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The Secure Couple’s Guide to Conflict Resolution.

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In the final installment of the Attachment series, we will deal with the subject of conflict resolution. One misconception about marriages & great relationships is that these couples’ don’t have conflict. Quite the contrary! It’s not the that they don’t have conflict, they just have the right tools to handle it. According to Attachment researchers conflict can serve as a way for couples to get closer and deepen their bond, not drive them apart like in anxious/avoidant relationships.

Individuals have a distinct way to deal with conflict that could be helpful to individuals that have a different attachment style.

These five distinct practices can help diffuse and resolve conflict.

  1. Show basic concern for the other person’s well-being. (Our happiness is dependent on the other and vice-versa.)
  2. Maintain focus on the problem at hand. (When there’s a willingness to resolve a specific problem, people feel that they’re being heard and it brings both parties closer together.)
  3. Refrain from generalizing the conflict. (By keeping the argument restricted to the topic they avoid making disparaging remarks and blowing things out of proportion.)
  4. Be willing to engage (When you are both willing to stay and deal with the issue do you find a resolution that you can both live with and the process helps them be more in-tune with each other.)
  5. Effectively communicate feelings and needs. (Effectively expressing your emotional needs is even better than the other person magically reading your mind. By being an active agent it opens the door to a more emotional, richer dialogue.

Why can’t insecure couples adopt these practices.

Individuals who are anxious, or avoidants have several aspects that make it difficult for them to adopt these conflict resolution principles.

An anxious partner will have their basic concerns about their partners responsiveness to their needs about being rejected or abandoned. When a conflict arises, they experience many negative thoughts and react by using any behavior to get their partner’s attention. Their response is often dramatic, but ineffective.

An avoidant person is also concerned about their partner not really being their for them, but they will deal with concerns in a totally different way. They will suppress their need for closeness by shutting down emotionally and adopting a sense of independence. The more personal the conflict becomes, the stronger their urge grows to distance themselves from the situation.

Secure Principles can work for any relationship.

If you or your partner has an anxious/avoidant attachment style, you will have to work harder to make the relationship work especially when conflicts arise. Being centered on your own needs and hurts can cause a lot of trouble. You must keep these truths in mind when dealing with conflict.

  • A single fight is not a relationship breaker.
  • Express your fears! Don’t let them dictate your actions. If you’re afraid that s/he wants to reject you,say so.
  • Don’t assume you are to blame for your partner’s  bad mood. It is most likely not because of you.
  • Trust that your partner will be caring and responsive and go ahead and express your needs.
  • Don’t expect your partner to know what you’re thinking. If you haven’t told him/her what’s on your mind, s/he doesn’t know.

I hope that this series will help you restore your faith in relationships and that they shouldn’t be left to chance. Relationships are one of the most rewarding of human experiences above and beyond other gifts that life has to offer. If couples can understand that a mismatched attachment style can lead to a great deal of unhappiness in relationships and work hard to tend to each other’s relationship well-being, you will give yourself the best shot at finding deeply, gratifying love.

Coach Keith

 

Material based on the book Attached. The New Science of Adult 
Attachment and How It Can Help YOU Find and Keep Love.
 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Attachment Series

 

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5 Lessons about your marriage kids Learn by your Example: Part 2 (Integrity)

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In part 2 of 5 Lessons about your marriage kids learn by example is dealing with integrity. As parent, we can’t always choose the type of influence we have on our kids. We can influence them negatively, or positively. So the best thing we can do is to remain true to ourselves. But we must realize how our integrity plays a part in influencing their lives.

Integrity to our spouse. 

In your wedding vows, you usually shout, or some of you reluctantly utter these words, “I take you to be my husband or wife to death do us part.” Currently, only a little more than  half of us take that part of our vows seriously. We live in a society that says, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it, get a new model.”

There may be circumstances that you choose as the reason to get divorce, but you may be showing your kids that if it’s okay to quit divorce, then it’s okay to quit almost anything in your life.

When we decide to get married and then move on to have a family, we are making not only a promise to our wife/husband, but to our kids that we will do whatever it takes to keep the family intact. Since we as human beings aren’t perfect and make mistakes, we may have to work very hard to ensure our children that we won’t  hold those mistakes against our spouses.  

Integrity in our promises to our kids.

Another way our kids learn about integrity is when we make promises to our kids. If we promise to take them on vacation, attend their extra-curricular activity, check their homework, we better keep those promises. When we break them, it shows our kids that integrity isn’t important and it chips away at the type of integrity they should have for themselves. .

Integrity for people in authority.

Finally, the way we talk about people in authority; our President, our public officials, our bosses show our children the type of integrity we have for them. We can teach our kids about integrity not just by what we say, but what we don’t say. Has there ever been a time where your kids repeated something negative you said about someone else?

Are you living a life of integrity for your kids? As an iLoveStrong reader, what are some changes do you have to make to ensure you do?

 

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Dr. Martin Luther King on Relationships!

Martin-Luther-King-Wedding

 

Today is a special day! Not only is it Dr. Martin Luther King’s Holiday, but it’s also the public swearing in of our re-elected President Barack Obama. What both of these men have in common is their strong sense of families. So I decided to take some of Dr. King’s favorite quotes and apply them to relationships. I had to take liberty with a few and add my own spin to it. I hope you enjoy.

On Communication:
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

On Forgiveness:
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

On Understanding your partner:
“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong”

On the State of your Marriage:
“It does not matter how long your marriage lives, but how well you do it.”

“The ultimate measure of a marriage is not where it stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

On Faith:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS_5

On Connecting with your spouse:
“Whatever affects one spouse directly, affects all indirectly. You can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

“The quality not the longevity, of one’s marriage is what is important.”

On Success in Marriage:

“There is no gain without struggle.”

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Hurricane Hit! Damage Done! Now what?

When here are possible hurricane’s in our marriage, some of us heed the warnings signs and do what we can minimize the damage. Some of us feel that it won’t happen to us anddo nothing. Hurricane Sandy, hit late Monday night and did major damage that still lingers as I post this blog. Millions of people are still without power, thousands more are standing in long lines for hours trying to get gasoline for their cars and generators, and emotions are frayed.

If you didn’t trust your gut and follow-up on the warning signs that were prevalent in your marriage, a hurricane such as infidelity, mistrust, financial hardship, or emotional and domestic violence ends up causing major damage.

Like Hurricane Sandy, all is not lost, we can rebuild, but it will take time, patience and hard work. Here is some of the damage that occurs when a marriage hurricane enters your life.

  • Flooding of Emotions

Currently, your emotions are overflowing at this point. There are two ways you can handle it. If the flooding was minor, you can take care of it yourself first by taking deep breaths, a step back, and assessing the situation. Analyze these factors:

  1. When did the relationship start to change?
  2. What could you have done to communicate your feelings about the situation?
  3. Now that the situation is out in the open, what are you feelings currently?
  4. What adjustments will you make to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again?

If the flooding is too severe, you may have to break out the heavy equipment. Talking to a marriage/relationship coach, can go a long way and they can see the situation for what it is and offer solutions based on the present and not the past. Often when hurricane of this magnitude happens personally, we will bring up things that happened in our past that doesn’t help to solve the problem.

  • Internal Structural Damage

A hurricane can lead to some internal structural damage that if left untreated can affect you moving forward in your marriage. The loss of trust which is the backbone of any marriage can easily be damaged.

In this very informative website, Truth by Deceptionit’s very important that your partner understands your feelings and your point of view in this situation and that you make the effort to try to make sure they understand. The other alternative such as revenge will only compound the negative feelings that already exist.

Consider these steps when trying to regain trust:

  1. 1. Understanding your partner’s feelings – By acknowledging and validating your partner feelings will do more to start and regain trust more than apologizing, explaining, or withdrawing.  These strategies do not offer real understanding.
  2. 2. Saying your sorry with no strings attached. – We always avert to doing this too quickly like we do when we are kids to prevent us from getting a spanking from our parents. In relationships though, the quick apology only appeases your partner and doesn’t seem thoughtful or genuine.  Since you did wrong, take the heat and let it linger before you offer apologies.
  3. Communicate the reasons behind the situation – At some point, your partner will want to know what happened. Do your best to explain emotionally what was going on, and not blaming your partner. Trying to deflect the problem onto your partner will only create a bigger wedge.
  4. In order to avoid the same type of hurricane, promises need to be made. These promises need to be:
    • mutually agreed upon – both parties must be satisfied with the promises offered
    • reasonable – promises need to involve things that one can actually live up to (broken promises are one of the worse things that could happen when trying to rebuild trust)
    • explicitly clear – both parties should double-check their understanding of the promises being made
    • related to the betrayal that occurred – promises about future behavior need to be related to how trust was violated
  5. The promises have to be kept at all cost, otherwise greater damage can occur.
  6. Communicate on both sides how the promises are being kept. By acknowledging the partner that did the wrong is doing better helps them to understand you aren’t holding them hostage.
  • External Structural Damage

In some cases the hurricane will cause external damage that may be irreparable. In the case of verbal abuse and/or domestic violence the outward scars may have to force you to leave the situation.

  1. Make sure your children are taken care of. – They automatically won’t understand and may need to talk out their feelings.
  2. Find a counselor. – After your kids are settled, you will definitely need to get support for yourself.
  3. Rebuild your self-esteem. – I’m sure this will be done in your counseling sessions, but you will have to set personal goals, in order to feel confident that you are moving past the situation.
  4. Don’t rush into a new relationship – you don’t want to fall into the same negative situation you don’t got out of.
  5. Utilize your resources – maintain a good support system long after your relationship has ended. The stronger the support the better.

Strivers, let’s start to repair not only our lives affected by this week’s storm, but our marriages that have been damaged as well. Remember this month, is Gratitude month.

Coach Keith

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Do you have the Magical Kitchen when it comes to Love?

For all you foodies out there, you take your kitchen to heart. But do you have the Magical Kitchen when it comes to Love. Here is an excerpt from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Mastery of Love that explains what I mean.

Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home. In that magical kitchen, you can have any food you want from any place in the world in any quantity. You
never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for, you can have at your table. You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally
to others, not because you want something in return from them.

Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza. You open the door, and the person looks at you and says, “Hey, do you see this pizza? I’ll give you this pizza if you let me control your life, if you just do whatever I want you to do. You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day. You just have to be good to me.”

Can you imagine your reaction? In your kitchen you can have the same pizza – even better. Yet this person comes to you and offers you food, if you just do whatever he wants you to do. You are going to laugh and say, “No, thank you! I don’t need your food; I have plenty of food. You can come into my house and eat whatever you want, and you don’t have to do anything. Don’t believe I’m going to do whatever you want me to do. No one will manipulate me with food.”

Now imagine exactly the opposite. Several weeks have gone by, and you haven’t eaten. You are starving, and you have no money in your pocket to buy food. The person comes with the pizza and says, “Hey, there’s food here. You can have this food if you just do what I want you to do.” You can smell the food, and you are starving. You decide to accept the food and do whatever that person asks of you. You eat some food, and he says, “If you want more, you can have more, but you have to keep doing what I want you to do.”

You have food today, but tomorrow you may not have food, so you agree to do whatever you can for food. You can become a slave because of food, because you need food, because you don’t have it. Then after a certain time you have doubts. You say, “What am I going to do without my pizza? I cannot live without my pizza. What if my partner decides to give the pizza to someone else – my pizza?”

Now imagine that instead of food, we are talking about love.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Mastery of Love

 

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Are you a trust violator? It’s time for repair!

 

 

After reading my last blog on trust, you might have realized that your relationship is suffering in this area.

How would you know that:

  • There is no feeling of risk as a partner! No risk, No trust.
  • You don’t accept and cultivate your partner’s vulnerability!
  • You don’t take your partner’s investment seriously!

If your relationship has been operating under these conditions, DON’T GIVE UP! It’s easy to throw all that you have worked for away. Trust can be renewed with these 6 repairs.

  • If you get a sense that you have violated your partner’s trust, bring it out in the open. Acknowledgement is the first step to healing. If you remain silent you will further erode any possibility of a strong relationship. If you need support, or you need someone to help you create a plan contact a counselor or a relationship coach.
  • Trust the violation and the repair very seriously. Building trust will take work. You will have to do more work and go a little overboard to gain her trust back.
  • If you partner has violated your trust, don’t let them off the hook. If your trust was violated, let them know it. You self-esteem is just as vital to a strong relationship. If you never get to the point of comfort-ability, you will never feel restored in your marriage.
  • Don’t become a martyr;it’s not about you, it’s about your partner. When the truth comes out that you have violated his/her trust, don’t even utter, “I’m such a horrible person, why did you even marry me? I knew I would mess up.” These phrases will turn your partner’s anger meter up a hundredfold because you are looking for forgiveness when it’s not warranted.
  • Make the changes and commit to them. Come up with a mutual plan that will help repair the trust and commit to it. Remember, some of the things your partner wants you to do may seem ridiculous to you, but it’s not about you. For instance:
    • Making sure you can be reached by cell and text. Let your partner know where you are going and who you are with.
    • Giving control and access to your finances including your paycheck.
    • Discussing any major decisions you need to make before you make them.
    • Getting help for an addiction.
  • Rebuilding trust has no timetable. It will take time to rebuild, but it can only be done if the partner that is violated can truly forgive and begin to take the risk again.

STRIVERS, continue to work to build and maintain a strong relationship. Our family and friends need it.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Why can’t our Women Trust Us? We don’t possess all the elements.

Today, I was speaking to a former student about one of her posts on FB. She had some anxiety about a situation about her boyfriend and how she was going to handle it. Is was about the essence of trust and how he had violated it several times.

Why do most issues  of trust  involve the husband, or the boyfriend? Why do we as husbands, or boyfriends scratch our heads when their female partners grill them about their whereabouts or extra-curricular activities? Some of us don’t possess all the elements needed to have a trusting relationship.

As men we are conditioned to live a certain way; strong, fearless, be the best.

On the flip side, we have to hide the bad aspects of our life, our weaknesses, the bad behavior and our fears. That sort of machoism may work in other circles of our life, but keeping those things a secret works in reverse when it comes to relationships. Why?

Our connection with our partner relies on creating a deep connection with your partner. The deep connection allows to desire, become passionate and gracious toward one another. These essential elements help form the love life you crave with your partner.

When our partner doesn’t see us as trustworthy toward the relationship, our connection suffers, thus the relationship suffers.

So what are some of the elements of trust that we as men need to develop.

Trust involves Risk – We have to be willing to break out of our cocoon that we place around our lives to avoid getting hurt. We can’t tell our partners:

    • I’m good, when we aren’t
    • Pull away because we want to pout, or don’t like what she has to say.
    • Continue to keep a bad-habit a secret.
    • Disconnect, or break-out because our flaw will be exposed.

We have to acknowledge and validate our partner’s vulnerability – Our partner may not reveal their true self because the energy you give off doesn’t invite her to do so. If that is in your heart, you must understand where that is coming from and make the necessary changes.

Take your partner’s ability to trust very seriously. If your woman, has taken the necessary steps to give you her trust, you must work hard to maintain it. Usually there has been point where her trust has been abused and she is hoping you won’t do it again.

If you happen to be in a relationship that has trust issues, in the next blog we will give tips on how to repair it.

Coach Keith

 

Keith Dent, is President and CEO of Strive 2 Succeed Coaching Services, an organization that helps individuals and groups strengthen their communication skills and understand how to hear each other deeply and with empathy. Understanding is the cornerstone of successful, harmonious relationships.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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