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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Please Forgive Me!!!

Yikes! I'm blushing scarlet at how many days it's been since I've posted. I do have a good excuse that I'm hoping will be rectified sometime next week. I'm on dial up now, versus wonderful DSL that I used to have at our old house. Yes, we've moved to our new home...another reason I've been silent lately, as I've been trying to set up our new household rather than living indefinitely out of boxes...NOT a fun thing to do for long, as any of you can attest to, who've had the joy of moving!

We're supposed to be getting another line that will be dedicated just for the computer line, so I can stay online and not continually get bumped off with phone calls. My laptop does NOT like being bumped, and I have to completely reboot each time I want to dial up again, and half the time it won't close down properly. I know...time to take it in for a tune up, but I don't have time to deal with it right now! Arggg!!! Too many things to do, and not enough time to do them all.

To top it off, I'm heading to a writer's conference and will be gone all day Monday and Tuesday, so more time away from the computer. AND... my editor thinks he'd kind of like to see book 2 on his desk by mid October, if possible. Writing? I'm supposed to be writing? Yikes~!

OK, enough complaining...I have a houseful of church women coming for a luncheon and to help me celebrate moving to our new home, so need to get to bed. Then, a fun bridal shower to attend on Saturday for my new daughter in law to be (Hi Hannah!!!) and my birthday on Friday, if I can squeeze that in...and No, I don't think I'll share how old I am at the moment, LOL!

'Night all...I really do need to go to bed, as I'm getting a bit rummy here and don't want to start rambling. I really will get back to regular blogging soon, and put a few more great articles in on marriage.

Love you all, and keep the comments coming, I LOVE knowing when you've stopped by, even for a minute!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

S.T.O.P.---4 Part Strategy--- Part Two

S.T.O.P.--A 4-Step Strategy for Handling Conflict Without Hurting Your Relationship

Examples of Overt Muscling:

· Demanding sex and/or obedience

· Controlling resources: $, freedom, time

· Using violence or threats to control partner

· Showing anger and contempt for partner in public (includes: attacks on character or appearance as well as acting as if partner is invisible)

· Shouting or intimidating with words or gestures (includes: sarcasm, mocking, finger-pointing, cornering, taunting,)

· Blaming, belittling, interrogating, name-calling

· Hammering a point to death

· Ganging up on partner by bringing in kids, in-laws, other allies.

· Excusing your bad behavior by blaming your partner for it: I wouldn’t drink if you weren’t so X .”

· Doing any of the above in front of your children

Examples of Covert Defiance:

· Withdrawing or Avoiding (includes: the garage, the kids, work, school, alcohol, etc.)

· Stonewalling (includes: the silent treatment, refusing to talk)

· Withholding affection, attention, tenderness, appreciation, sex· Making excuses for why you didn’t follow-through . . . again

· Making and breaking promises and agreements

· Procrastinating· Chronic “forgetting”: “Oops. . . You know how my memory is.”

· Chronic lateness· Chronic apologies without subsequent changes in behavior

· Flaunting your affection for others in front of your partner

· Lying or hiding the truth

· Bad-mouthing your partner to your children, friends, family

· Developing a social network that excludes your spouse

OWNING YOUR PART means that during your time out you take responsibility for calming yourself down and redirecting your energy away from attacking or defending toward understanding and caring for your relationship.

· Techniques for calming yourself down: going for a walk, taking a hot bath, listening to quiet music, writing in a journal.

· Questions to help you redirect your energy:

1. What negative behaviors from the lists above did I use?

2. How might those behaviors have contributed to the bad feelings my partner and I experienced?

3. What could I have done that would have been more helpful, more considerate, more kind?

4. Assuming that most people don’t attack or defend unless they’re feeling threatened, what vulnerable feelings were behind my anger and (or) defensiveness? (Examples: fear, guilt, embarrassment, sadness, hurt)

5. What vulnerable feelings might have been behind my partner’s behavior? (Examples: fear, guilt, embarrassment, sadness, hurt)After you’ve answered these questions and have a better understanding of what went wrong and what part you played, you’re ready for the last step:


3. PEACE OFFERING! Assuming you’ve done all 3 previous steps, you should be ready to come back together and talk. Each of you should take a turn sharing what you learned about yourself from your time away.

This means owning your part, apologizing to your partner for the hurt you may have caused, and making a peace offering. A peace offering can be as simple as a hug or a kiss, or it can be a promise or an agreement to do something different. When both of you have completed this step, chances are you’ll be feeling lots better. Here’s an example of how this step might sound:

“At first, all I could see was what you did to make me mad, but when I went through the lists and saw: blaming, forgetting, and excusing--I realized that I played a part in what went wrong. I think I was attacking you because I was feeling guilty myself for forgetting to do X. Sorry. I know I let you down. Next time I can try to be more honest sooner, or I can at least stop blaming you before you’ve even had a chance to talk. I promise to do X by Friday.”

Sounds good, huh? You can do it, too. Practice the STOP strategy over and over until the steps are automatic. It takes lots of repetition, so hang in there! When you’ve got it down, try teaching it to your kids. If they’re too young to understand it, use the strategy in front of them. They’ll learn by example how to communicate lovingly and respectfully.

Author's Bio
Betsy Sansby, MS, LMFT is a licensed marriage & family therapist with over 20 years experience counseling individuals, couples, and families. She is also the coauthor—with her husband—of seven instructional books on hand-drumming and percussion, including their latest book for kids, Slap Happy. She is the creator of an ingenious communication tool for couples called: The Ouchkit: A First-Aid Kit for Your Relationship. Clients who have used the kit describe it as: “Marriage Counseling in a Box.” You can read her advice column “Ask Betsy” at:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

S.T.O.P.-- A 4-Step Strategy for Handling Conflicts

S.T.O.P.-- A 4-Step Strategy for Handling Conflicts Without Hurting Your Relationship

By Betsy Sansby, MS

Brain researchers have found that when people are scared, hurt, or angry, they're physiologically incapable of thinking straight. Stress hormones flood the body and cause the rational part of the brain to shut down, and the irrational part to take over. That’s why angry people don’t talk to each other, they rant and rave--or work on their trucks.

The S.T.O.P. Strategy will help you calm down when you're upset, so you can gain perspective and reconnect from a better place. The best way to use it is to practice the four steps often, and to start using the strategy during a low-level conflict. That way, when things get really hot, you'll already know how to use it. Here are the four steps:

1. STOP! As soon as you notice yourself getting uncomfortable with the way your conversation is going, STOP! Then say: I need a time out. This tells your partner you need a break, without blaming her (him) for your discomfort.

2. TIME OUT. Time out means physically separating from each other in order to stop the hurt. It means going away for a short time (30-60 minutes) and coming back after both of you have calmed down and have completed Step 3: OWN YOUR PART.

· Brain researchers have found that once the heart is beating 95 bpm or above, the thinking brain (neocortex) shuts down and the emotional brain (amygdala) takes over. This means it does no good to keep arguing when you’re both upset, because the reasonable part of your brain is no longer listening.

John Gottman’s research on marital satisfaction found that couples who disengage when things start heating up, and try again after both people are calmer, stay together and report greater satisfaction in their relationships.

3. OWN YOUR PART. This means taking responsibility for your part in creating the problem. It means calming yourself down, analyzing your behavior, and redirecting your energy away from attacking or defending.
Most people believe they’ve won if they’ve gotten their spouse to do things their way. Don’t mistake submission for devotion, or obedience for love.
Every act of overt muscling by one partner leads to 2 equally powerful acts of covert defiance by the other!

Examples and step four on the next post, so tune in again!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

We've Moved To Our New House!!!

Finally!!! We've spent several nights at our new house now, but are still getting moved in. We have a lot of clean up and some misc items to pack at the old house, as well as a few pieces of furniture to move.

I'll get back to my regular schedule of posting here 2-3 times per week as soon as we finish the last details. We got our washer and dryer hooked up this week end and moved my three kitties today. Whew! They are NOT happy campers, LOL! They'll stay locked in our garage for the next couple of days until they adjust and realize this is home.

Tom is still huddled in the big carrier, refusing to come out. Smoke is wandering around exploring after just an hour, and Jerry is huddled behind a lumber pile growling at anything that comes close.

I'm posting pictures of the interior of the house tomorrow (without furniture, as I haven't taken new ones yet) so you can see what we've been working on. Please check back again in a few days, I'll start my blogs up again on marriage and family issues soon.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Wow!!! 35 Years Together Today!

Today is our 35th anniversary and yes, we got married when we were just babies, LOL!
This is the only snapshot I have on my computer of our wedding, I need to ge the professional ones transferred.
Actually, I did marry young and it's miraculous our marriage held together through all the ups and downs and immaturity we both brought into it. Two babes getting married without a clue what sacrifice really meant. God is faithful, though, and He's brought us through so much. I give Him all the glory for making it this far and with His help, and the love and deep commitment to each other, I'm trusting God for another 35!!!
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