Wednesday, September 10, 2008

“Why Can’t You See Things My Way?” A Crucial Tip to Overcoming Disagreements and Creating Acceptance in Your Marriage

By guest blogger Larry Bilotta*

Would your marriage improve if your spouse would just do things "your way"? Most of the time, this just isn't the case.

Let's imagine for a moment that you married your complete opposite, your relationship is stressful and the two of you can't even agree what to have for dinner. Does this mean that for the rest of your life you’ll have to endure an endless series of battles over "your way vs. my way" unless one of you gives in?
There is no need to argue over "who does what which way." And most importantly, neither of you need to change who you are.
The first thing you need to do is talk with your spouse about the things you passionately believe in - or feel strongly against. You can start by discussing the little things in life that frustrate you.
For example, my wife absolutely hates when people pop, smack and chew gum with their mouth wide open. While this may sound trivial to you, it absolutely drives my wife crazy.
Now, if I didn't know WHY this little pet peeve drives her mad, I might become annoyed and aggravated whenever she starts to attack the nearest "irritating gum chewer" under her breath. But here’s why that doesn’t happen. Most people don’t know this, but each and every one of your pet peeves, habits or beliefs is created by a memory or event from the past.
Take my wife for example. The reason she becomes so frustrated when people pop and crack their gum is because her mother would do it without any regard for her feelings throughout her entire childhood. My wife hated it then and she still does today. This seemingly trivial issue brings back too many painful memories from the past for her. To my wife, a gum chewer might as well be scratching nails on a chalkboard or screeching a fork against a plate, while to others, it’s not a big deal.

The main idea here is that you need to discuss with your spouse WHY you do things a certain way, WHY certain things frustrate you and WHY you love other things. And don’t be afraid to talk about the "problem areas" in your marriage. That is the point of this discussion after all.
Give your spouse your perspective on "hot topics" in your marriage which could be anything from punctuality, family values, religion, eating habits or even personal privacy. Ask your spouse questions and have your spouse do the same.

Ask questions like:
"Honey, when you were growing up, did your mother or father have a problem with being on time?"
"What happened when you were young that makes you hate clutter and messes so much?"

WARNING: Don't make this sound like an accusation! If you do, your positive discussion will be over! When you ask your spouse these questions, s/he will probably struggle for words or not come up with an immediate explanation for WHY he or she does these things and that's okay. Try to jog your spouse’s memory by recalling your own memories about this subject.
For example:
"The reason I (fill in the blank) is because my parents (fill in the blank) when I was a child."
Remember: you and your spouse were shown how to live by your parents or guardians. They shaped most of what you value and believe in today. The point of this discussion is to understand WHY the two of you disagree on any given topic. This will help the two of you accept each other because you'll no longer feel threatened by your very different values in life.
Use this tip to get to the source of your problems and gain a better understanding of your spouse. If you don't know which values are causing conflict in your marriage, you'll never be able to truly resolve your disagreements.
When I finally understood WHY my wife's values were so different from my own, the stress in my marriage was drastically reduced. I know you'll find the same to be true when you put this marriage saving tip to use in your own marriage. For more information and articles on marriage, visit*

* References and websites from guest authors do not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or preference. The views and opinions of guest blog authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect the attitudes and opinions of

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