October 22nd, 2013

How to Live Together Peacefully

by Jacqueline Whitmore

My husband and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. But with every year, new challenges arise, so our relationship is a work in progress. No relationship is perfect — especially in the beginning.

Couples often struggle to find balance when they first move in with each other. It can be difficult to strike a balance between blissfully shared space and imminent claustrophobia. Though this blog post is targeted toward couples, many of their challenges extend to people who live with roommates or family. Here are four tips to help you find peace in your home.

1. Communicate

Clear communication is key when you share a home with your spouse or partner. Think about what you need and want out of the situation and clearly communicate it. Don’t be embarrassed to share what you want. Perhaps you feel you need to be greeted after work each evening and spend ten minutes together to feel centered in the relationship. Let your partner know. If you hold back, it will only lead to internal frustration. Anger that simmers often boils over and leads to massive blowups.

Photo courtesy of Richard Foster

Photo courtesy of Richard Foster

2. Choose Your Battles

When you’re tempted to snap, ask yourself the following three questions: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me right now? If the answer is yes to each one then it’s time to sit down and have a reasonable discussion. If it’s no then let it go. Both you and your partner will evolve as time goes on. Give your your partner the room to fully understand your expectations. Petty arguments usually decline as you discover your partner’s needs. Constant pressure and nitpicking will only lead to stress and may cause the two of you to pull away emotionally and close communication channels.

3. Compromise

Prepare to compromise. We all have funny quirks. Have an honest look at your own habits as you begin to criticize those of your partner. Lapses in chores can lead to endless, ongoing fights. If you find yourself frustrated because the dishes haven’t been done again, or the trash has still not been taken out, step away and take a moment. Decide if the issue is important and bring it up. If the other person can never remember to take out the trash, it may be time to renegotiate household duties. Search for a compromise in every argument to mitigate disagreements. In my personal relationship, my husband agrees to take care of the outside chores and I take care of the inside chores.

4. Show Respect

In his book, Communication Miracles for Couples, Jonathan Robinson suggests all of us want three things from those we interact with: acknowledgement, appreciation and acceptance. If you apply that knowledge to all of your relationships on a daily basis, you’ll be amazed at the difference. When you show your loved ones respect instead of blame, an argument can quickly become an opportunity to solve the problem together.

How do you live blissfully with your partner or roommate? Share your story below.

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