Marriage Minute: There’s something all couples fight about…

Take a guess. Money? Sex? Chores? Those are all good guesses, and likely accurate for many couples, but not true for all couples.

In an interview, Anderson Cooper asked John Gottman about the number one thing that couples fight about. His answer?

Nothing.

That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch!

For example, in the Love Lab, a couple fought over which TV show to watch. John determined that “it just happens” and they’re actually not fighting about the TV.

What they might really be fighting about is control, or sharing, or compromise. But none of that is expressed, so they’re really arguing over nothing!

So, if you find yourself in those kinds of fights with your partner, try to take a step back and ask them what’s really going. What’s the core issue here? What do they need from you? What do you need from them?

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 7 August 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Reunion and Reintegration: 3 Guidelines to help your relationship

welcome home 400During reunion and reintegration, couples will experience change and adjustment, just like they did when the deployment began. Sometimes this can be more stressful than any other part of the deployment process because of the conflicting expectations and changes that have occurred during the separation.

The reunion itself is often full of emotion and expectations. It can be an awkward mixture of excitement, joy, strife, apprehension, among other emotions. Both partners may need to renegotiate routines or responsibilities that were in place due to the deployment in order to find a good balance.

Be Realistic: Throughout the deployment both partners may be daydreaming about what it will be like to be home together. You may expect homecoming to be a passionate rendezvous, but when you are together you feel a little awkward and need some time to get comfortable together first. It is common that during the reunion, the deployer expects their partner to shower them with appreciation for the hardships they endured during the deployment. However, their partner may be looking for the same grand gesture. Instead of understanding that both experiences were challenging, couples may find ourselves in the “who had it worse” game in which neither person gets the validation they need and deserve.

Be Patient: Keep in mind that the deployer is coming home to a family in progress that has developed different routines. What about the partner who had to make the family budget? They may like doing it now, but the deployer expects to pick up that duty again. While one Airman was deployed, his wife started visiting her family twice a month. When he got back, she still wanted to go to her parent’s house often, but he expected that now he was back they would spend more of their time at home.

There can be many expectations on how to handle change. Sometimes the deployer expects things to go right back to the way they were before the deployment. There was one Airman who would read her 4 year-old daughter a bedtime story every night. It was something they both greatly enjoyed. When she got back from the deployment she assumed they would pick-up right where they left off. She was surprised and sad to find that her daughter was uninterested in story time. What do you think happened when she tried to enforce this routine? Sometimes this can cause tension among family members who are accustomed to the way things are. A realistic plan may be for the Airman to observe the new routines for a while and slowly join in when everyone is ready.

Communicate: Good communication can be defined differently by each couple based upon their experiences. However it is defined, good communication usually brings emotional safety for each partner. When one feels heard and able to understand the other person’s point of view, both are communicating well and experiencing emotional safety. Good, emotionally safe communication makes it okay to open up your heart to your partner. When you do your best to listen carefully to your partner, you make it safe for them to open up to you.

floorMany may have experienced times when their communication doesn’t look “good.” Sometimes your normal way of talking just isn’t working, but there’s something that needs to be talked through. Often couples keep trying over and over, or maybe they keep doing the same thing only louder. If this is the case for you and your partner, being able to use a method of talking that structures the conversation and allows both to listen will help good communication. One way of communicating that does this is the Speaker Listener Technique. You can learn about it from our Speaker/Listener Technique page that describes the steps.

There are choices to be made in communicating with your partner. When an Airman returned home, he found that his 15-year-old daughter was acting out at school. His wife was never strict with discipline, because that was a role he normally fulfilled with her support. But during his absence, his wife had allowed her to get away with many things that together they would not have. He had a choice to make. He could assert his power by enforcing new rules or he and his wife could brainstorm together and come up with other options that were reasonable and fair to everyone. They talked about it and agreed to let the daughter have input on the new rules. With consistent structure and guidance and by allowing her to have a say in important matter, her behavior improved and she was no longer getting into trouble at school.

Plan and prepare for the reunion with your partner just as you needed to prepare for the deployment separation. Some plans that you make may need to be readjusted as new events unfold. Be open to new ideas. Most importantly, stay connected and work as a team.

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids How Was School Today

By now those of you with school age kids have probably already made it home and attempted the “how was school today” conversation.

As a child my answer to my parents was always “fine,” “good,” or “alright,” but never much more. My mother would always have follow-up questions such as “what did you learn today?” as she attempted to get more than a one word answer out of me. Again my answer was the usual “nothing.” You may have done the same with your parents, but now you are on the other side of the table. So what do you do?

25-Ways-to-ask-your-kids-how-was-school-720x720Liz Evans, of the blog Simple Simon and Company, used to be a teacher and now has three kids. She too wanted more than a one word answer, so she came up with a list of 25 Ways To Ask Your Kids How Was School Today without asking “How was school today?”

After an overwhelming response to her original post, she added more questions for older kids in 25 Ways to Ask Your Teens ‘How Was School Today?’ WITHOUT asking them ‘How Was School Today?’.

Grief Camp (Camp Wakanyeja) for Children Taking Registrations Now

Camp Wakanyeja, sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network and Hospice of the Hills, is a one-day camp for children (ages 6-12 years) who have experienced a loss through death within a year.

Hospice of the Hills is holding the camp on Saturday, October 4, 2014. To register, call the Hospice Grief Center at (605) 719-7722 or (800) 209-5719. The cost of the camp is $5 per child or $10 per family. Scholarships are available.

The mission of the Camp is to provide a safe place for kids to express feelings related to the death of a loved one – a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, or anyone else close to the child.

GriefCampWakanyeja_FlyerDownload their flyer or call the Hospice Grief Center at (605) 719-7722 or (800) 209-5719 for more information.

 

 

Résumé Creed

ThisisMyResumeThis is my résumé. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My résumé is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My résumé, without me, is useless. Without my résumé, I am useless. I must use it to write my future true. I must write truer than the other job seekers who are trying to take the open jobs. I must get a job before they do. I will…

My résumé and I know that what counts in the job search is not the number of résumés we write, the noise of our interview, nor the references we have. We know that it is the job offers that count. We will get job offers…

My résumé is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, and its required attachments for each job opening. I will keep my résumé clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

I swear this creed. My résumé and I are the defenders of my future. We are the masters of my destiny. We are the saviors of my financial future.

So be it, until employment is secured, and there is no uncertainty, but my final retirement!

  • Adapted by David Brinkworth from the Rifleman’s Creed (originally written by Maj Gen William H. Rupertus)

The 2014 Sturgis Rally is Here

sturgisThe 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is officially next week from Monday, August 4th through Sunday, August 10th. If you haven’t already noticed increased traffic on I-90 yet, you will as Rally goers begin pouring into the Black Hills region.

Last year the rally had an estimated attendance of 467,338. Even if you aren’t going up to Sturgis you will be affected by the Rally. Tourist sites from the Badlands to Devil’s Tower and throughout the Black Hills, as well as restaurants, bars, or anything you think of as entertainment will be packed. HAVE PATIENCE!

The Rally is the experience of a lifetime. Visiting exhibitors can show you anything and everything you’d want or need to dress you up or dress up your bike. Or demo virtually every kind of bike on the market – custom, V-Twin or metric. In addition to the bikes there are concerts and races and bike shows, five blocks of Sturgis’s Main Street bikes-only street vibe, organized rides, and custom legends.

If you are new to the area or have never gone to the Rally, check it out, but be prepared for traffic and a lot of people.

Here are a few tips to survive the Rally:

  • If you are going, have a plan. (Have a designated driver!)
  • There are no open containers allowed in Sturgis
  • Pay attention to the signs that say NO PARKING and the curbs that are painted yellow. If you park by these you will be towed and walking to the impound yard to pay to get your ride back.
  • Look out for motorcycles, not all of them are looking out for you
  • Pay attention to speed limits in all areas
  • Again, HAVE PATIENCE!

If you think this year is crowded, next year is projected to be even more crowded as the 75th anniversary!