Right now i’m sitting in a small restaurant / bar / pub (i think) and I’m sitting alone, only because my lunch meeting had to reschedule. So of course, I have my handy little companion called my laptop sitting in the truck, and it makes up for the missing person, kinda, but not really.
So here I am, eating a great bbq bacon burger and fries and chillin to some decent music. The rain outside and the ambiance within this semi cozy / dark place makes it perfect for a little bit of writing. And I’m always ready to write, especially since my tiny little brain never stops and always has something to say.
What I want to share today has to do with relationships and more specific, marriage. By the way, I’m married, and have been for almost 13 years. You learn a lot about a person in 13 years, 18 if you count how long we’ve known each other. But one thing you never really learn is how to handle conflict or crisis. And this is mainly because every crisis or problem is different. Add to this the fact that no two people are ever at the same places in life or at the same place and mindset that they were during the last conflict you had to deal with. Conflict sucks but it’s part of life and definitely part of relationships. How we handle conflict is the key though and here are 3 things that I do know need to happen during times of conflict if two people hope to get through it together.
ONE. It’s important for any couple, married or not, to look at the relationship as two people on the same team. If you view each other as team mates, playing for the same team, then anytime there’s a conflict or crisis, it will hopefully be natural to look at the problem as an outside force, working against both of you, not both of you working against one another. This also helps keep two people from pointing the finger at one another. Placing blame sucks and it’s usually the biggest hurdle to overcome during conflict, especially if you feel the other person “did you wrong”. Working as a team changes the perspective, even if there is a “victim” and it allows both people to ask the question “How do WE get through this?”, rather than either person asking how THEY will get through it on their own.
TWO. You hear all the time that communication is the key to any relationship. Well, after being married for only 13 years, I can say that this really is the number one key. If two people can’t communicate effectively, it will be very difficult to settle anything or come to any kind of resolution during conflict. A good example of this would be where one person is the one who speaks up all the time, and the other “shuts down” because they don’t like dealing with conflict. Sometimes there’s a partner who doesn’t really know how to deal with conflict so they prefer to say nothing at all and have a difficult time expressing themselves. Whatever the case, two people can find a way to communicate effectively and those lines of communication should always be open and taken advantage of. We’re all human and no one on this earth is a mind reader, so please don’t expect your partner to read yours. It’s very simple. Both people should work to always provide a safe haven of communication and both should simply say what’s on their heart and mind. Always be honest with your feelings and don’t hold anything back.
THREE. Couples should never, ever choose to handle “major” conflict on their own. Most stuff of course can be dealt with between two people, but when the conflict clearly becomes greater than the two, both should agree that the right thing to do would be to bring someone in as a mediator. A mediator helps in so many ways. They can help two people see more clearly and give an outside perspective. If there’s a lot of arguing and an inability to communicate effectively, a good mediator helps direct the conversation in the right direction and can help remove any obstacles that might be the culprit for the poor communication. The simple fact that two people would try to handle a major crisis on their own is a clear sign that they should get some outside help. Sometimes we have close friends that would serve as great mediators, but it would be wise to get an expert or skilled mediator involved at some point.
Relationships take a lot of work. The key, I believe, to any successful relationship, is for both people to put the other first and serve the other person. If you have two people that are working to put the other before themselves, you can’t lose. Out-give your partner. Out-love them. Out-cherish them. Out-serve them. Live like this and you’ll be out-smarting the many things that work to destroy most relationships and marriages.
(Note: This was started yesterday. After I left the restaurant, I walked out the door, slipped on wet decking wood, and crushed my laptop. I know, it was fun.)