Today’s RelationHints are all about resolving differences! Every couple has occasional spats, but it isn’t all that hard to determine what the causes are for this kind of conflict. Once we determine what the problems are, there are several creative and fun ways to fix it. And most of it doesn’t involve prescription strength Midol.
So here are a few ways to identify then resolve your incompatibility issues. Some things to keep in mind:
Men and Women are Different! One of the most important things you can do is realize how men and women approach relationships. They are incredibly different! For instance, the female approaches a relationship by adhering to the following rules:
1. Do you have any money?
2. Would he be willing to give me some?
3. It looks like he’s done giving me money.
4. We can still be friends!
Men, of course, follow a different set of criteria:
1. Boy, I’d like to get in her pants.
2. Maybe if I cry during The Notebook.
3. Yikes. She’s called me twice this week. Better ditch the needy attention whore.
4. I wonder what her sister is doing tonight?
For the proper relationship, you have to find the point where these two sets of rules meet. It’s not hard! Alcohol is a great way to find a converging point to a blissful couplehood. Why else do you think your parents are still together?
Agree on something! Conflict is an inherent part of any relationship—thank goodness! Conflict can help build a relationship. By resolving these conflicts, couples can explore their boundaries and come to mutually acceptable solutions to their problems. This, in turn, brings you closer together. The perfect couple is always an unhappy couple! At least if you want to get to sleep at night! Ahem. Anyway, let’s take a look at some examples:
Example 1: Brian asked Jill if he could go out with the guys to watch the game, and she said okay. That night, though, Jill changed her mind and wants Brian to stay home and watch HGTV with her. Brian complains that he received prior approval and promised the guys he’d be out.
Solution: Brian should stay home and watch television! There are seven whole playoff games, but only four episodes of House Hunters on in a row. Besides, if he doesn’t, Jill will bring up the time he looked four seconds at that cute waitress without looking the same amount of time at her immediately afterwards.
Example 2: Tina has wanted Ken to fix the hand railing on the porch outside for months now. Ken knows it is going to be a chore; it’s going to cost at least $400; and it’s a barely noticeable wobble.
Solution: Ken should fix the hand railing! Clearly, thirty-two hours of toil over three weekends in February along with $400 in materials is a small price to pay to not have her mother make a three-second condescending remark about how the house needs fixed up.
Example 3: Jenny wants to purchase a new set of pumps that cost $180. Paul thinks this is too much to pay for shoes that will be worn maybe twice until they are out of style, and, besides, they are two mortgage payments overdue.
Solution: Paul should let her buy the shoes! It’s certainly important that all of Jenny’s girlfriends know that Paul makes enough money to let her buy $180 dollar shoes. Besides, mortgage debt isn’t included in state law to calculate alimony payments!
See? It’s not hard to find solutions. It’s those small, trivial things that make relationships so interesting! That and the items on the creepy shelf at Spencer’s Gifts.
Find Common Ground! Although most couples enjoy finding out a lot about each other, it can be surprising how much you don’t know about your partner, like the favorite childhood hobby they gave up, or their middle name. There may be things you both enjoy doing that you never thought about before! It will be useful to explore these points of interest and participate in them. Sit down and discuss what you both like, and just see what you can discover!
Her: Coach bags are great.
Him: What’s a Coach bag?
Her: I’m into scrapbooking!
Him: No shit.
Her: I love dolphins.
Him: I kind of thought those forty ceramic dolphins in my bathroom were a pretty good indication of that.
Her: And I loooooove Grey’s Anatomy!
Him: Eh. I’d rather watch The Sopranos.
Her: I don’t love you anymore.
Even if you can’t find any common points of interest, it’s not hard to create some. Try some adventurous activities that will bring you closer together, like skydiving, repelling, or shopping for drapes. Life was never so full of living life!
We’ve covered a lot of ground today. The most important thing to remember is that, for good or bad, all relationships are built on negotiation and trust, if by “negotiation” we mean “craven capitulation” and by “trust” we mean “we do whatever she wants.” Happy coupling!