Monthly Archives: April 2009

Get your spouse onboard!


Don’t know how. Communicate, plan, and be honest. That’s how. Stop being afraid of their reaction or what other people will think. You have to listen to your spouse and they should listen to you. Its the only way you can communicate effectively. Communication includes face-to-face, phone, voicemail, texts, emails, letters, notes, body language, meaningful gestures.

I admit, its not easy getting someone with whom you haven’t enjoyed being around to join “your team”. Marriage is work. Part of that work is to create intentional time being a couple. Remember those romantic dates that you encountered when you were courting. Well, don’t let them be a part of history. Carve time out of your busy schedule, and “get busy” spending time together. Talk over a romantic dinner. Take a quiet walk at your favorite park or in your neighborhood. Go roller skating or putt-putt golf. Either way, it has to be somewhere you can talk. You can’t “talk” at the movies though. But you can talk at the flea market!!! Anyways, once you start spending special time alone together (find a babysitter!) you will feel more comfortable expressing how you feel about certain situations.

Remember there is a “way” to communicate. I listed several means to communicate. But I want to give you some additional tips such as you never want to start off with a blaming statement. Use “I” messages and follow them up with what you want from the other person. I know you’ve heard this before. Its in all the therapy literature/websites. But its true. When you start off with “You make me mad when…” you will get nothing but a defensive response and your spouse will close their ears to what ever your saying before you say it!!! So it takes some clever wording here.

For instance, let’s say you felt cut down when your spouse told your stepchild that he could go outside and play even without cleaning up his room as YOU told him. First, wait until you are alone- i.e. that evening, or another day when things are calm and your alone- then began by saying “I felt cut down the other day when I told your son to clean up before he goes outside and you let him go out without cleaning anyways. I want you to back me up when I make a reasonable request to the kids.” You gave an “I” statement (by simply starting with I, it gives you ownership of the feeling instead of blaming them for it). And you told them what you want them to do next time. One more tip for communicating wisely is to begin with a positive comment or two before you go to your “I” statement. For example, “I want to thank you for taking care of the yard, I know its alot of work. I like how we can work together keeping our house clean.”

Its not always clear and simple, but its important to lay out our frustrations in a reasonable way. If you can communicate, your relationship will do nothing but blossom and be built on honesty and trust. Communicate with your spouse today. And you’ll be suprised at their readiness to get “onboard”.


Ways to Communicate


It is important to not just communicate with your spouse and family but there is a way to do it. When you have an issue with someone you should be ready to tell them what you like, what you don’t like, and what you want to see happen. I work with children i a school setting and we have used the “Bug and A Wish” concept. “It bugs me when…I wish you would…” But everyday conflicts need a little more discussion than that. Always begin your concerns with positive feedback and observations first. Use “I” statements as to be the owner of how you feel. Such as “I feel __ when ___. I want ___” This also alleviates people’s need to be defensive of your accusations, because to them that’s what your doing accusing them. Hold family meetings. You can see a great example of this on reality TV i.e. Run’s House on MTV. This is an opportunity for the parents to stand in agreement with an united front. Have the rules laid out, discuss, listen to eachother, and resolve issues brought up. You may have to table some things and you don’t want to turn a family meeting into a them vs. us feel either. Try to work out as much as you can in an appropriate time frame or agree to disagree until the next meeting is called. More positive discussion between family members can be done during meal times around the table when the family sits down to eat together. Get the calendar out and plan visits (if your a blended family). Be proactive at your time spent together. Create a family night or time where you interact doing positive activities such as game night or volunteering at a mission every other month or so. Consider adjusting your communication plans as needed but the most important thing is to COMMUNICATE. *As a member of a blended family, it is your job to be on the same page as the head of the family. Lead by example! Good luck!!

The grass isn’t greener


You know you have times in your life when you are ready to call it quits on your relationship, but you must ask yourself is the grass greener? I know of some situations in which persons have ran out of one bad situation to another. First of all, you have to reflect on what is the problem? How did you contribute to the problem? What can you do different? What results do you want to have? What results can you live with? Now this is not for “extreme” situations i.e. abuse or infidelity… I am talking about situations in which a mere change in your outlook/mentality, your attitude, your response to your mate can elicit a change in your relationship. When your tired of being unhappy, you have the choice. The only person you can change is yourself. If you make a change in you, just imagine how your POSITIVE changes can affect your relationships. Best believe your authenticity to change will be challenged. But Isn’t it worth a try?? Read Reality Check: Stepmother Chronicles by Anjalon Edwards, LMSW available at amazon, barnes&noble and