4 Ways to Fight with Your Spouse without Destroying your Marriage
How to restore peace in your home.
She is just a little girl but she has seen too much. A 10 year old
asked if she could speak with me privately.
“What does it mean if I hear my mother crying in the night? And why does
my father say, 'Tell your mother I’m not coming home for supper' and my
mother says, 'Tell your father we are going out to get sneakers,' if they
are both sitting right there?”
What is there to say?
disagreeabout some things.
For some it is in-laws, for others it is money, dividing up household
responsibilities, or how to discipline the kids. As long as two individuals
live together there will be always be different ideas and opinions. The
issue becomes serious when parents don’t know how to resolve their
disagreements with dignity and respect. Children grow up seeing constant
conflict and hearing their parents bicker. They live with negativity and
inappropriate ways of dealing with marital discord.
Kids wish that their home would be a happy home, one without yelling,
arguing, or emotional withdrawals. When parents hold onto resentments or
don’t know how to find good resolution, the children absorb the hostilities.
Marriage should never be thought of as a chronic pain. It can be our
greatest source of happiness. We are living with our best friend, the person
who shares all our joys, all our hurts; the person whose love we carry
within our hearts forever. But when we lack the right tools to communicate
properly, disagreements and conflicts can make married life miserable.
Judaism describes our homes as a ‘mikdash me’at,' a miniature
sanctuary. Children need this haven to grow up feeling safe and secure. When
we create an atmosphere of tension and strife in our homes, we slowly chip
away not only at our marriages, but at the sense of emotional security that
our children need to flourish in life.
How can a couple work out their differences without hurting each other
and destroying theirmarriage?
4 STEPS TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION
WITHOUT KILLING YOUR MARRIAGE
1. Keep your Discussions Private
When you know that there is a contentious issue, don’t clash in front of
others. Decide together that from now on you will take your discussions to a
private place at a private time. When you fight in public, you lose a sense
of dignity and often feel ashamed. You blame your partner and now you grow
even angrier. Children do not have to hear the details of your arguments
being volleyed back and forth. If you say to me that children should be
exposed to parental fighting because that is real life, then I say to you
that our children are exposed to enough pain and challenges in this world of
ours. Hostility between parents should not be exposed to your children. The
same goes for one sided conversations or thinking that your kids don’t hear
you fighting in the other room. When children hear parents arguing, they
often become forced to take sides or align themselves with one parent over
the other. They become caught in the middle and get involved in parental
arguments. This is not only unhealthy; it further breaks down the
husband and wife.
2. Establish Rules of engagement
No matter how opinionated you are or how correct you feel you in your
views, you do not have the right to put down your spouse. We should never
believe that we can strip another person of their dignity; and certainly not
our partner in life. Children cannot grow up thinking that it is okay to
belittle, yell, scream, intimidate, mock, threaten, put down, or be hostile
to one another just because you have a difference of opinion.
Of course it goes without saying that physical violence – grabbing,
shoving, or any other means of physical assault is out of the question.
Unfortunately, when we become passionate about our views we act in ways
that we come to regret afterwards. Husbands and wives should sit down before
the conflicts occur and establish rules of conduct for when they disagree.
This way we ensure that we deal with our differences in a respectful manner.
We certainly cannot expect more from our children’s behavior than we do from
3. Discover the Source of your Anger
There are times that we allow emotions to simmer until they boil over.
There comes a huge blow-up and we have no idea why this fight became so
hostile. The problem is that we are angry about other things and all the
emotion comes out now. We both think that we are fighting about spending
Sunday with your parents but deep inside I am resentful of your late nights
in the office and I have been furious that you keep missing dinner. Or I
mention that we have an invitation to go out with couples and you lose it.
What I don’t know is that you are brewing from the last time we went out and
feel that I totally invalidated you in front of our friends. We never
resolved the issue and just held onto the bad feelings.
Don’t allow emotions to go unchecked. If you are upset, communicate with
your spouse in a respectful way. Otherwise, you will find yourself exploding
and overreacting. This type of fighting quickly becomes all-consuming as
pent up anger threatens to overtake the conversation.
4. Be Solution Oriented
Many fights are just accusations, complaints or criticisms flung against
each other. We’ve got to stop playing the blame game and learn to live in
unity. Life will bring us challenges. No one is immune. Arguing about whose
fault it is accomplishes zero. Instead of going back and forth, decide to
seek solutions together. The way to do this is after we communicate our
emotions, instead of just leaving the discussion with bad feeling, practice
good communication skills. If you have a sarcastic edge, bite your tongue.
Take a moment and reflect back what you believe your spouse is trying to
tell you. Try to consider your partner’s perspective; you cannot always be
right. Resolve that you both attempt to bring a solution to the table and
discuss the ways you can make this work. Once you do find resolution – be it
an apology and forgiveness, a fresh approach in dealing with work and money
issues, a more effective discipline plan – do not go backwards and bring up
old complaints. Solutions bring us forward. Do not rehash old arguments.
Hostile fighting depletes us and destroys the most precious relationship
that we have. We can resolve our disagreements respectfully and create an
atmosphere of peace despite our differences.
That New York State of Mind
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
On with the
boots. Off with the boots. On with the gloves.
Off with the gloves. Scarf? Hat? Umbrella?
gear exactly do we need today? Who’s
complaining? I'm just commenting!
Variety is the
spice of life. What -? Would you want knee deep
snow for weeks? Wow ... I wasn't asking the
elementary school crowd, we know their answer!
For these guys -"There’s no day like a snow day
"! We've all been there!!
But listen kids
-as life presents different challenges and
opportunities it's not all about the igloos and
snowmen. A lot is but not all!!! Or the best
place for sledding either. Though adults do
need to remember these are still very vital
parts of life.
Tap into the kid
in us or be an adult, that's a lifelong
dilemma? Somehow we grow past the resistance to
home work, and book reports which seems so
random -to being busy with jobs, meetings,
appointments, groceries, car pools, and assorted
other daily obligations that actually get
recognized as having purpose. It’s not like
you’re working harder than a kid- it's just that
it finally makes some sense. Therefore actually
doing the work matters. Snow days kind of can
snow you under. You want to be the kid again
but you care about all that work you have piling
up ....Anyway since there's no storm looming at
this moment, (though, I can't vouch for a half
hour from now) let's leave the dilemma of
whether to go out and play in the snow or to
find a way to get to work, for later.
Let’s get back to
what's going on outdoors in New York and who
that makes us... And maybe that will even shed
some light on that dilemma.
This winter is
here, but it's a funky one. No real pattern.
Warm days and freezing ones. Rainy, snowy, sunny
ones. Last week they were building snow men in
tropical Israel while we were sunbathing in NY.
Go figure that one out?
The message is
take it a day at a time. There are no
guarantees. New York weather is an authentic
slice of life. This is not -take no risk
California - 60’s and sunny all winter long.
That feels like a world of make believe -No
wonder all the fairylands and movie studios are
located there! We are the city of reality. We
are the place where the year starts by dropping
the ball .And who ever knows where the ball is
going to land. New Yorkers learn to -Role with
the punches. Figure it out as they go along.
We're building resilience.
So when another
winter day rears its head, embrace the variety.
Put on your coat, your hat, your bathing suit?
Whatever the weather calls for and face each new
day with that New York flexibility. We may not
always know what's coming our way but, we are
way ahead of the others in our ability to cope
with whatever does.
I'm sure when
that big snow storm does come our way, that all
our NY ingenuity, will help us all figure out
how to build a snow man, then build him an igloo
, and charge him a hefty rent for staying in
it. That way we can enjoy life as and with our
kids and still brilliantly, bring in an adult
like way of earning income!
Rivki Rosenwald is a
certified relationship counselor, and career and
life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004
in memory of Malka Feiga bat Nosson
“Please G-d, let me partner with You
and go beyond my constrictions to a
place of expansiveness. Everything that
happens is part of Your perfect training
& development program for me. Help me
respond in the most noble way- help me
judge favorably, have compassion, let go
of having to be in control and give it
over to You, G-d. Please bless me with
an amazing year of walking with YOU.”
1. G-D, You have an incredible
vision for all of humanity and for me. I
want to fulfill Your vision of greatness
for me more and more. Please show me
what I most need to see gently.
2. I want to recognize the gifts in
my life and see the totality of the life
You gave me, the blessings and the
challenges, as an expression of Your
love. Please fill my heart with
3. I want to transcend my greatest
obstacles to fulfill Your vision for me.
Please help me partner with You and go
from a place of constraints to a place
4. Please bless me with all the
resources I need to fulfill Your vision
for me. (health, clarity,
relationships, a job, place to live
5. I want to make You King by living
myself more according to Your Definition
of reality and Your instructions for
living. Please guide me.
6. I resolve that I want to be
connected to You, G-D, as the source of
my wellbeing in life. And not rely on
ANYTHING or ANYONE else. Please help me
remember that no one else has power.
7. I resolve that this moment is the
dawn of a new era in my life.
I stand before You, the Creator of
the Universe, my loving Father, I look
at the Rosh Hashanah prayer and of
course I want to be connected to You as
the source of all life, and be the
beautiful person You created me to be; I
definitely don’t want any of the
mistaken choices of the past to stand in
the way. Please help me repair whatever
needs fixing. I want this year to be
greater than any year I’ve ever had and
I want to be a bigger person than I’ve
ever been. Not just for my own sake but
for the Jewish people and humanity.
Please help me ask for the right things
and help me understand Your loving
I want today to be the dawn of a new
era in my life.
G-d, You know what I’m facing inside and
outside, please help me. “
Sundays only at 8:15am at 386 Felter Avenue,
Women gather to recite and hear at least 100
morning blessings so as to fulfill the mitzvah
of doing so. If you know of someone who is ill,
please feel free to call and provide the group
with the Hebrew name, so that those who are
present may pray for him or her. Haidee
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pm (3-5 Year Olds) - a half hour
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Tuesdays at 6:30 pm (Grades 4
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- February 9 Program:
To Be Announced
Time: Thursdays at 10:30am
(24 - 35 months) - A lively half-hour
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movement and a short film for
a child accompanied by an adult.
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with Arnold Rosenbaum:
Wednesdays at 1:00pm
The Defining Moment - FDR's First
Hundred Days and the Triumph of
Hope by Jonathan Alter. January
Economic Problems Facing the Middle
Class .Mr. Rosenbaum will present
his thoughts on the socioeconomic
problems facing the American middle
class. March 14
Be The Food of Love...Shakespeare
In Love: Sunday, January
7 at 2:30pm. New York jazz vocalist
Christiana Drapkin celebrates
the beauty and power of William
Shakespeare's poetry and presents
it in lively, sometimes haunting,
jazz arrangements. The songs are
direct quotations from Shakespeare's
plays. Tickets required.
and American Art:
January 8 at 1:00 pm. Picasso
is acknowledged by many as the
central figure of the modern movement.
Art historian Mary Vahey will
examine the sometimes worshipful,
sometimes testy relationship between
American artists and the Picasso,
the immensely inventive Spaniard.
January 17 at 1:00pm. Corliss
Whitney, the honorary historian
of the Rockette Alumnae, shares
poignant stories about her years
as a Rockette during the 40's
Way to Health - Humor
Therapy: Wednesday, January 24
at 1:00pm. A presentation that
will focus on the latest studies
that scientifically prove and
explain how and why laughter IS
the best medicine.
Does Merman: Sunday February
4 at 2:30pm. Songs and stories
celebrating Ethel Mermans brilliant
career will be brought to PPL
by vocalist Lisa Berman. Tickets
and Ancient Land of Contrasts:
Thursday, February 8 at 1:00pm.
Through lecture and slides, Sally
Wendkos Olds will guide you on
a journey to another world of
exotic beauty and ancient splendor.
and/or Poets: Wednesday,
February 14 at 1:00pm. Arnie Rosenbaum
will share the poetic lyrics of
Ira Gershwin, Alan J. Lerner and
Larry Hart. You decide if the
great lyricists of the 20th century
really were master poets.
Tiffany and Laurelton Hall
An Artists Country Estate: Monday,
March 19 at 1:00pm. Ines Powell,
Metropolitan Museum of Art educator,
will present an illustrated lecture
which will bring together many
of the architectural elements
and design features of Tiffany's
extraordinary country estate in
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