Dealing With the Big D

Deployment sucks. There’s no denying it, and, unfortunately, there’s no way to magically make it easier. It’s not so simple as one more person telling you to keep your chin up, as if, maybe after you hear it enough times something will click in your head and you’ll no longer feel down. Nope. Sorry! Not gonna happen.

I’m new to this, and I’m taking everyone else on their word and hoping that it will get better and easier. I hear the first month is the hardest. We’ll see! But in the meantime, I’ve found some comfort in some resources I found online. I’d like to share them in hopes that someone else might also enjoy them – whether you’re a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend of a deployed soldier! So, here we go, in chronological order…

Before He Leaves

1. If you are feeling a bit frazzled and trying to remember what needs to be covered before he leaves, here are a few tips from eHow.com: Finances, vehicles, holidays, and household maintenance – all important things to add to your pre-deployment to-do list. See the full article by clicking here.

2. I did not have to face the problem addressed in this article on ChristianMilitaryWives.com. However, I still found some really good advice in it, and would recommend it to you, especially if you find that your soldier is seeming more distant the closer deployment gets.

“Don’t let your sour, bitter thoughts get in the way of your relationship with Christ or your husband.  Don’t let pre-deployment jitters get you down! You are armed with something that non-Christians do not have.  You have God on your side, ‘if God be for us, who can be against us?’ Romans 8:31
-Patti Katter

3. There are several good all-inclusive articles I found. They include advice for Pre-, During, and Post-Deployment. Twoofus.org focuses on Preparing Your Marriage for a Military Deployment with advice about things like patience, blame, and infidelity. Red Cross has an article on Deployment Tips that focuses mostly on homecoming, but it also has a really thorough checklist that will prove useful throughout the entire deployment.

I saved the best for last, though. As far as an overview of the whole process of deployment, I liked this article by Stacey the best. She touched on some things that I really was beginning to think I was alone in feeling. The truth is that, as she says, “just about any emotion you have during this time period is normal.” Reading this article really helped me remember I’m not alone, and, believe me, it’s good to have constant reminders of that fact.

“Depending on your husband’s unit, you could have months of notice before they deploy or as little as a few hours. Your first reaction could very well be shock, disbelief and a feeling of helplessness. You may have thoughts run through your head about flying off to another country and disappearing. Although this is common, it’s NOT recommended! They will find you and then not only will he be deployed, he will probably serve jail time as well and have pay and rank stripped from him.”
-Stacey – MarriedtotheArmy.com (Dealing With the Emotional Roller Coaster of Deployment)

While He’s Gone

1. I’ve already mentioned this article in my post SMW Syndrome. Check it out, if you missed it, or go straight over to Anita’s article about Super Military Wife Syndrome.

2. Your soldier deserves to come home to the real you, so take care of yourself while he’s gone. Exercise, journal, work on projects, set goals, et cetera! Read eHow’s article (this is a different article than that mentioned in the first section) for more thoughts on the subject. And, I would also recommend this Military Mama’s post called Lessons Deployment Has Taught Me. It’s okay to be sad! Finally, read quotes from other wives at ivillage.com that are, supposedly, the best 21 tips you can find!

“People are just going to say things in hopes it makes you feel better. Let them.”
Lessons Deployment Has Taught Me

3. Meanwhile, aside from keeping your body and mind cared for, your soldier is off in a distant, probably harsh, land. He (or she) is separated, not only from his spouse, but also from all of his loved ones. He is probably sleeping on a cot most nights, in a room with little in it to speak of home. He needs care, too, and don’t forget it. So, tell him frequently how you feel about him and that he is in your thoughts and prayers. Thank him for his service; express your pride. Send letters!

4. Care packages are another great thing to do for deployed soldiers. Ask your soldier (or his wife) for a list of items he would like to receive. There are lots of websites, some of which are listed below, which will give suggestions on items you might choose to send. Here’s a compiled list:

  • Foods they can’t get from the DFAC or PX
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • Photos
  • Stationary
  • Stamps
  • Pictures or posters for walls, if they have any
  • Travel-sized medicines and toiletries
  • Moist towlettes/cleansing cloths
  • Reading material
  • Batteries
  • Puzzles/other games he might enjoy
  • Visit these websites for more info: How to Support…, How to Make…, How to Ship…, US Army Care…

DO NOT send any of the following:

  • Melt-able Items (Chocolate, et cetera)
  • Alcohol/Drugs
  • Pork
  • Pornography

Make sure you have your soldiers full, correct address before you mail anything! And, before you go off packing things into just any old box, check your local post office for FREE boxes. They are called flat-rate boxes, and you do not have to pay for them. Take as many as you want! They come in several sizes. No matter how much they weigh, they have a flat rate for shipping, and it’s a very good deal. You can also visit USPS.com and order 10 or 20 boxes, which they will deliver to your door for free! You will also need a customs form (2976-A) for each package, and you can get those for free at the post office or free from USPS.com. Additionally, everyone should check out THIS website which tells you how to get an entire Military Care Kit for free. It has everything you need all included.

Closing Thoughts

Once more, I want to link you to the following articles which include a few homecoming tips.

Finally, there are a few bright-sides to deployment, as outlined at Milspouse.com. Head on over there to see what they are. And I would love it if you had suggestions on additions to that list. The more bright sides we can come up with, the better! My favorite from their list is how much easier cleaning is when he’s gone. Especially with no kids, yet, to dirty things up. 🙂

 

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Managing 24 Hours

I’m having trouble managing my time. I actually sat down yesterday thinking I could create some kind of budget to account for all the minutes I have available to me in a day. But it didn’t work.

Why doesn’t budgeting time work like budgeting money? If I know I have so much money coming in every month, I can put each dollar in a category, even if one category is “extra” or “spending money.” But with my time-chart, no matter what, I never seem to have enough time. By my estimation, I need about 35-40 hours a day to live comfortably. But I can’t just go adding hours to the day, can I? I mean, maybe if I change my sleep schedule up. It would be pretty difficult, though.

I think it’s good to have ambitions and goals for using your time that you might not actually reach, but it’s hard to be content with not reaching your goals! The truth is there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So what should we do?

Remember to Be

Let me remind both you and me again of the Importance of Being. We need to savor life, not rush through it. Be happy about each thing you accomplish, and think about the benefits of having done that.

So far today, I’ve:

1. …made the bed. This is a new habit I’m trying to develop. It feels really good to walk into our bedroom throughout the day and see a neat bed. It is complete with the decorative pillows that came with our set of bedding (a wedding present from some lovely friends of ours – who I am reminded of when I look at the bedding, all neatly made). It also makes me feel like Hubby will be better able to see my effort to take care of the house, and it is nice to pull back the covers on a neat bed at night and slip between unwrinkled sheets.

2. …started another load of laundry. We aren’t going to run out of clean undergarments, tshirts, or uniforms today. And now that I’m doing a little bit of laundry every day (almost), it’s a lot more manageable to keep up with the chore.

3. …loaded the dishwasher. The sink is empty, available for washing things, filling glasses with water, or whatever else we need. No stinky, dirty dishes in our noses.

4. …wrote 750 words. I’m on a 13-day streak, and I feel pride in that accomplishment. My thoughts also feel more organized.

Don’t Budget Every Minute

Don’t be like me and try to account for 1440 minutes each day. Even if you could squeeze everything you want to do into those 24 hours in theory, you very likely wouldn’t be able to do it in actuality. It takes time to move from one task to the next. Things can happen that you didn’t include in your plan, such as phone calls or spontaneous conversations. You just can’t account for what might happen. You can’t plan it in. And unlike with finances, you can’t keep a separate emergency fund of a few extra hours in case something comes up. It doesn’t work that way.

We should enjoy a slower pace, in my opinion.

My advice is to alternate which tasks are important on which days. For instance, I would like to have time to write on my novel, draw, crochet, deep-clean my house, and hang out with my friends every day. But since I know I’d run out of time trying to do all of it on one day, I can choose to spend Monday’s free hours on writing, Tuesday’s free hours on art, etc. If you’re like me and trying to figure out how to fit it all in, that’s the only advice I have.

Any Advice is Welcome

Time Management has never been one of my strong points. I’d like for it to be, but usually I… well, fail. I fail. 😛

When I was younger, my time was always eaten by the TV. Then it was eaten by AIM and MSN Messenger. Now it’s eaten by Facebook, reading blogs, and reading novels. Is that ok? I don’t know. Don’t I look back fondly on those times I spent hours and hours on AIM? At least it’s a good memory.

What about you? Do you have any advice for managing time? Techniques? Thoughts? Or do you just sympathize with me? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

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Father’s Day

I hope everyone had a good Father’s Day yesterday! I did, actually. I spent it with my step-father and mother, who were in town visiting for a few days. This made the first Father’s Day I’ve actually spent with him since they moved away from Texas.

My Father Figures

My mom remarried when I was thirteen, and in my mind, I was pretty much raised and practically full-grown. For years, John was my mother’s husband, but to me personally he wasn’t really anything. I noticed that Mom seemed to have a lot of time for him and not as much for me, so for some time I resented that. During my more rebellious times, there were decisions made by the two of them that I blamed fully on him rather than equally on him and my mom, and that made me resent him more.

But now I’m just grateful.

There was no one else in my life acting as the sort of father figure and male role model that I needed to see. John was more firm with me than my mother probably would have been, alone, and he had a right to be so! He cared about me from the time they got married, and I know now what I couldn’t always see, then – that he did so many things for me out of love, even though neither of us said “I love you” until sometime within the last few years. And now, as I’ve matured enough that he doesn’t have to try to keep me from hurting myself, I’m learning to enjoy our relationship even more. I’m so glad to have him!

My grandfather is the other father figure in my life. He took me to the parks when I was little and played Pocahontas with my friends and me in the woods. He taught me about birds, trees, and constellations. He was the one to teach me how to whistle through my hands in that way that sounds like a dove call, and he was the one so proud of the pig-latin-type language I made up as a child. My father wasn’t there to do those things with me, but Grampa was.

Now that I’m older, Grampa is still a special person in my life. He helped me get my first car and is always willing to step in at times when I need a father’s reassurance or advice. He was one of the key people whose approval I wanted when I was getting married. My husband and I long to spend more time with him and glean what wisdom we can from him.

My Dad

In many ways, my dad was less of a dad for me than the others. But I still honor him on Father’s Day. He isn’t perfect, but he’s my dad. God knew… everything that would happen in my life, and God still demands that I respect my parents.

When I was three, they divorced, and Dad moved away. But every summer when I was young, he was the one who paid to have me fly out to visit him. He taught me to fish, to bait a hook, to love the ocean. He taught me about a different kind of love between man and wife than I would have learned at home. He has taught me that you must make hard decisions in life and then live with the consequences. He has taught me that faith and perseverance can sustain you through many trials. And though he wasn’t here to get to know me and my husband, his sentiments during a phone call when I told him we were dating, and then engaged, were worth as much to me as my Grampa’s approval and John’s willingness to walk me down the aisle.

My Husband

My husband doesn’t get a father’s day card yet, but I’m so happy that he is the man who will be Dad and Father Figure to our children. From the good examples on his side of the family, Hubby has become someone I deeply respect. I have confidence in him to be a great father, and I’m excitedly anticipating the year that I can also give him a tribute! 🙂

Mother’s Day 2010

This post may take the place of my regular Monday post!

portraitgreyI just wanted to take a moment to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there. I am not yet a mother, though I intend to be one some day! I do, however, have great respect for mothers of all ages, from the young military wives to those of you who have been mothering for 40+ years. I especially want to make sure my own mother knows how much she is appreciated today!

Who She Is

Without giving away personal information, I want to tell you a bit about my mom. She got married as a young Christian woman, and she and my dad became missionaries very shortly afterwards. She gave birth to my sisters and me while living in Suriname, South America, and she raised all of us there, including my brother, who was born in the states. When I was three, our family moved to Texas, and my mother had to go through a painful divorce. All of us children stayed with Mom, and she managed to keep going through such a hard time. My eldest sister married, the next oldest went away to college in another state, and my brother soon left to live with Dad, leaving just Mom and me for most of my childhood.

As a single parent, she managed to keep me in a a home that was never lacking in, well, anything. We never ran short of anything or ran out of any essentials. In fact, the idea that such a thing could happen never crossed my mind, as our home was so stable to me. She went back to school and completed her nursing degree while working another job, and when she finished she found a steady job that, while not the most enjoyable, allowed us to have that stability we needed. She even managed to get me a good education, despite my problems with depression and my constant refusals to go to school.

Throughout it all, most importantly, she taught me about God. She talked about Him as a real person, and her faith always seemed unwavering. She had me in church and read me Bible stories, prayed with me every night, and answered my questions to the best of her knowledge. When I hit my rebellious years, she let me choose to stop attending church as long as I went with her every other week, which I consider to be a big part of the reason I started seeking again, looking for answers. She was, of course, very happy to find out that I’d accepted Christ as my savior and wanted to start going to church more often (which turned out to be Sunday morning and evening, Tuesday night youth Bible study, and Wednesday night prayer meeting). Mom & Me at wedding

Beyond that, she has always given me sound advice, though it has at times been hard to hear. She keeps an open mind and allows me to form my own opinions about things, even when she thinks my opinions are misguided.

Once I reached adulthood, she helped me financially when I got into trouble until I eventually matured enough to manage my life better. She stuck with me through my wandering years, brought me back home when I hit rock bottom, put up with my attitudes, helped me job hunt, and is basically one of my heroes.

I look up to her so much.

I love you, Mom! I’m so glad I had you, growing up, and that I still have you now. I’m so glad you found such a great man who loves you like you deserve to be loved! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Info For New Army Wives

Whether you’re just getting married to a soldier, or whether you’re already married to a man who is just becoming a soldier, you’ll be a new Army wife. There are a few things, from one new Army wife to another, that I’d like to share. I don’t know it all, by any means, but I’ve probably got a leg up on you. If not, maybe you can share your advice in the comments section.

The Army Owns Him

I heard my husband say this before we were married, and I think I vaguely understood the idea. But not really. What it boils down to is that the Army can do anything they want with their soldiers. The soldiers don’t have to be allowed to sleep or eat for what we might see as unreasonable amounts of time. The soldiers obviously have to be in very good physical shape, and they can be punished for falling short of standards.

In fact, they can be punished for anything their command doesn’t like, even if it’s not in the rules! The Army can jerk the soldiers around every which way and change plans at the last possible minute, and there is not really any system to hold them accountable because, well…

I think the reason is that whoever is in charge is only worried about the greater goals and accomplishments, and they aren’t concerned with who is stepped on to get there. Anyone who is low enough in the chain of command to care usually doesn’t have any power to change things.

Will you be owned by the Army when you marry in? Personally, I don’t think so, and I don’t consider myself to be owned by the Army. But I might as well be. Everything the Army does that affects my husband, affects me as well. They can mess up my plans by messing up his and affect my quality of life by affecting his. It seems unfair because, truly, it is. Life is unfair, Army life even more so.

There is Compensation

Before you start getting down or thinking that it’s all bad, I would remind you that there is compensation for the crap. You may or may not think that it is enough compensation.

  • Money – His paycheck comes on the same days of each month, without fail. The amount is plenty for us to live on if we’re smart about our spending. It will not be different from month to month because he is on salary, and no matter how much or how little he works in a given pay-period, his pay will be the same. Even though it can seem upsetting that he doesn’t get paid extra for working late (every day for the past two months…), I see this as a good thing. If he gets sick and cannot work, if we take a vacation, or if there are a number of holidays close together, the outcome is the same, and so is his pay.
  • Time Off – Admittedly, it is a hassle sometimes to get leave scheduled. As I mentioned in another post, sometimes leave packets get lost. Sometimes they get denied for silly reasons, too. But overall, it is, I think, easier to get extended periods of time off with the Army than with a civilian job. At least, it is for enlisted soldiers. I have no idea how it works for NCOs and Officers. If a civilian job would hesitate to let you take a week or two of paid vacation because there might be no one else to do your job for that time, the Army doesn’t seem to mind letting soldiers go because, well, there are several more guys in his squad that can usually cover any slack. If they’re not busy or doing training, that is.
  • Health Care – My husband and I will always get the healthcare we need. The system is not perfect by any means, and the waits are sometimes long for non-emergency medical situations, but that does not change the fact that whatever we need will be provided at little to no cost. After spending about four years of my adult life without medical insurance, this has meant a lot to me. It gives you peace of mind to know that you can get the medical care that you need.

Commonalities

As you go to FRG meetings and meet your husband’s friends along with their wives, you will find that you have a lot in common with the other military families.

Maybe, in another life, you wouldn’t have become friends with that other Army wife. Maybe your differences would have separated you. But in this life, you’re brought together by what you have in common. And there is a lot to have in common when your day-to-day life is in the hands of the Army. I have found that it doesn’t even matter if you’re shy, or if you have a hard time making friends. That camaraderie is still there. You can even tap into the support network through online communities and blogs, if you’re having trouble meeting people.

Support

Support your soldier! I’m grateful that my husband told me flat-out how much he covets my support as a wife. Not all men can speak their needs in such a way, but it meant a lot to hear that come directly from the horse’s mouth. If your husband doesn’t know how to say it, I’ll say it for him. He needs your support. Remember that the scheduling (and other) issues are not his fault, so make sure that you face the problems with him.

Take his side. Encourage him through the rough patches. Remember that his job is very, very important for our country.

I would suggest that you become familiar with his reasons for joining the military. You can use this knowledge to try to find the best ways to encourage and support him. It will help you understand him, and sometimes you may have to remind him of those reasons.

What You’ve Already Heard

You probably already know that you should memorize your husband’s social security number, as you will need it frequently. You may have figured out how common acronyms are in the military. I’ve only used two in this post. That probably goes to show how new I am! FRG stands for Family Readiness Group, and NCO stands for Non-Commissioned Officer. There are many, many more acronyms that you will, in time, become familiar with.

As this is not a comprehensive list, I’d be very happy to hear what else you think should be included. What other information would you give to a new Army wife?

Speak Your Mind to Have a Healthy Social Life

It’s frustrating to me to try and be friends with someone who won’t speak his mind. And no, this isn’t a post asking for comments! I’m talking about speaking your mind, just in every day life. Do you hold back rather than tell a friend he has something in his teeth? Do you agree to go along with some activity you really don’t want to do? Do you smile and nod and say everything is fine when it’s not?

Stop fearing rejection and speak your mind!

People won’t always care what I have to say, but I still make an effort to speak my mind. Personally, I’ve gone through periods in my life where I’ve blamed my circumstances or the people around me for my social life – or lack thereof. I’ve been there, and the memory of it is still fresh. I think I’m finally coming to terms with my responsibility – my part – when it comes to my social life.

You know, I know, we all know that you can’t make people like you. You can do some things that encourage people to like you, or at least you can encourage them to like the part of yourself that you’re choosing to show, but you can’t force anyone to like you. That will sometimes happen, sometimes not. However! That doesn’t mean that it is everyone else’s job to become your friend. If you or I want healthy friendships, marriages, or any kind of relationships at all, we have to realize that our actions, thoughts, and words have a direct impact on the quality of our social lives.

Speaking Your Mind the Right Way

Speaking your mind in the positive sense that I’m talking about leads to several things:

  1. I will have been true to myself, and any relationships I have will have been formed on the truth. I will not have deceived anyone into thinking I’m something other than what I really am.
  2. I will feel better having let my real opinion be known. I won’t feel as if I’ve had to bottle up my feelings until it’s time to burst.
  3. I will have learned to give my friends and loved ones the benefit of the doubt. I trust them to care about me enough to accept my opinions, and I also trust the strength of our relationship enough to believe that if they neglect to ask me, it’s not for lack of caring.

I think the third point is my favorite and is also a major stumbling block for people who have trouble speaking their minds. As you noticed, it’s two-fold. I’m still working on the second half of it, because it means that if no one asks about my day, I can take a step of faith and tell them without fearing that the reason they didn’t ask is because they don’t care to know. It also means I can approach my loved ones with problems they may not have perceived, believing that they probably would have asked if they had known I was upset and that I needed them. Similarly, I can strengthen relationships by reaching out to my friends in ways that they neglect to reach out to me, all because of that same trust that I choose to place in them. If I give them the benefit of the doubt, I can care for and love them a little more freely.

Yor Doin It WrongI Can Has Cheezburger

I just want to clarify that when I advocate speaking your mind, I don’t mean that it’s correct for every circumstance. There are wrong times and wrong ways of doing it, so be careful. Doing it wrong has pretty much the opposite effect – it will hurt your relationships. The balance that must be found should not scare you away from speaking your mind altogether, though. Many things must be balanced upon a knife edge, or are separated by only a fine line. The difference between speaking your mind the right and wrong way, however, is much bigger. Think “balanced on a dull sword blade.” Something like that.

  1. Don’t take advantage of trust by criticizing. Likely, your relations care about you enough to want to hear what you have to say, but that doesn’t mean they feel you have a right to critique everything they do or criticize them on a regular basis. Of course, you wouldn’t do that, but it would be speaking your mind. Just in the wrong way.
  2. Don’t force others to do it your way all the time. Yes, I advise that you speak up if there is an activity being planned that you don’t want to be part of. But it’s still a good idea to kindly go along with others’ ideas sometimes, even if it wouldn’t have been your choice. (Wendy’s is not my favorite restaurant, but when a group of friends is going, there’s no need to make a big deal out of it.)
  3. Don’t just blurt out anything at any time. Use tact! Speak in a way that shows you’re just expressing your opinion, not trying to shoot down someone else’s ideas.

Responsibility For Your Social Life

As you take responsibility for and control of your social life, see if these tips help you at all. Or maybe these are things that you already do, or you have suggestions for additions to the list. If so, how about leaving a comment and sharing?

Don’t Stop Arguing

I want to encourage those of you in relationships, or those who aren’t yet but hope to be, not to stop arguing. That’s right, I think arguing is a good thing, and I’m not the only one! (See this or that) Arguing is a sign “that you and your partner feel secure enough to express yourselves without fearing judgments.” A complete lack of arguments usually indicates a shallow relationship.

Don’t Pick Fights; Fight Fair

I don’t think you should pick fights, and I’m not saying you should argue more in order to have a deeper relationship. I’m saying that arguments happen, and it’s not a bad thing. In and of itself, an argument just means that two deep-thinking people have differing opinions, or sometimes that there has been a miscommunication or misunderstanding. The problems stem from how we handle the arguments when they occur. We should still continue to give our partner the benefit of the doubt. That is, don’t assume they’re trying to start something or insult you; rather, assume that he, too, is trying to be understanding of you and simply express his mind.

My husband and I have been working on the art of arguing throughout our relationship, which started as “just friends” in middle school. We both still remember that day at the lunch table, back when I was a more-physically-aggressive version of myself, when I clawed his arm until he bled during a Just Quit It! type of argument. There have been hurtful incidents on his part an d my part: He used to get frustrated and try to hurt me, and I sometimes tend to assume the worst in him. We haven’t always fought fair, but with nine years of practice, and we’re starting to get the point.Michy & Marty

The Point is Love

The biggest thing I remember when we do get into arguments is that we love each other. Through nine years of arguing and making up, we have always loved each other, and we know that in the end, we just want to be heard and understood. That’s why we can forgive and move on with a strengthened relationship. Not only strengthened by withstanding the gale, but also deepened though mutual understanding. He knows a little more of my mind, and vice versa.

One of Hubby’s and my favorite quotes is from Matt Chandler, from his sermon “Sex Pt. 2.”

“There’s always this point in time when we say this is the person I want to fight with for the rest of my life, this the person I want to do life with.”

Dos and Don’ts

Whether or not all’s fair in love and war, there are some basic guidelines that make fair fighting a little easier. And, well, successful. I am taking these from Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Parrott and Parrott, as it was the first book I read that had them laid out so clearly.

1. Don’t Criticize – Criticizing involves attacking someone’s personality rather than his behavior, and it entails blaming and accusing. These are usually “you” statements. You do this, you don’t do that, you could have, you should have…

2. Don’t be Contemptuous – Contempt is the intention to insult or physically abuse your partner. This can show up through name-calling and mockery, especially.

3. Don’t Stonewall – This is usually, but not always, done by men. Stonewalling is a way of withdrawing from the situation, sometimes in an attempt to avoid escalating the situation further. But it also makes the person appear as if he is not listening or no longer cares about the situation, or worse, his partner.

4. Do Choose Carefully – There are a lot of issues that can, and should, be overlooked. Not everything is worth a fight. Ask yourself if it’s worth it!

5. Do Define the Issue – It’s easy to see when it’s someone else, but often when we fight, one person may think the fight is about one issue while the other person sees the issue as something completely different. Ask yourselves and each other what the real source of the disagreement is.

6. Do State Feelings – Two parts to this. One, use “I” statements rather than the “You” statements mentioned above. Two, use the “X, Y, Z” formula. To take an example from the book, “’When we are riding in the car (X), and you change the radio station (Y), I feel hurt that my desires are not considered (Z).’ That is far more constructive to your partner than saying, ‘You never consider my feelings when it comes to music.’ Although the latter may be what first comes to your mind, it’s likely to draw a defensive response that gets you nowhere.”

Intimacy

It’s natural to find conflict in deep, intimate relationships. Dealing with it correctly makes us more intimate, not less. I hope that you can take away from this an understanding of how to begin fighting more fairly. Is there another do or don’t you think should be added to the list?