Same Old Problem … New Approach

Excerpt from Simple Steps for Real Life

by Cheryl L. Maloney

Have you ever wondered when the struggle is going to end? You argue with those close to you, and you realize the whole discussion is a broken record. If you’ve had that argument dozens of times before … and nothing changes … when do you stop hitting your head against the wall?

At what point do you realize that you’re spending so much time at odds that it’s overshadowing your love for one another? Do you miss your happier life?
If you are at a point in your relationship where you want the adversity to end, then perhaps it’s time to try something radical.

We can only change ourselves. We can’t make anyone else do what we want them to do. Sure, there may be some cases of leverage, but does that result in you being respected in these long-term issues?

If you are tired of the stress, try one of these Simple Steps to move into a better place:

  • Stop arguing. (I didn’t say this one was easy – just simple.) When the subject arises that precipitates an argument, say something like this: “You and I need to agree to disagree on this. I respect your position and ask that you respect mine.” Then walk away. Repeat as often as necessary until the other person realizes they aren’t going to get anywhere with you.
  • As the argument starts to surface and tensions build, say, “You are an important part of my life, and I don’t want to argue with you. How can we compromise?” Then let them come up with a suggestion. Be willing to negotiate options and give your commitment to use the solution agreed upon. Ideally, you would write down the solution and sign it (but that may be pushing it a bit the first time).
  • Do the exact opposite of what you have done all along. For example, if you insist that you be the one to drive when you go to the store, hand the keys over. If you are the one that writes the checks or pays the bills every month, set up a time to do it together. Do you only want to go to certain types of movies? Agree to alternate who chooses the movie. When you introduce a new approach to an old problem, give it a chance to work. After all it has been many years and arguments in the making … you can’t expect the resolution to be once and done.

As you start to see the results from your new approach, don’t forget to acknowledge them. That positive reinforcement and thanks goes a long way to a better relationship and a happier life.