Steven: Michael let’s start with you. How are we doing this week? How are we doing overall? Have you guys been able to start instituting some of the tools that I have taught you over our sessions?
Michael: We are doing great. These sessions have been really helpful for us. There was a wall between us that we didn’t know how to scale and instead of climbing the wall, we feel like you have helped us bust through the wall.
Nicole: I feel like he is listening better or maybe it’s that I am communicating better.
Steven: It could be both.
Nicole: I feel more comfortable now approaching Michael to discuss problems that I would have ignored previously.
Steven: Two things: 1.) The majority of marriages that I coach, whether the couple has been married 20 years, 10 years or 3 years, the problems started within the first two years of marriage and as a result, the marriage never recovered. Then the couple is still salty 18 years later about something that happened in what was supposed to be their honeymoon years. So I am glad that we have busted through this wall. Now we can use those bricks to build a stronger foundation. You will have disagreements and misunderstandings, and the number of times that happens is insignificant. No marriage is perfect. The only thing matters and that is how you handle them when they do happen. One badly handled disagreement can plant seeds of bitterness and deep hurt that if unchecked, will become like an aggressive cancer that quickly overtakes the heathy cells around it. This can inevitably ruin an otherwise healthy marriage. Everything you worked so hard to build together would be gone all because of your failure to take preventative measures in learning how to effectively handle normal disagreements
Nicole, focus on how you talk to your husband. Michael, focus on how you listen to your wife.
Steven: Nicole, it is important for you to acknowledge that you and your husband communicate differently. You are more direct, which can come off as being abrupt if you’re not aware of it. He is passive aggressive, so he isn’t as assertive and though he may not agree with you, he’ll appear to do so appease you. That means that at best, when you are exhibiting aggressive communication, you can only be successful half the time. The other half of the time you will either be tuned out or it will become an argument. We have to meet in the middle. My personality is similar to yours. I have some tips for you.
TIP #1 Conversation Etiquette: When I disagree with my wife, I never talk to her while standing up. When I am standing up, I project more and the person I am talking to receives my communication as if I was giving a speech or talking at them instead of with them. In all of our heated conversations I call my wife “Baby” “Honey” or “Sweetie”, and not because she is being sweet. I do it to remind myself of who I am talking to, I am talking to my wife. A spouse always deserves the upmost respect in communication. I humble myself. Make my voice smaller. I can’t change my words. I say what I feel needs to be said, however, I do watch my tone, facial expressions and theatrics. (I don’t put no hands or fingers in that woman’s face!) I can easily get turnt so I have to be extra careful and I keep I mind that in all I say she must hear the love behind it
TIP #2 – Go to Bed Angry: That “Don’t Go To Bed Angry Stuff Is Crapola.” Do what works for you. If that works for you do it but I don’t advise it. Sometimes an intense conversation is not a good idea at the end of a long stressful day. Good communication tomorrow is better than bad communication tonight.
TIP #3 – Three Point Argument: You get three points per conversation to bring up. If you have more than three then you won’t be having a conversation, you will be having an argument. If you approach your partner with more than three points it feels like a setup or trap, like you’ve been keeping score. I am one of those folks that use to come to the conversation equipped with 17 points. My wife shoots down all of them while knowing that point #7, point #12 and point #16 were potentially good ideas. She will shoot all of the points down on G.P. Mrs. Dixon don’t play!
Michael: I am glad that you brought that up. Sometimes my wife tries to make me talk when I am not ready to talk. It’s frustrating for me when I am trying to wrap my head around an issue and she has already decided how she feels and is patting her feet and pacing, rushing me to decide how I feel.
Michael: What? Wow! Really! No way! How can that be my fault?
Steven: My principle is “All relationships and all marriages are successful or they fail solely on the leadership of the man.” You identified a problem. You did not identify a solution. Leadership requires that you cease and desist living in the problem. It is not enough to be a problem identifier, you have to be a problem solver. Step outside the problem. Look at the problem globally. Where is the compromise? You don’t have to communicate perfectly but you do have to offer to compromise first. So in this scenario, when your wife begins to pressure you simply say, “Honey I know you want answers. I am just now getting an opportunity to digest this issue. Let me chew on this until tomorrow and I will have an answer for you.” (If you say tomorrow, it has to be tomorrow. Not the next day or the day after. Tomorrow!) In this situation you are exhibiting leadership through humility.
Michael: Is there anything that she is responsible for? What is your principle for wives? Do I have to lead in everything, every day? That doesn’t sound fair.
Nicole: I was just thinking the same thing. How can everything be on him? That’s not fair.
Steven: Another great question. I love talking to the man about the man when the woman is in the room. This way expectations are set correctly. My principle for wives is short, but sweet and powerful. “Be a KingMaker.” Man takes care of family. Woman takes care of man. Be a KingMaker. Women ruin just as many good marriages as men. I am just holding the man responsible by default, in the same fashion that God held Adam responsible for Eve. Your wife can lead on whatever the both of you agree that she can lead on. My wife is the decision maker when it comes to the kids. My opinion is valued (I think . . . a little) but ultimately I can’t tell that woman nothing about her kids! If she was an accountant, she would handle the money (or if she was just better at handling the finances than I am). Mrs. Dixon runs the house too. I had to return a dining room set one time. I don’t buy furniture without permission anymore. I learned!
Steven: Listen, you guys are good. I am not one of those Relationship Coaches that tries to hit you in the pocket every week forever. I’ve got crazy people to meet with and save their marriage. Y’all are not crazy, y’all just thought you could set your marriage on cruise control. Now you know better. Marriage is life’s greatest challenge. I love this challenge! Accept this challenge. Remember, the institution of marriage is perfect in the way that God created. All we need is for Michael to be a great husband and Nicole to be a great wife, and we automatically have a great marriage.
I don’t need to meet with you weekly anymore. Let’s touch base monthly, unless you have an emergency issue that you would like to discuss. You have my email and number. What I want you to do now is to put some of these tools that I have given you to use. When you get stuck, hit me up. I like scenarios. “I did this, she did that, I did this.” Presenting me with scenarios gives me an opportunity to really drive home how to be successful at marriage. And always remember, “Divorce Is Not An Option.”
Michael: Thanks man!
Nicole: Thank you Steven.
#DINAOP – The Divorce Is Not An Option Project
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