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The Anatomy of An Argument

Fighting More Effectively in Your Relationship

As a woman, the only time I’ve ever heard a man say to me, “We need to talk about this,” has been when I had a male boss asking me to come into his office for some pow-wow time over an activity I did right or wrong.  From my personal backstory, I have a tendency to assume that my boss wanted to point out something I did wrong. Never did I believe for a moment that he wished to unload his  fears or share his concerns about the stress of his role or his emotional mindset. “No news is good news” was applied truth, and I became familiar with the world of wishing to hear nothing at all versus cringing over the fear of being reprimanded or embarrassed over my mistakes.

On the other side of that equation, I believe men have heard this statement quite frequently from their partners, and their feelings of shame are magnified times a hundred in comparison to mine. I feel for the man hanging an imaginary tail between his legs as he slinks towards his wife (or his husband) and hears what he perceives to be a long list of his shortcomings, failures, and mistakes. What’s worse is that after that scenario ends, the partner who has just unloaded his or her feelings often says, “I feel better, now that we’ve talked!” while the receiving partner feels like his head and heart just got treated like a garbage disposal. How do you avoid such a situation? My suggestion involves two steps: understand the anatomy of an argument before it blows up, and move the tension towards connecting.

In this blogpost, I’m focusing on the first half: understanding the anatomy of an argument. In the next blogpost, I’ll show you a few effective ways to move your understanding into connecting dialogue when the time is right. Before I get into the anatomy of an argument, let me introduce a rather revolutionary thought.

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The Rights of Marriage For All

By B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist

While Washington State was in the process of creating (and subsequently passing) Referendum 74 allowing same-sex couples to marry in this November’s Washington State elections, I  thought about what both sides of the issue are and will continue to fight over. While I applaud and support my state in granting same-sex couples the right to marry, it’s clear there is so much more to be done! Same-sex couples who marry will still encounter bias and administrative red tape at the federal level as their marriages are not recognized in other parts of the country. With just a brief review of history in the year 1967, we can glimpse at what one remarkable time in history can teach us about learning from the past to better our future. What are the rights of marriage? And how can we move forward to help strengthen families by supplying adequate support and care?



What To Do For Wedding Bell Blues

William and Kate got married April 29, 2011, and you have the wedding bell blues? You’re not alone. Even if you don’t want to tie the knot (or schedule a joining ceremony) just yet, you might be thinking about what it is that you’re not seeing, thinking, or experiencing that has been holding your love life in an arrested state of development.

Are you ready to get married?

At Seattle Direct Counseling, I am an advocate of involving others, including a trusted therapist and other mentors and close friends into the process of pre-engagement counseling. This is a discussion around the reasonableness, viability, and challenges involved in a decision to make that life commitment to someone. As broken engagements become more common, we should also expect a rise in requests for pre-engagement counseling. But alas, it seems like most people are still dashing head-long into marriage without considering a stepped process into creating a sustainable relationship.

As you make plans for the summer, perhaps your thoughts are turning to vacation, travel, and activity that requires more than yourself to enjoy. If you’re single, who will you take? If you’re in a relationship, how do you cultivate a close but nurturing connection that makes you look forward to time together instead of worrying about getting along? Now is the time to look into pepping it up, pimping it out, and improving your relationship so that you’re both getting the most out of it.

My friends Barby and Miguel of Twitter site @SparkzAgain are creating their website to help couples keep and maintain the sparks of love necessary to keep the fires burning in a committed relationship. When you see how much is involved either pre or post wedding, perhaps it will help you take inventory on what it takes to be a good partner with someone you care about.

And what if you do want to get married, but you’re in a relationship where your partner does not (or cannot, for whatever reasons)? I highly recommend the book, “Unmarried To Each Other” by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller. This essential guide helps couples consider all their options, including marriage, living together, life partnership without marriage (but not living together), and other non-traditional arrangements. Ever wanted to break away from the wedding bell blues? Read this guide to consider why there may be reasons you and your sweetie may not wish to get married yet wish to stay together, whether that be short-term or for the long haul.

You might have wedding bell blues during the season when wedding announcements abound, but remember, everything comes in its time and season. Determining who, if, and when is more important than racing to the altar for an “I do.” You’ll be more likely to avoid the painful possibility of hearing an “I don’t” down the line.