Marriage & Relationship Tips

When confronting your partner about an issue, it is best to begin with either “We” or “I” instead of “You”.

The best time to address relationship or marital problems is when you are not in the middle of them. When embroiled in a problem, the goal is containment (damage control), until you can revisit the issue.

We are less defensive and respond better to observations, comments and requests when they are phrased as a question rather than a declarative statement; e.g., “Can you see that we’re having a serious problem? or “Have you noticed that you’re drinking every day?” or “Would you do this for me?, etc.

When your partner is upset about something, at some appropriate point ask, “What do you need from me right now?”

When dealing with a misbehaving child, having two parents in agreement is like having a river with two banks. The more often parents can say to their child, “We want” or “We expect”, the better.

It’s important to have good things to look forward to, no matter how small.

There is a difference between “reacting” and “responding”. A reaction is an impulse (a knee-jerk reaction) while a response involves delay, reflection and making a conscious choice. Without having a choice-i.e., at least two options-a person does not truly have control.

To have a chance of controlling any impulse, such as smoking, drinking, or being a “hot reactor”, requires delay, i.e., not taking action. Delaying creates conditions for the possibility of reflection.

Everyday life is, for the most part, made up of a bunch of small decisions like, Am I going to exercise? Floss? Do what I’ve been avoiding? Eat a piece of fruit or have some candy? Yell back at him/her? Drink again tonight? Study? Cook? Watch television? Go out? Buy this? Confront him/her?

There is only one real time: now. Calendars and clocks are man-made inventions that allow us to structure and organize the past, the future and everyday life. Life happens in the immediacy of the present. Stay there-be present.

Anxiety is experiencing a future event in the present while feeling powerless to effectively deal with it. You will attend to it when it arrives. In the meantime, attend to now.

Don’t “try” to do anything. Either do it, or don’t do it. You can die trying and never accomplish anything.

Exercise. Research has shown that “being a good animal”, i.e., aerobic exercise and movement, greatly improves the quality of our lives. If you think too much about exercising you’re not going to do it. Don’t think about it: just do it.

Every so often, reflect on what you do have, including your partner, and appreciate it.

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