Real Talk About Relationships and Married Life

Archive for August, 2013


Fighting Fair in Your Relationship

fight fairIn the past, I have actually coached a couple who right there in front of me, got into an all out drug out war of words. For all intended purposes, the way they went at it, I might as well had popped some popcorn, got a coca cola, put my feet up, sat back and watched the entertainment. This couple acted such a fool. They went from name calling, playing the dozens to things being drug up from another lifetime. This couple argued about everything, and the arguments would start over something like, “Stop leaving your shoes in the middle of the floor.”

Some couples fight over the silliest matters but claim to love one another. However some of the immature exchanges and the foul way they handle each other leads me to ask the question, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Couples who behave in this manner fail to realize that they cannot take words back. Sure, they can apologize later, but the damage has already been done and the words have already made a deep impact. If you are one of those couples where one or both of you get so angry that you storm out of the house, name call, talk about his mama or her baby daddy of the baby that you’re not the daddy of , hurl insults or stonewall or attack your partner’s character then you are NOT FIGHTING FAIR. Further, ultimately your FOUL way of communicating will destroy your relationship or marriage.

First let me say that it is natural and healthy to argue. Arguing is no more than simply expressing your reasoning for or against a matter. It is healthy because through loving instances of discourse, very important communication is taking place. The problem is when people become disrespectful in the process and take the conversation out of the “safe zone.” (i.e. Name calling, yelling, playing the dozens, stonewalling, mocking, invalidating, etc.).

Stonewalling is not talking to your mate at all or not listening to your mate. Women usually stonewall by giving their partner the silent treatment. Men usually stonewall by totally refusing to listen or interact. Yet in these battles for power and winning, everyone loses – the husband, the wife and the children. Also, family and friends lose because they are often put in the middle or end up having to listen to the madness. It becomes very messy and in these types of situations, everyone’s hands get dirty. What they say about misery loving company, doesn’t even adequately describe what it looks like when husband and wife lose all sense of civility when fighting.

While fighting is a normal part of any healthy relationship, there is a healthy way to fight. So here are eight ways that will help a couple keep their relationship on track during an argument.

8 Ways to Keep an Argument Healthy

1. Open Your Discussion in Prayer – Opening your discussion in prayer will invoke a higher principle in the mix and help to temper both people in the exchange.

2. Use the LTL Formula – The Listen-Talk-Listen formula ensures that both parties will listen twice as much as they talk. Steven Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, provides a habit that couples can adopt. “Seek first to understand, and then be understood.” If you and your mate practice just that one habit, there will be a whole lot more understanding in the relationship.

3. Create a Safe Emotional Space for Communicating – It’s important to create an emotionally safe space for your mate to be able to communicate. This is the responsibility for both people. Safety means no yelling, no character attacks, no blaming (you did this or you did that…), no invalidating (that’s stupid, silly, or crazy), no stonewalling, and no judging each other. Remember that your mate is not the problem, the problem is the problem. Make the problem the enemy not your mate. So the two of you can attack the problem as a united front.

4. Use “I Feel” and Avoid Extremes Such as “You Always” or “You Never” – When you use the words, “I feel” as opposed to you did this or you did that, it removes the defense mechanisms that people automatically put up when they feel they are being attacked. Also avoid extremes such as “always” or “never.” Extremes are usually an over exaggeration of the truth.

5. Don’t Interrupt – It is important to listen to your mate and not interrupt them or talk across them. If necessary, put time frames on bringing a discussion and put a time frame on rebuttals and go back and forth until an agreement can be reached. Even if you end up not seeing eye-to-eye, agree on how you will handle the matter in the future.

6. Use a Trigger Word – Trigger words or also referred to as “Safe Words.” They are words such as time-out, pause, stop, or uncle. The purpose of these words is to invoke them during an argument that is beginning to escalate out of control. The agreed upon word is used consistently when necessary during discussions to allow the two of you to cool down, then come back to the conversation. The timeframe for the pause or time-out may be 15-minutes, 30-minutes or an hour. It all depends on what you agree to. However, the two of you must come back to the discussion to resolve the matter.

7. Address Issues as They Come Up – It is important not to let anger build up. Discuss things while they are small instead of waiting until they blow out of proportion. Also avoid going to bed angry. Resolve your matters promptly so that they don’t become bigger than what they would have been if you had addressed them early on.

8. Ask Your Mate Resolution Questions – It is both natural and important to discuss the problems in a relationship thoroughly. Yet, once the problem has clearly been outlined from both perspectives, it is critical that both of you move the discussion to a problem-solving format. In other words, just don’t complain about it, now work together to do something about it. An example of a resolution question is, “Honey, how can I help so that you don’t feel that way?”

There are many things that happen in a relationship which triggers an argument or fight between couples. It happens; but just because you had a fight is not cause to be concerned. The time to be concerned is when the fighting and argument goes afoul. So couples remember to argue in the best manner and in a loving way. Remember that your mate is your ally, not your enemy. If you have been fighting in an unfair manner, make a paradigm shift and evolve your relationship to a more healthy state.


Response to a Comment on 7 Mindsets that Hinder Black Men From Relationship Success

small photo for spreakerRecently, Ingram Jones wrote an article that is posted on Black Life Coaches Network entitled, 7 Mindsets that Hinder Black Men From Relationship Success. This article has apparently stirred up some folks and now their britches aren’t quite touching their behind. SMILE.

Normally I would only respond to a comment when it warrants it in the forum where the comment was posted and where the article is published. However, one comment on his article required in my observation a more expanded response as the very subject matter that Ingram was touching on drew such anger form one woman in particular, and I was puzzled as to why? Seven Mindsets that Hinder Black Men From Relationship Success in my opinion was an article in defense of Black women. yet one woman was so angry about the article that she even resorted to name-calling.

So, I am asking all of you to please take the time to read the article, and give your feedback on it. Ms. Diallo suggested the article did not belong in a forum about Black male and female relationships. What are your thoughts on that? Let’s open this up for discussion.

In the meantime, below please see the comment posted about the article by Ms. Diallo, and my response to her.

Comment posted by Chantaey Renee’ Diallo:

“Diaspora pertains to Black people of African descent dispersed throughout the world, mostly because of slavery! How dare you use the term to describe your nasty, dirty, sexual hellbaths with every type of female racial dog under the sun! Nobody is impressed with your weak, ugly choices and diversities of perversion and it has no place in a forum about Black male-female relationships! Be gone!”

Response Posted by ATIYA – The Marriage Tree:

“Ms. Chantaey Renee’ Diallo,

I am not sure of the root of your anger or your bitterness about the article that was very well articulated by my husband. However, perhaps you misunderstood it. As we know, words have many meanings and can take on shape depending on the orientation of mind of the one who hears or read them. I would recommend that perhaps you do some soul searching to explore why you are so angry over the article that was specifically geared toward men and a response to the article that I wrote., The Five Mindsets that Hinder Black Women from Relationship Success.

The term Diaspora while in most case understandings may refer to Black people that were dispersed or scattered throughout the world as a result of slavery; however that is not the only meaning of the word or the only correct reference of it. The etymological root of the word diaspora is to scatter about, disperse, or across. The context in which my husband used the word is not only grammatically correct, it is accurate. Perhaps you are overly sensitive about the word itself as a result of having a limited understanding of it, have some deeper seated issues regarding Black men who date other “races,” or have a deeper issue with respect to men in general. Perhaps you should read my article, The Five Mindsets that Hinder Black Women From Relationship Success.

The article written by Ingram Jones is most definitely in the correct forum,and your response to it verifies that it is! With all due respect, as a strong Black Woman of integrity, character, and substance who is no doubt walking in purpose and married to an amazing man of character, integrity, and substance, it is my observation that perhaps you might want to go within to discover some things that perhaps may need addressing because your manner of reproach perpetuates the very issue that you appear to be sensitive about.

When articulating your position in such forums. It is one thing to intelligently state your case in a respectful and dignified manner, but to be blatantly disrespectful and abusive to resort to name-calling and character assassination is not only immature, but it is a manifestation of something else. Your problem is not with Ingram’s article but rather one with self, and that is something that you will have to work out. In the meantime, when responding to articles that you may not necessarily agree with, it is your right to do so and actually makes for some wonderful dialogue. However when doing so you may want to exercise some self-control, self-mastery, and more importantly some respect.”


7 Mindsets that Hinder Black Men From Relationship Success

About IngramI am happy to share this post by my husband Ingram, which was written in response to my article, 5 Mindsets that  Hinder Black Women From Relationship Success.

The articles gets into the many mindsets and attitudes men have when it comes to the whole male and female dynamic. Please read and comment on this post. It will be interesting to see  your responses to it. Thanks.

Click Here to Read Article by Ingram Jones.


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