Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stop Talking About Your Relationship and Just Live It

Filed under: Arguments,Communication,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Scott Christian, Guest Author

It’s no secret that communication is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship. But there is such a thing as over communicating. Sometimes talking can become the root of the problem rather than the solution to it. When this happens, it’s important to be able to take a step back and recognize that words are no replacement for actions.

You can talk about how something needs to change until you’re blue in the face, but unless you actually implement the changes, nothing will ever get better.

Fight over TV remote

Fight over TV remote

This is a somewhat simplistic and low-stakes example, but it illustrates my point. When I was just out of college I had a (fairly horrible) roommate who would regularly call house meetings in order to talk about how the house was always a mess. She would get all revved up about implementing a cleaning schedule, but then never actually follow through with it herself.

But that didn’t stop her from constantly talking about how we all had a responsibility to pull our own weight. Obviously she was an annoying narcissist, but she does provide a good example of the type of person who doesn’t understand that talking is only the first part of the solution.

“Talk’s cheap! Show me!” ~ Larry James

When it comes to most arguments in a marriage or a relationship, they usually erupt from little more than differing points of view. One person sees something one way, the other sees it the opposite way, fighting ensues. And as I’ve written here before, it’s important in a fight to try to understand, not try to win.

But often, that understanding comes from listening to more than the actual words coming out of your partner’s mouth. It comes from “listening” to your entire life together, i.e. being observant and less self-absorbed. Talking has its place. But being other-centered and self-aware will always trump mere words.

Very often, the best couples I’ve known seem to intuit what the other is thinking before they actually say it out loud. Obviously this sort of unspoken connection takes time build, but the way to get there involves being present and engaged with your partner rather than merely asking them what they want. Which is what I mean by living your relationship rather than talking it.

You have to take in everything about them, their motivations, their fears, what makes them happy or bummed out. It requires you to get out of your own head, or as in the case of our generation, your phone, and actually absorb the life that’s happening around you. Talking will never be enough to fully connect with the person you’re married to. So stop all that talking and just live your lives together. You’ll be amazed by what you discover if you do.

ScottChristianCopyright © 2015 by Scott Christian. Scott is a culture and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, The Guardian, GQ, Mashable, and Glamour. Scott also writes for TheNest.com. He currently lives in New York.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

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Friday, November 28, 2014

How to Argue With Your Partner

Filed under: Arguments,Conflict,Guest Authors — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

Laurie Puhn, Guest Author

You can argue and still have a happy marriage – if your arguments lead to solutions rather than lingering bitterness. Four ways to encourage this…

Alter argument patterns ~ Many couples have fallen into argument patterns that lead to more anger instead of a peaceful resolution. Maybe she criticizes, he gets defensive, she dredge up an old disagreement, he insults her, than she storms off – again and again.

How2ArgueMaking even a minor change near the outset of an argument could prevent this pattern from recurring, improving the odds of a positive outcome.

Example: As soon as an argument begins, stop and say, “Let’s sit down at the kitchen table and talk this through.” Sitting is a particularly useful suggestion because it helps the brain remain calm and rational during arguments rather than shifting into panic-driven fight-or-flight mode.

Ask neutral questions when you feel wronged by your spouse ~ Married people sometimes see nefarious intent in their spouses’ missteps where none truly exists.

When you feel you have been wronged, ask calm, nonaccusatory questions that encourage your spouse to explain his/her actions. Imagine that you’re a dispassionate detective trying to get to the bottom of the situation, not the aggrieved party.

Example: Your spouse is an hour late for dinner. Rather than explode in anger about how he take your time for granted, calmly say, “What happened? You’re an hour later than we had planned,” or “I tried calling your cell, but there was no answer.” There might be an innocent explanation. Perhaps your partner lost tract of time… or perhaps his phone battery was dead.

Stop arguing about pointless stuff ~ Don’t argue about what your adult children should do or over facts that you can easily check. There are pointless arguments. Your adult children probably aren’t going to do what you want them too do anyway, so it makes no difference if you or your spouse disagree over what should be. And if a fact can be looked up, just agree to look it up when you can, rather than let the disagreement become a full-blown argument. Alternatively, you could turn the disagreement into a lighthearted low-stakes bet – “I bet you a dollar that I’ve go this one right.”

Team up to find a solution ~ People are more likely to live up to the terms of an agreement when they feel that they had a role in crafting it. Thus the best way to prevent a problem from recurring in a marriage isn’t thinking up a solution – it’s sitting down with your spouse to think up a solution together.

Example: Don’t tell your spouse, “Keep a cell-phone charger in your car so you can call the next time you’re going to be Late.” Ask your spouse, “What could be done to avoid this happening again?” If your spouse doesn’t think up the charger situation, raise it yourself in the form of a question – “How about we keep cell-phone chargers in our cars?”

LauriePhunCopyright © 2014 Laurie Puhn, JD. Laurie Puhn, JD, is a couples mediator in private practice in New York City. She previously served on the board of the Harvard Mediation Program. She is the author of, “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving in” (Rodale). Visit her Website at http://www.LauriePuhn.com.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Have a Fair Fight

Filed under: Anger Issues,Arguments,Relationships,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:30 am

All married couples have disagreements. In order for a relationship to be safe and meaningful it must have ground rules and boundaries. Conflict is best managed within some ground rules.

1. Deal with one issue at a time. Stick to the subject. When attempting to resolve a conflict, stick to only one issue without bringing in other problems. When you feel defensive about an issue, it’s natural to bring up something else and deflect the conversation. Storing up lots of grievances and hurt feelings over time is counterproductive. It’s almost impossible to deal with numerous old problems for which recollections may differ. Try to deal with problems as they arise.

FairFighting2. State problems in the first person using an “I” message instead of a “you” message. Rather than “You never take out the garbage unless I have to ask you over and over,” say, “I feel like you are part of the team when the garbage gets taken out. Thank you.”

3. Avoid motive analysis. It is natural to analyze your partner’s personality or try and discover the “why” of your partner’s behavior. Rather than inferring motives in a conflict, deal with the problem behavior. “I think Betty Ann would really enjoy you surprising her at her birthday party” rather than, “You are always to busy to pay attention to your own family.”

4. Know your own feelings. Seek to grow in self-awareness. Being in touch with your own true feelings is essential before you can constructively handle anger or conflict.

5. Don’t hesitate to confront each issue. In the normal course of relationships, do your best to with issues quickly instead of trying to sit on your discomfort and suppress your concerns. Last week’s issues tend to be like rotten fruit.

6. Allow a cooling-off period. Establish ground rules that permit either partner to “cool off” before trying to resolve anger. It may be necessary to walk or engage in some other physical activity in order to allow anger to dissipate.

7. Look for “win-win” solutions. When someone loses in a conflict the relationship loses and so does everyone involved. Try jointly to arrive a mutually satisfactory solutions.

8. Keep your fights to yourself. It does no good to gossip about your partner to others. Exceptions would be when more serious problems suggest the need for a good relationship coach.

9. Avoid name-calling, insults, put-downs or swearing. Putting your partner down or criticizing your partner’s character shows disrespect for his or her dignity.

10. Yelling only escalates things. Chances are nothing will get resolved when your emotions are running so high. You may be angry, but keep your cool. If you’re mad and feel like yelling, then it’s time to step away and cool down.

11. NEVER mention the “D” word! In the heat of an argument, threatening to leave the relationship is manipulative and hurtful. It creates anxiety about being abandoned and undermines your ability to resolve your issues. It quickly erodes your partner’s confidence in your commitment to the relationship.

12. Let one person speak at a time. When one speaks, the other should be listening—really listening, not just planning their rebuttal. Take turns speaking and listening so that you both have a chance to say what you need.

How you argue – especially how you end an argument – can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship. A primary requirement for any fight is to maintain control. Always treat your partner with respect, even in the heat of battle. Fighting fairly with respect for one another is a critical marital skill that you must learn.

Remember that you love each other. Never say anything that you might regret later.

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

“One of us is wrong…

and it’s not me.”

conflictSeth Godin, Guest Author

That’s the way every single conflict begins. Of course it does, because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a conflict, would it?

So, given that the other person is sure you’re wrong, what are you going to do about it? Pointing out that they’re wrong doesn’t help, because now you’ve said the second thing in a row that your partner/customer/prospect/adversary doesn’t believe is true.

The thing that’s worth addressing has nothing much to do with the matter at hand, and everything to do with building credibility, attention and respect. Only then do you have a chance to educate and eventually persuade.

seth-godinWe cure disagreements by building a bridge of mutual respect first, a bridge that permits education or dialogue or learning. When you burn that bridge, you’ve ensured nothing but conflict.

Copyright © 2013 – Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Visit Seth’s Blog.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Another Idea to Defuse a Fight

Filed under: Arguments — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , ,

When you get into arguments having good communication already established is the most effective way to end the argument. If you find that you’re having a difficult time talking about the subject with your partner face-to-face, try doing it another way.

shoutingSome couples have a very hard time with verbal disagreements because they turn into heated fights very quickly. If this is your situation, try sending e-mail to each other. When you write an e-mail you are able to compose things to say exactly what you want to say to your partner, without rehashing things that should be left in the past. Remember to always “re-read” the things that you have written a few times before hitting the send button. Be certain what you have written is exactly what you want to say.

Do not type in all CAPS! All CAPS indicates shouting on the Internet. Sending a well-written e-mail can sometime defuse the anger and allow the conversation to begin again in a more healthy way. It can open up the lines of communication and can give you both time to cool down before you meet for that face-to-face discussion, and for the best part of any argument: the makeup portion.

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fun of Making Up After a Disagreement

Filed under: Arguments,Making Up — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Making up is fun to do!

If you are married or in a committed relationship, it is normal to have your ups and downs. Spats do occur. Going silent does not work. It might be wise to walk away – to think about what happened – for awhile, but if you really love each other and continue the “silent treatment” you are sure to drive the wedge deeper. The longer you wait to make up, the more difficult it will be. Couples who stay together for the long haul usually figure out ways to fight fair and to have making up be an adventure in positive re-bonding.

arguingcoupleCall for a “time out” rather than distancing or withdrawing from the relationship. Design an agreement that puts a time-limit of the time out with a promise to come back after a brief break – 20 to 30 minutes max – to talk about it. That is an important step. Next, make sure to talk calmly and listen to each other so you can try not to let it happen again.

If your relationship is off track, the cost of complacency is obviously substantial. Go first. Your relationship priorities are clear now, right? Go first and do what’s right! It will make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder, your life work better and you will be closer to your heart’s desire; a healthy love relationship. This will help inoculate your relationship against a relapse.

Not sure how your partner will react if you go first? You must take the first step while you are still afraid. Let go of being “right” is the first step in the right direction. Holding on to being right in a disagreement is the surest way to keep it going. If you’re holding out for an apology, and your partner isn’t giving it, consider openly forgiving them anyway. Forgiveness will set YOU free.

Always remember, “When one door closes, another one opens.” But you’ll never see it if you keep looking at the closed door.

First, get your own head on straight. Know that moving forward with each other in a loving way is the goal.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia, 1924 – 1998

Someone once said, “Today’s darkness can fall into the dawn of love’s light when you are patient, understanding and forgiving.” Once you forgive and after the “I’m sorry” to each other it’s time to get back to the business of love and romance!

togetheragainFor making up to be a fun time, you have to become vulnerable – let your hair down (so to speak) – and allow each other to enjoy each other again. Let go of any resentments you may have about the disagreement that got you to this point and get on with your relationship. Here are a few ideas.

Dress up and schedule a quiet dinner to celebrate the love that you have for each other. Surprise her with flowers. Give him and “I love you” card. Focus on each other. Listen to each other. Respectfully communicate with each other. Pay attention to the words your partner is saying. Do things that show that you care. Plan at least one date night each week. Plan a visit to a comedy club and have some laughs. Be kind to each other. Give each other coupons to redeem – maybe for a back scratch or a shoulder rub. Cuddle. Do spoons!

Once each day give each other a juicy kiss – not just a peck on the cheek. Go dancing in the rain. Put your love into words. Write a love note to express the joy you feel just to be with him/her. Be more spontaneous – do things together on the spur-of-the-moment. If that feels uncomfortable. . . let go and do it anyway. Think of something your partner enjoys and loves to do and make it happen. Do whatever it takes to demonstrate the love you have for one another.

Guys: Go with her to a chick-flick.

Gals: Go with him to an action/adventure movie of his choice or a sporting event. (Focus on just being with him. Watch how much more he enjoys the fact that you are with him).

Use your imagination to make making up fun! Focus on FUN!

“When we take the pressure off and let FUN spontaneously arise, drawing on our own innate creativity skills to bring new and different energy to our relationships, our spirit awakens. Get wild, play and unleash!” ~ Lynn Zavaro

Before you hit the sack. . . always remember to say, “I love you” (out loud!).

noarguingCLoveLOGOCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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