For Creating Marriages that Last
|One Big Way We Avoid Fights (and How You Can Too...)
By Susie and Otto Collins
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is an often
quoted line from the famous philosopher Friedrich
Nietzsche that unfortunately also describes a way that
many people live their lives.
While we know that sometimes you get into situations
you'd rather not be in...
...And it may be helpful to look at these situations and
realize (as a coping tool) that if something doesn't kill
you, it may make you stronger...
We're not sure that's the best way to go through life.
We'll explain because...,
This is especially true in our intimate relationships
after the first rush of intense attraction-- or the
"honeymoon period"-- starts wearing off.
This is when those differences that never seemed
to bother us before start bothering us big time.
Arguments and fights can happen next because
we're so wanting things to be the way they used
to be (or even better) and we think that if our
partner can see our point of view--everything will
Well, it usually doesn't work that way.
In fact, it can just get worse because you each
get in a groove and keep repeating the same
argument over and over--with the same result.
But it doesn't have to be this way and it doesn't
have to end up with one person giving in to the
If you don't see eye to eye with your partner or
anyone else who's close to you and it ends up
in an argument or fight, you're certainly not
The two of us have had our share of
misunderstandings and arguments and they
might have gone on and on but we learned a
One of those is how to avoid conflicts (or at least
when they come up, how to get resolution and
re-connected more quickly).
Here's our story...
In the first years of our marriage and life as business
partners, we struggled with how to deal with finances--
even though we were soul mates and very deeply
Otto has always been a "spender-type" and Susie, a
"saver-type"--and we've certainly driven each other
crazy over this one big difference over the years!
One particular big problem was over the word "budget."
You start a business--you create a budget--right?
That was according to Susie who had been the library
director at a university for a number of years and was
used to creating and working with budgets.
But not to Otto.
He would get really upset, feel restricted and angry--
even when the word was spoken and our spender/saver
difference seemed to really get out of control.
It wasn't until Otto looked at why he was so triggered by
the word and told Susie about it that we started to soften
around this issue.
He had worked as an ad/sales representative for radio
stations for many years and budget to him meant that
someone on high was dictating to him what he could
and couldn't do. Budget meant restriction.
When Susie could understand where Otto was coming
from and when Otto could understand how a budget
that he helped to create could be useful, we could get
on the same page with the idea.
The important shift for us came when Otto realized that
a budget could be a guideline for success and when
Susie realized that what Otto really wanted was the
freedom to create and expand our business in powerful
We started listening to each other and could actually
appreciate where we each were coming from--and
stay open to new possibilities.
We decided not to use the word "budget" (we used
"plan" instead). And then after several years, Otto
realized that the word "budget" didn't have a charge
for him anymore.
And we actually began working together to create
our finances the way we wanted them to be.
For this to work, we had to give up our pre-conceived
notions of how it "should" be or how it was in our
We had to start from scratch to finally understand one
another and move forward together.
What we learned became the basis for our "Stop
Talking on Eggshells" and "Magic Relationship Words"
book and audio programs that have become so popular.
To learn more, visit www.stoptalkingoneggshells.com
In your relationship, if there's an issue that comes up
again and again, take the time and gather the courage to
get out of your destructive groove.
Stop what you've been doing and saying and start all
over in your mind.
Pretend you have had your mind swept of all previous
thoughts around this topic and start over.
Start over and listen to each other--not a regurgitation
of your favorite argument but rather talk about your
motivation and feelings.
Of course you each need to take some time to identify
exactly what the feeling is underneath your strong
belief and stand.
Otto had to get to his feeling of restriction and be willing
to share it with Susie in order for us to understand one
Susie had to be willing to not get defensive but just
This is incredibly powerful and it works.
Both of you need to do this and if your partner isn't
interested, try it anyway.
If your partner wants to keep holding on to being right
and is emotionally abusive, it may be time to consider
if this relationship is one you want to stay in.
If you need some help to clarify your situation, or
knowing whether to say or go--check out our "Should you
stay or should you go?" program at www.StayorGo.com
As always, if you are being physically abused, get
help and leave now. After you are safe, you can find
out if he is willing to get help and if things can change.
Arguments and fights don't have to come between the
two of you.
And you certainly don't have to use them to make you
"strong" as Nietzsche said.
You can be joyful and loving in your relationships--and
still learn to be strong.
Relationship coaches Susie and Otto Collins, authors of "Should You
Stay or Should You Go?" and "No More Jealousy" are experts at helping people
get more of the love they really want. Learn the 5 keys to a closer, more
loving relationship, click below for your free 5-part mini-course: