How to Resolve Conflicts (Part 1)
My goal for your marriage is for you and your spouse to be in love with each other. With love, marriage is sensational. Without it, it's hell. So every time I tackle marital conflict, I stress the importance of resolving it in a way that builds the feeling of love in marriage.
The Policy of Joint Agreement
All of my Q&A columns offer solutions to problems through negotiation with mutual agreement as the goal. I define that objective in my Policy of Joint Agreement (never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse). But I have received many letters wondering if this goal is reasonable. Can a husband and wife be expected to agree on everything? And agree enthusiastically? So I posted the column, Having Trouble with the Policy of Joint Agreement? In this column I not only discuss the Policy of Joint Agreement, but I also describe my Four Guidelines for Negotiation. When you negotiate with these guidelines, you can't help but solve your problem.
Incompatibility is at the core of marital conflict. How to Survive Incompatibility is a column that introduces the problem of incompatibility, and offers the Policy of Joint Agreement as a general solution. The problem of incompatibility and the solution are readdressed in Following the Policy of Joint Agreement When You're VERY Incompatible.
Your First Year of Marriage
First things first. How to Thrive (or Survive) after the First Year of Marriage is designed to help you avoid the most common mistakes made during and after the honeymoon. The way you make decisions right after marriage will either set you on a course toward compatibility and mutual love, or on a course that leads to disaster.
A column that deals with conflict that often occurs in the first year of marriage is The Mother-in-law.
Should You Have Children?
One of the important questions asked after marriage is Should We Have Children? This column shows how difficult it can be for some couples to answer. Did you marry to spend your life loving each other or to have children? Sometimes you can't have both.
Your First Baby
Once your first child arrives, you may wonder How to Thrive (or Survive) after Your First Baby. This column focuses attention on the decisions you are forced to make that will change your lifestyle. Unless you create your new lifestyle to bring both you and your spouse closer together, your child may be raised by only one parent.
It doesn't take long before your baby reaches an age when training is necessary. How should you and your spouse discipline your child? In a way that builds love for each other. That's my answer to the questions I post in How to Raise Children and Keep Love in Your Marriage. You will find that child discipline that keeps love in your marriage also puts your child on a successful course in life.
Raising your own children is difficult enough, but raising someone else's children has proven to be almost impossible for many spouses. That's one of the reasons that divorce is so likely in a blended family. But divorce is not inevitable, and step-children can be raised in a way that preserves the feeling of love of the parents. It's all explained in How to Raise Children in a Blended Family and Keep Love in Your Marriage.
Dividing Domestic Responsibilities
With children come responsibilities. With responsibilities comes conflict -- conflict over who's responsible. I address this touchy issue in two columns, How to Divide Domestic Responsibilities (Part 1) and How to Divide Domestic Responsibilities (Part 2). In this age of dual income families, the method I suggest solves a problem that threatens to become a national crisis. As these columns illustrate, my solution to this problem is often met with ridicule. All I ask is that couples give it a chance to prove itself. Granted, my plan is certainly not intuitive, but it works.
A career should enhance your marriage, and not diminish it. Yet, many choose careers that makes it almost impossible to have a good marriage. When a couple is starting out in life, the choice of a career can often make or break their marriage. So I address this important issue in, How to Develop Your Career and Keep Love in Your Marriage. Even if your career is already in place, you should make sure that it helps make your marriage successful. One good test is the Policy of Joint Agreement. Is your spouse enthusiastic about it?
What would a marriage be without disagreements over money? There are so many ways to spend it, and so little of it to go around. It's been said that the #1 cause of divorce is financial conflict. It's not true, but it's certainly an area of conflict that can bring a marriage down. How to Resolve Financial Conflicts and Keep Love in Your Marriage is a column that will help you gain perspective on your financial decisions. Unless you make these decisions with each other's feelings in mind, I guarantee that you will lose love for each other, and probably lose most of your money, too.