Feb 6, 2018
Brian & Heather Mayer talk about the ability to communicate
fairly when differences arise. To be sure, relationships are
always going to have conflict. The goal is not to avoid
conflict, but how to manage it appropriately. Today’s episode
will help you learn new perspectives and new skills to help you
manage how you talk to each other. We hope you enjoy today’s
message. For more information and additional resources please
visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- Conflict and Differences are actually a good thing. It
means you are to some degree expressing your opinions and needs to
your partner. When you both can do this, you will invariably
bump into each other on occasion when these do not match
- Couples that do not have conflict and always communicate
appropriately using fall into one of two categories.
- Either the relationship is so new and they
have not run into this and the couple begins to develop rose
colored glasses. Eventually conflict and communication
differences will arise.
- A second category is a relationship where one or both partners
have been beat down to the point where conflict has
ceased because either or both of them are afraid to
express needs and wants.
- Personality differences where it may be hard to stand up for
yourself and so there are no disagreements.
- A healthy relationship will have conflict. Now there is
no magic formula to how much or how little is good. However,
we would say how often it is dealt with appropriately will
often be the best indicator of the health of the
- Let’s talk about some of the ways couples do not communicate or
fight fairly. We will also talk about the solution to each of
these ways in which we do not fight fairly.
- PROBLEM 1: Bringing other
issues into the disagreement. You may remember a
time that your partner either did the exact same thing or something
similar, and you bring that into the argument.
SOLUTION: Stick to the issue at
hand. You need to resolve this issue on the table
and not bring in other issues. The issues can better be
resolved by sticking to it.
- PROBLEM 2: Saying “You Always”
or “You Never” at the start of your statements. This
is similar to the first problem in that you are bringing up past
issues and you are turning the discussion away from the issue and
into an attack on your partner’s
personality. SOLUTION: Concentrate on
your feelings about the situation, by starting with
“I feel irritated” or “I feel sad when..” for
- PROBLEM 3: Making your goal that
of winning the argument. You may feel so strongly
that you are right, that you forget about the importance of the
relationship. SOLUTION: Make sure to
keep a balance of working on the issue while maintaining the
relationship. Often conceding certain points
to your partner regarding an issue can help you get to a healthy
- PROBLEM 4: Hold a
grudge by silently stewing over an issue. In essence
you are beginning to keep score when you do this. Often your
partner has no idea you are doing this, and so while you think your
partner has the issue it is really you.
SOLUTION: Seek forgiveness
in a timely manner. For some this is tough to do immediately,
but it needs to happen. Forgiveness is simply telling the
other person you are no longer holding the issue against them but
it does not mean you trust or forget. This often takes
- PROBLEM 5: Asking to discuss an
issue at an inappropriate time. Trying to discuss an
issue when one of you is tired or ready
for bed is often not a good time. Trying to discuss
an issue right when you get home from an extremely
stressful day is also not a good time. Discussing
something in public or in front of the
kids is also not good.
SOLUTION: Look for clues as to how
partner feels and again whether or not it is a good
time. Also simply asking if
now is a good time, also helps!
- PROBLEM 6: Name
calling. This is called contempt
and is a way whether conscious or not to push your partner
down to a level that is beneath you. Research shows
that divorce will happen quickly the more this
happens and research also shows that it has a physical impact by
eroding the receiving partner’s immune
system. SOLUTION: Obviously not doing this is
best, but in order to stop you must visualize the best in
your partner. That even though this situation is not
good, they are a human being just like me.
- PROBLEM 7: Discuss something serious or
something that bothers you while you have had
alcohol. You can be taught all of the fair
fighting skills in the world but if you have been drinking, none of
these will work. SOLUTION:
Wait until you are sober, before discussing the
issues. If drinking has become a significant problem in your
relationship whereby verbal or physical abuse has occurred
depending on the severity, you must either seek
professional help for the alcohol abuse or at worst
seek a shelter if your safety is at risk.
- PROBLEM 8: One of you is talking
much more than the other in a discussion about the
issues. This could be a personality
difference (think introverted or extroverted) or could be
something more serious where one of you is oppressing the
other. Either way is not good.
SOLUTION: Equal time for
each of you to discuss the issues is important. If you have
trouble with this, use something visual like a
spoon and only the person holding the spoon can
talk. Obviously be fair and take turns without going on and
- PROBLEM 9: Turning away from each other
or even arguing from different rooms or even different
cities! SOLUTION: Body
Language and facial expressions are so important and so
squaring up to each other when talking to each other. You
could even take it further by holding hands while
discussing an issue. Lots of hugs throughout
the process are good too.
- Remember disagreements are going to happen. It doesn’t
mean your relationship is not healthy. It could actually mean
the opposite. However, if you do not feel like you are
sticking to some of these solutions we mentioned then there is work
to be done. For most issues implementing these strategies
should help a great deal to give you the relationship you
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As always remember that marriage is nothing something you have,
it is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are
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