How are two individuals, brought up with different life-experiences, ever meant to work together to raise their own family? You and your partner have to work out how to communicate and have healthy arguments...
You and your wife/partner may well have very different views on how to raise children - what do you think about breastfeeding (they are yours aren’t they?), family beds (room for three in your bed?), discipline (arghhhh how is that supposed to work?), in-laws (don’t start)...
Somehow, the two of you have to act like grown-up adults and figure this all out - otherwise you are heading into a battle zone. As always, the number one rule for communication is to talk - talk, talk, talk. If you don’t, neither of you will know what the other really thinks & you are sure to do the wrong thing because she hasn’t told you what she wants. The next time an argument surfaces you might then have the confidence to face the issues without feeling like running away. Here are a few things to consider...
- Deal with issues sooner rather than later - don’t let a little thing fester & grow into something big.
- Focus on the behaviour or situation rather than the ‘person’. Always aim to ‘love the person’, ‘hate the behaviour/situation’.
- Try to see things from their perspective - this is really hard, but really worthwhile. If you can understand their position it becomes much easier to find a way to compromise or reach agreement.
- Listen - active listening involves repeating back what you have heard, in this way you are affirming that you are really hearing them & helps clarify any mis-communication.
- Fix what you can and find ways to live with the things that can’t be changed.
- Work on the relationship but don’t over-analyse it - it has been said that no one really knows what goes on between a man & a woman in a relationship - it is meant to be a mystery so don’t waste time or breath trying to figure it all out!
- Be prepared to apologise and admit it when you are wrong - this makes you no less of a man yet can be a soothing balm for your relationship.
- Try not to go to bed with things unresolved, if at all possible make your peace before bedtime - then wake up the next morning & ‘start fresh’.
- Learn to forgive - easier said than done sometimes, but anyone who has held a grudge will know it can be the beginning of the end for a relationship.
- Laughter is great medicine - couples that learn to laugh together...stay together.
- Compromise - tricky one this. As with children, pick your battles - decide what really matters to you but be prepared to give up some territory - this is not really a ‘war’ it is meant to be a ‘family’! Sometimes it is worth conceding a battle in order to build a good relationship & a strong family.
- Get some help - if you can’t resolve things between you, don’t give up & run - get some experts involved. They may be friends who seem to have ‘figured it out’ (not true - we are all ‘works in progress’) or professionals. Your children need you there, so if at all possible, find a way to make it work.
Arguments and disagreements are a fact of life. We are all unique and entitled to our own opinions; hence there will always be times in a relationship where you disagree with your wife/partner. Learning how to do this in a ‘healthy’ way is one of the vital keys to a good relationship. Each time you manage to find your way through an argument and out the other side, you will have created a stronger partnership.