We are proud to announce that KellyAnn Bonnell, Faythe Project founder has been nominated for a 2011 Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in the Category of Arts in Education-Individual. The Faythe Project is only one example of her work throughout the Phoenix Community increasing the capacity of arts to collaborate with education and social service agencies. Congratulations KellyAnn!
Disagreements in a relationship are not only normal but, if constructively resolved, actually strengthen the relationship. It is inevitable that there will be times of sadness, tension, or outright anger between you and your partner. The source of these problems may lie in unrealistic/unreasonable demands, unexplored expectations, or unresolved issues/behaviors in one partner or in the relationship. Resolving conflicts requires honesty, a willingness to consider your partner’s perspective even if you don’t fully understand it, and lots of communication.
Healthy communication is critical, especially when there are important decisions regarding sex, career, marriage, and family to be made. The following are some guidelines for successful communication and conflict resolution.
- Understand Each Others’ Family Patterns. Find out how conflicts were managed (or not managed) in your partner’s family, and talk about how conflict was approached (or avoided) in your own family. It is not unusual for couples to discover that their families had different ways of expressing anger and resolving differences. If your family wasn’t good at communicating or resolving conflict constructively, give yourself permission to try out some new ways of handling conflict.
- Timing Counts. Contrary to previous notions, the best time to resolve a conflict may not be immediately. It is not unusual for one or both partners to need some time to cool off. This “time-out’ period can help you avoid saying or doing hurtful things in the heat of the moment, and can help partners more clearly identify what changes are most important. Remember – if you are angry with your partner but don’t know what you want yet, it will be nearly impossible for your partner to figure it out!
- Establish an Atmosphere of Emotional Support. Emotional support involves accepting your partner’s differences and not insisting that he or she meet your needs only in the precise way that you want them met. Find out how your partner shows his or her love for you, and don’t set absolute criteria that require your partner to always behave differently before you’re satisfied.
- Agree to Disagree and Move On. Most couples will encounter some issues upon which they will never completely agree. Rather than continuing a cycle of repeated fights, agree to disagree and negotiate a compromise or find a way to work around the issue.
- Distinguish between things you want versus things you need from your partner. For example, for safety reasons, you might need your partner to remember to pick you up on time after dark. But calling you several times a day may really only be a “want.”
- Clarify Your Messages. A clear message involves a respectful but direct expression of your wants and needs. Take some time to identify what you really want before talking to your partner. Work on being able to describe your request in clear, observable terms. For example, you might say, “I would like you to hold my hand more often” rather than the vague, “I wish you were more affectionate.”
- Discuss One Thing at a Time. It can be tempting to list your concerns or grievances, but doing so will likely prolong an argument. Do your best to keep the focus on resolving one concern at a time.
- Really Listen. Being a good listener requires the following: (a) don’t interrupt, (b) focus on what your partner is saying rather than on formulating your own response, and (c) check out what you heard your partner say. You might start this process with: “I think you are saying…” Or “what I understood you to say was…” This step alone can prevent misunderstandings that might otherwise develop into a fight.
- Restrain Yourself. Research has found that couples who “edit” themselves and do not say all the angry things they may be thinking are typically the happiest.
- Adopt a “Win-Win” Position. A “win-win” stance means that your goal is for the relationship, rather than for either partner, to “win” in a conflict situation. Ask yourself: “Is what I am about to say (or do) going to increase or decrease the odds that we’ll work this problem out?”
This post is courtesy of the University of Texas Austin Counseling and Mental Health Clinic
As the Months Go By: Important Things to Recognize as Your Relationship Grows
Relationships Change. Changes in life outside your relationship will impact what you want and need from the relationship. Since change is inevitable, welcoming it as an opportunity to enhance the relationship is more fruitful than trying to keep it from happening.
Check in Periodically. Occasionally set aside time to check in with each other on changing expectations and goals. If a couple ignores difficult topics for too long, their relationship is likely to drift into rocky waters without their noticing.
This post is courtesy of the University of Texas Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center.
The Beginning Stages
While the early months of a relationship can feel effortless and exciting, successful long-term relationships involve ongoing effort and compromise by both partners. Building healthy patterns early in your relationship can establish a solid foundation for the long run. When you are just starting a relationship, it is important to:
- Build. Build a foundation of appreciation and respect. Focus on all the considerate things your partner says and does. Happy couples make a point of noticing even small opportunities to say “thank you” to their partner, rather than focusing on mistakes their partner has made.
- Explore. Explore each other’s interests so that you have a long list of things to enjoy together. Try new things together to expand mutual interests.
- Establish. Establish a pattern of apologizing if you make a mistake or hurt your partner’s feelings. Saying “I’m sorry” may be hard in the moment, but it goes a long way towards healing a rift in a relationship. Your partner will trust you more if he or she knows that you will take responsibility for your words and actions.
This post is courtesy of the University of Texas Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center.
So you’ve got a boyfriend. Now what? Being in a relationship, even when you’re in middle school or high school, takes work. Just because you’re “with” someone doesn’t mean you lose your rights as a person. It does mean that you some responsibilities.
- Identity—You have the right to be your own person. You get to choose your own clothes, have input on plans including saying no if you don’t want to do something. Remember you don’t have to do everything together.
- Friends—You have the right to keep your friends and spend time with them away from your boyfriend. Just because you have a boyfriend doesn’t mean you have to stop having friends.
- Feelings—You have the right to your own feelings and to express them in appropriate ways.
- Opinions—You have the right to your own opinions even if they are different. It’s okay to disagree about things. What is important is that you agree to disagree.
- Boundaries—You have the right to set boundaries and to have those boundaries respected. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to have to do anything for your boyfriend or girlfriend that you are uncomfortable with. You don’t have to lend him/her money, you don’t have make out, you don’t have to have sex.
- Voice—You have the right to be heard and to tell someone not to interrupt you.
- Affection—You have the right to ask for and refuse affection. If you don’t want a kiss say so. If you need a hug or want to hold hands say so.
- Identity—It takes two unique individuals to be a couple. Your uniqueness is what attracted your boyfriend/girlfriend to you to begin with. It is your responsibility to keep true to who you are. Don’t let another person, even one you are really interested in, change who you are.
- Friends—You need to maintain friendships outside of your new relationship. This can be really hard when all you want is to be with your new boyfriend/girlfriend but its part of what makes a healthy relationship. Each of you need outside friends.
- Feelings—Remember that people aren’t mind readers. At some point in time we will accidentally hurt the people we care about. What is important is to acknowledge that just because you don’t understand why something hurt someone it did. Don’t belittle or reject those feelings. Acknowledge them and work with your partner.
- Opinions—A good relationship is a compromise. You go to a football game when you’d rather be at the movies, he goes to the movies when he’d rather be at a game. It is your responsibility to voice your opinions. Sure they may not always be popular but that’s okay. Nobody ever said being in a relationship meant the two of you were supposed to agree with everything.
- Boundaries—You have to set your boundaries based on your values and you have to respect the boundaries set by your partner. His/her values are part of who they are and that’s why you wanted him/her to be in a relationship with you.
- Voice—If you have the right to be heard and to someone else not to interrupt you, it’s your responsibility to listen to your boyfriend/girlfriend and to not interrupt.
- Affection—It’s your responsibility to remember that affection is a natural part of a healthy relationship but only within the boundaries set by the two of you.
t’s been more than 230 days since Carlo Garcia bought a cup of coffee.
That’s because in April, the Chicago resident realized that he could change lives and inspire others to do the same — all for the price of his morning joe.
“One day this idea popped into my head: How hard would it be to give back to charity every day? What’s stopping us from doing that?” said Garcia, who catalogs his daily donations on his blog, Living Philanthropic.
“Because I don’t make a whole lot of money, I had to look at my finances and see what areas of unnecessary spending I could cut,” he said.
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