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Why Should We Encourage Our Partner to Speak?

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness, Blaine Fowers says, “Encouraging your partner to speak is an act of generosity because it is a gift of your attention and interest. When you listen attentively, you are granting that your spouse has something worthwhile to say.” (p. 107)

In other words …

Sometimes during a conversation, we become more focused on what we are going to say next rather than listening to our partner. This sends the message that what they have to say is not important to us. If we instead take time to really listen, we show our partners that what they have to say matters to us.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time you have a conversation with your partner, make a special effort to listen to what he or she has to say. Tune out potential distractions. Encourage your partner to tell you more. Find out how they think and feel about things.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Fower’s book Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness.

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Do You Wish You Were More Resilient?

Here’s a great idea …

In her book, Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson says, “Positivity can do more for you than simply make you feel good. It can broaden your mind and open your heart. Your moments of heartfelt gratitude, joy, and love can transform your life for the better by building your resources and strengths.” (p. 36)

In other words …

When we focus on the positive in our lives we will be more resilient and better able to bounce back from the negative. We also become more creative and better problem solvers.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

One of the best things you can do to increase your positivity is to focus on the good in your life. Make a list of as many of the good things in your life as you can. Spend some time thinking about and being grateful for these things.

To find out more …

about personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Fredrickson’s book, Positivity.

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Useful Anger

How can I express my anger without hurting my children?

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Haim Ginott says, “Anger should be expressed in a way that brings some relief to the parent, some insight to the child, and no harmful side effects to either of them.” (p. 48)

In other words …

Sometimes we torch each other with our anger. But it doesn’t make sense to burn down the house to warm our hands. Instead we can show our strong feelings without attacking the person. We might say: “When I clean the house and you leave your things all over, I feel annoyed.” By expressing ourselves strongly and clearly, we can avoid the personal attacks.

How you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time you feel irritated about your child’s deeds (or misdeeds), try expressing your frustration without attacking or labeling the child.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Ginott’s Between Parent and Child.

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Who’s Right?

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman says, “In all arguments, both solvable and perpetual, no one is ever right. There is no absolute reality in marital conflict, only two subjective realities.” (p. 150)

In other words …

Humans often feel a need to be right. We refuse to back down from most arguments because we want to prove just how right we are. When we play this game with our partners, we all lose. Each of us tries to prove we are right, and we become enemy combatants. Even though we think we have more truth than our partners, the best thing we can do is try to understand each other. Then we can work together.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time you have a disagreement with your partner, stop and look at things from that person’s point of view. Search for the reasons behind their beliefs. Find the pain beneath the angry or hurtful things your partner says. The more you understand your partner’s point of view the better your relationship can be.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

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Do Your Thoughts Stink?

Here’s a great idea …

In her book, Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson says, “The flow of your emotions follows how you interpret your current circumstances. Dire interpretations create dire emotions. Charitable and optimistic interpretations breed positivity.” (pp. 154-155)

In other words …

Research is clear: Stinking thinking makes for gloomy moods. If, instead, we choose to see the good in our lives then our feelings will be much more positive. The more we practice finding the good, the more natural and automatic this will become.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Tune in to the good things that happen to you today. Even when something happens that you don’t consider good, look for a way that something good might come of it.

To find out more …

about personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Fredrickson’s book, Positivity.