Apparently one friend’s unique wedding gift for Chelsea and Marc was dancing lessons and they demonstrated new skills in their first dance as husband and wife. Of course, the longer they’re married, the more techniques they’ll add to their repertoire – dance steps and otherwise.
No matter who you marry, there are bound to be differences that challenge you – family values, cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic status, religious traditions. But if you’re committed to working together, each complements and enriches the other. And when disagreements do occur, you can rely on these tips:
Choose your words. In the midst of an argument, any one of these phrases would be welcomed by a partner feeling misunderstood: I might be wrong; stay with me and don’t withdraw; I see my part in all of this; let’s find common ground; I love you and we’ll work this out.
Stay engaged. A gentle touch, eye contact or a quick hug can release oxytocin, a hormone that facilitates bonding as well as reduces blood pressure and stress levels. When you’re feeling tense, an affectionate moment can help you feel closer, loved and even more relaxed.
Build emotional dividends. If you characteristically turn toward rather than away from each other, the goodwill you accumulate can provide an emotional cushion. Maintain a reserve of shared positive feelings and you will be able to draw from this supply of affection in times of conflict.
Chelsea and Marc have attended family holidays together so they likely have already started a discussion that includes such topics as Christmas trees and Hanukah menorahs. It is often rituals and family relationships that give faith meaning. The Clintons have raised Chelsea well and she has stood by her parents through tough times. And Chelsea is a survivor – resilient, transcendent, private, well balanced – all qualities that can only enhance a marriage that seems off to a very good start.
Read more here about the newlyweds and making marriage work. We’ve enjoyed discussing ways to manage the inevitable conflicts in marriage with you this week. If you want more information about family issues, please sign our email list to the left of this post. You’ll receive our free monthly newsletter, Stepping Stones, with lots of tips to improve your relationships. And you can download our free ebook, Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals.