Fight Less, Love More: Tips from Relationship Expert Laurie Puhn
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A little bit of remembering shows a lot of love. If you know your mate has an important meeting, doctor's appointment, job interview, etc., be sure to follow up with your partner that day. Call, email, text, or ask in person, "How did it go?" This sends a clear message: I care about you, and you are important to me. Make it a habit to do this whenever something unique happens during your partner's day. And if you seldom have anything to follow up on, that's a telltale sign that you don't know or care about what is going on in your mate's days. So start asking, listening, and remembering. It's also a great idea to follow up on your children's daily activities. But be sure to teach them to reciprocate and ask you about your day too.
Disagree without being disagreeable.
An easy way to start a fight is to quickly jump in to say "You're wrong," or "That's a stupid idea!" Meanwhile, a better, more loving way to make the same point is to use a wise question. The moment you know you disagree with what your mate said, stop and ask your mate, "Why do you think that?" Listen to the answer first (you may uncover some new information that alters your opinion), then feel free to disagree - without using judgmental words. By holding your tongue and listening first (even if it's only for a minute), you show respect. And when your children overhear you, they learn an important lesson about how to turn a disagreement into a conversation.
The values we hold dear to us - respect, appreciation, compassion, loyalty, and companionship - are fostered or destroyed every day by our word choices and actions. If you resolve to use these five simple communication tips in 2011, you will see amazing and lasting change in your relationship. And the better your relationship, the better your life.
Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of the new book Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In, is a Harvard-educated family lawyer, couples mediator, and television personality. Visit www.fightlesslovemore.com for more information, and check out her blog, www.ExpectingWords.com, for more relationship advice for moms, dads, and expecting couples.
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