Write it Out
I remember the first time I saw him. Holding up my pretend flute, I tried my best to reflect the perfect posture. It was the summer of '95 and marching band rookie camp was in full swing.
My husband and I met when I was a freshman in high- school, started dating my senior year, and got married five years later.
I've been with the same man for 18 years. Honestly, I can't believe that's true.
You see, we were in counseling for three years straight, two times we were on the brink of divorce, and I've had very unhealthy relationships during that period. Miraculously, we're on the other side of all that. Largely because he and I ascribe to a motto:
Love is not a feeling, it's a choice.
(Which I wrote a tad about.) And so with 18 years under my belt I have some advice to couples - today I'll just share one.
WRITE OUT YOUR ARGUMENTS
If you're newly married, or been arguing the same thing over and over - the likelihood you're missing some information or have difficulty expressing yourself is pretty high. Writing your arguments slows down the conversation, it helps put logic front and center, enables you to better understand what is being said, and keeps the conversation moving forward and on point.
Our early arguments looked like this:
- My husband and I was sit down with a notebook.
- He would share his opinion.
- In order for me to write it down clearly, I had to repeat his statement but with my words.
- Once he agreed, I wrote it down.
- I would read his statement then respond directly to what was said.
- He would repeat with his own words what I was saying.
- Once I agreed, I wrote it down.
Notice, I wrote it down. We didn't pass the notebook back and forth. While my husband was willing to participate, asking him to write it down was a tad too much. To allow him to put more energy into talking, I was okay with the writing duty. Which leads to the final point.
With conflict, the goal isn't to win or lose, but rather to grow together.
Conflict is not about who argues best, who relinquishes the most. It's an event that allows us to help each other, learn about the other, and grow ourselves.