Yesterday I talked about how, instead of just arguing about who is right, you instead identify your needs in a situation. Today, on Top 10 Tuesday, I want to give you a method I suggested in 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage–Identify your big 5! Then we’re going to get specific and look at how to declutter with your husband on board.
Sometimes a conflict ends up being about how you want your life to FEEL. For instance, he may want the house super tidy, and you may like the creative energy that comes from a bustling house with kids and lots of company.
How can you win that one when you both have different ideas of what “home” means?
One thing I suggest is to name your Top 5–the Top 5 things that would help you feel like home.
So he may say:
- I need the living room tidy so I can sit down at night.
- I need the entryway clear when I come home.
- I need the bed made.
- I need the bathroom clean.
- I need the laundry put away, not strewn all over the floor/bed.
She, on the other hand, may say:
- I need to let the kids put a blanket fort in the play room.
- I need to do the dishes on my own time.
- I need to have my knitting out, not always putting it away out of reach.
- I need books all over the house to encourage reading.
- I need the backyard to be the kids’ domain.
The living room and bathroom stay spotless; the playroom and living room are the kids’ domains; and they each get what they need. By talking about it specifically like that, you break down “what is really important to me?” And you often find that you’re able to find a win-win that doesn’t blame the other person for being morally inferior (“you’re a slob!”; “you’re anal and don’t care about the kids!”)
I think this Top 5 approach (which ends up being 10 things, for Top 10 Tuesday!) can work in a variety of situations where you are opposites.
When one of you is an introvert who needs time alone, and one is an extrovert who needs time together–how can we figure out how to spend our time? Or when one is a spender and one is a saver, how can we negotiate how to take care of the finances? Often opposites attract, so name your top 5, and then you both feel listened to.
And then go out of your way to abide by your spouse’s Top 5. They deserve that honour.
Today I’m busy moving my daughter into university, so just a quick post. But I think it’s a great concept that can help a lot of marriages.
So let me ask you today: Can you think of an area of conflict where you each just want totally different things, or have totally opposite approaches? Can you try to find your “Top 5s” to help you navigate it? Let me know in the comments!