This past weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to go to a free, one day marriage retreat. He got to be off work that day and I got a little bit of a break from our son (they offered free childcare). The retreat took place at a castle here in Colorado called Glen Eyrie. (It is a beautiful place! There was even a little bit of snow still on the ground!) There was a lot of great information that the Chaplain gave us and we even took part in a fun little course at the end. In today’s post, I will share some of the information with you:
- If you and your spouse have a disagreement, talk it out without fighting. There is no need to raise voices and deal verbal low-blows. It is also unhealthy for your children to hear you treating each other that way. Try talking it out using a totem (or a coffee cup). Whomever holds the cup controls the floor. After you state what happened, what it made you think, and how it made you feel, have your spouse (while you still hold the cup) paraphrase what you said, then you go into it a little further. Your spouse also gets a turn. This is called the Speaker/Listener Technique. Most marriage problems can be solved through understanding each other and having good communication.
- When you get into silly arguments about one person not putting dishes away, it isn’t the event that angers you. There is something more going on that needs to be addressed. This does seem simple and silly, but a lot of people don’t realize it that way or can’t put it into words.
- Sometimes it is better to try to collect your thoughts before discussing what’s going on. Set a time to talk about what’s going on and take a walk outside with each other and hold hands. Do not discuss the argument during this time. Once the time is up, then respectfully come together and begin your discussion.
- Ban problem solution. Focus on understanding each other instead.
- Emotional safety is a key to good communication.
- More structure to discussing what’s going on means less heat talking to one another and more respect, even if the technique makes you feel silly.
- In order to have a successful marriage, you have to trust one another and support each other in your decisions. There is an extremely powerful feeling when your spouse backs you up in something.
- When there is a problem that needs to be solved, it is sometimes better to listen to the advice of someone who is on the outside looking in. We were taught these last two bullet points by doing a maze.
- Don’t forget to have fun with each other and spend time with each other. Date nights rock!
- Once something is forgiven, it stays forgiven and is never brought up again.
We also took a pretty neat personality test that was very accurate, for once. Apparently I’m green. Greens have a need for harmony. All in all, I hope this has been helpful for you as it has been for us. What other tips do you have on making a marriage work?