Conflict versus Contention in Mixed-Faith Marriages

I want to start off by talking about conflict. We all experience it – just about every day in some part of our lives. And if you’re in an unanticipated mixed-faith marriage, I imagine that if in no other area, you’ve experienced deep conflict in your marriage over religious views. Is that a bad thing? Is frequent conflict over a variety of issues, or even just one deep one a sign that your marriage is in deep trouble or doomed? If you are someone with a conflict-adverse personality, it can certainly feel like it. Even those who don’t feel the need to avoid conflict rarely feel great about it afterward. The work of renowned marriage researchers, John and Julie Gottman, has shown that how we d

Reality Testing Questions for Controlling Behavior

It’s perfectly normal to feel confused when trying to decide if your partner’s behavior is abusive or controlling. Our brains are wired to prioritize connection to our loved ones, so it’s actually healthy in most relationships to overlook some bad behaviors (just as we hope some of our bad behaviors will be overlooked). We aren’t stupid or weak if we are confused or feel we’ve overlooked signs that might seem obvious to others. Plus, our narrative of an “abusive” relationship doesn’t always match what these real relationships look like, and the people we love are more than just their worst moments. It’s also really normal to wonder if you are the abusive one in the relationship. Our beha

Exercise to Help Ground Our Relationships in Moments of Change or Transition

It was Heraclitus that said, “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change". The truthfulness of that statement can often be a tough pill to swallow. Often times, when a big change shows up in our lives, our conversations within our relationships start to focus on what is about to change or what has changed. Regardless if it's a big move, job change, a new child, a shift in religious beliefs or daunting new medical diagnosis - we often don't take the time to get curious and mindful about what in our lives has remained similar and unmoving regardless of this new change or experience in our lives. As a result, we can get into a toxic pattern of highlighting our fears versus taking some time to cl

Are you an ally or an accomplice? What’s the difference and why it’s important.

So, for the record, I’m straight. And what this typically means as an LGBTQ+ ally is that I get things wrong and I’m constantly learning about the community I fight for. It’s often a clumsy stumbling mess, but I try. There was a time that I was afraid to speak out and fight for LGBTQ+ rights. There was a time that I defended traditional marriage. I was led to believe that maybe redefining marriage to include same-sex unions would bring the fabric of society to ruin and the world would no longer produce competent children who would grow to become well-adjusted leaders of our communities. My research and my interactions with the queer community has led me to look back on these beliefs with sha

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