward is to know that you deserve better and to accept then nothing less from those around you.

And check yourself for any grudges you might be harboring. These need to be dealt with before you can move on. Don’t punish yourself by not trying again at love. Open your heart and soul and allow your love and the love of another to ‘complete you’.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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