Dear Liz,

Why can’t we just get along? My husband and I have been married for just under five years. We are expecting our first child in the fall. But I am worried about how often we disagree, argue and even get into mean fights (not physical) that leave us exhausted. We disagree over silly things usually at first. But it can build fast into a blow out. We agree we need to learn another way before the baby comes. Suggestions?

Peace needed

Dear “Peace needed,”

We all need peace to be at our best. And you are both right to work on improving things before the baby comes (congratulations). It is even better for the pregnancy to have as much harmony as you can. Contentious homes are not healthy homes. That doesn’t mean you are not going to disagree. You need to learn to, then model for the kids, how to make room for differences in opinion and all. Appropriate self-expression and positive conflict resolution skills are essential. But let’s start at the foundation.

I advise couples to take a free personality temperament sorter online and study the results. These give you basic results and allow you to also see how your P/T stacks up in a related marriage quiz on that website. Caution: the free online versions can be easily misinterpreted and should never be seen or used at whose “better” or “worse” than another. All personality temperaments are equally important and valuable. To access this go to: humanmetrics.com. If any contention arises out of trying to understand one another, run (don’t walk) to a recommended relationship coach or counselor. Read the descriptions and try to gain an understanding of the each four facets. They are explained well in the results.

Use these then to first better understand yourself. Then graduate to using them to coordinate chores and responsibilities for when the baby comes (beforehand), money matters, decision-making, problem solving and conflict resolution. If not modeled and practiced in your families of origin when you were growing up, you simply must learn these skills as adults. Please. Do what you need to in order to improve your relationship to a far better level before you bring this amazing blessing into the world. As wonderful as babies are, they can be a source for more contention in couples who haven’t learned how to be mature, fair and harmonious in relationships.

Another great source of relationship information for wives is on lauradoyle.org.

Note to readers: As we celebrate our country this fourth of July, please let’s do it in safety and respect. Also, for animal owners. Dogs especially get very anxious hearing fireworks. Please make sure they are in an interior area with safe comfort items and the TV or radio on loud enough (Animal Planet or we like HGTV) to help drown out the sounds. Make sure they are well identified because many run off out of terror — sad. Pledge to honor our country and one another with greater compassion and kindness. God Bless America.

Contact Liz via asklizchs@outlook.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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