There's been a lot of attention lately on Sandra Bullock's and several stories coming out about her past marriage to Jesse James. Since celebrities capture the attention of a large percentage of the world, we wanted to capture powerful lessons from a topic that could be seen as only drama.
Here’s the thing, living in the world of today, you have at least one obligation, and you are married you ARE BOUND to have disagreements/conflicts/arguments arise. If you don’t, then woah...email us ;-)
So if 100% of couples encounter conflicts, then what is it that makes a couple different between the ones that get divorced from a couple who stays married?? Let’s say, even if they have the SAME challenges come up, and the same number of arguments…
While we won’t pretend that there is ONLY ONE reason for couples getting divorced, today we are going to look at conflict resolution specifically as an access to make a difference.
It’s our mission in life that divorce becomes the exception: meaning it becomes rare to see divorce happen around us and people start to be surprised when they hear about it again.
1. Empowering people to consciously choose partners before marriage
2. Couples creating a vision together before/after they take the step of getting married
3. Empowering couples to navigate conflict effectively
Today we are going to connect with you on the third point: Conflict Resolution
When we ask couples if they have ever created any agreements around how they plan to navigate conflicts or arguments when they arise, about 90% of them say, “huh, no.”
No worries, before the two of us were together, we didn’t create those agreements in any other relationships either. (hence, they are no longer our relationships). But early on in our relationship, we sat down and shared our “non-negotiables” and “requests” for when a conflict came up.
A second agreement: We would not get into a yelling match. AKA: see who could yell louder. And instead, if one of us started to get so heated they were yelling, we would take a pause.
So we invite you two to sit down and discuss: 1. What are your non-negotiables when a conflict arises? 2. What are your requests when a conflict comes up?
As human beings, we all love to be “right” about a certain topic. And this need to be right often is a killer of conversations and even marriages. It’s unlikely that two people will ALWAYS see things the same way, whether that’s picking a restaurant OR how to work through a challenge with kids.
In our experience, arguments became such a large rift in the relationship when there was not a commitment from both people to focus on understanding each other’s perspectives.
If we all focus on understanding our partner’s view, it doesn’t mean it will resolve the conflict in one minute or one day...BUT, it does create a safe environment to share with each other and work together to find a solution that aligns for both people.
‘Many couples grow apart because they don’t feel they have ever been UNDERSTOOD by their partner and being understood is KEY to connection and fulfillment.’
So we invite you two to sit down and discuss:
1. If you both can commit to understanding each other.
2. How your two perspectives can actually be more powerful than one.
Here’s a common scenario maybe you can relate to: One partner says “I feel like you never…..” and the other partner says, “I can’t believe you think that, you don’t see all these other things I am doing. It’s never enough.” and then it goes back and forth like a tennis match.
What’s missing here? Listening.
While relationships are one of the KEY pillars in life, we are NOT taught to listen effectively in school. Sure, math and science...but listening? No.
So then we enter a marriage with the majority of us really not knowing how to listen.
We mostly find ourselves listening for how we want to respond and often have a reactive response ready as soon as they take a breath.
Listening is not “responding.” Listening is truly hearing what our partner is experiencing and validating it...because it is THEIR reality. Maybe not your reality, but it is theirs.
We implemented ACTIVE LISTENING into our relationship early on and it transformed our experience of communication.
Active Listening is: Listening to your partner to the experience/emotion/idea/belief behind what they are saying. And when they are done sharing, checking in if you heard them correctly.
Here’s an example:
Mary says, “I feel like you never want to go on a date with me anymore. You are always at the bar at night with the guys.”
John (practicing active listening): “Mary, I hear you. You feel like we don’t go on the dates like we used to. I can imagine it might feel like I’d rather be with the guys than with you.” Then after she says, “Yes, that is how I feel.” Then John could offer a solution or his feedback: “ And I do want to spend quality time with you. Let’s go try a new activity this Friday, just us two.”
We invite you to try out active listening the next several days and watch how things end up moving along quite quickly and you experience much more joy and connection.
And remember, you ARE an EmPowered Couple!
In gratitude, The Freemans
P.S. if this article made any kind of difference for you, we would be so grateful if you would ‘share’ the article so we can spread this important message to couples around the world.
P.S.S. For an in-depth breakdown of more ways you can grow financially, physically and spiritually as a couple, join us in our free webinar!