Resolution Skills and Boundary Setting

Let’s move on to the second challenge:

1) Identify the problem. DH is not having his very real needs for sexual intimacy met but I am feeling touched out at the end of the day and overwhelmed with mothering. I have health issues that are probably limiting my sex drive but I have an obligation to make sure my husband isn’t suffering in this area.

2) Brainstorm solutions.

  • He gets to demand it whenever he wants and I just have to do it
  • He needs to meet his own needs
  • I can get evaluated for my health so that I’m not overlooking real help that might be available to me
  • We could have a date night every week where we hire a sitter and go to a hotel
  • He can tell me when he’s in the mood and give me 1-3 days to gear up
  • We can set a “date night” each week where we will make sure we have sex—He will have this to look forward to and I will be able to get ready for it

3) Evaluate solutions.

  • He gets to demand it whenever he wants and I just have to do it—NOT RESPECTFUL OF ME AND WILL LEAD TO RESENTMENT
  • He needs to meet his own needs—DEFINITELY NOT SOMETHING HE IS INTERESTED IN DOING OR IS IDEAL FOR OUR MARRIAGE
  • I can get evaluated for my health so that I’m not overlooking real help that might be available to me—THIS IS GOOD BUT ISN’T ENOUGH OF A SOLUTION
  • We could have a date night every week where we hire a sitter and go to a hotel—THIS WILL NOT MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR CHILDREN AND IS NOT SOMETHING WE ARE WILLING TO DO
  • He can tell me when he’s in the mood and give me 1-3 days to gear up—THIS COULD WORK
  • We can set a “date night” each week where we will make sure we have sex—He will have this to look forward to and I will be able to get ready for it—I LIKE THIS ONE BUT WE’D NEED TO PICK A GOOD DAY
  • 4) Select a solution. This was a real situation we faced in our marriage. And on this one we first selected “DH can tell me when he’s in the mood and give me 1-3 days to gear up”

    5) Execute the solution. We put it into practice.

    6) Have a planned time to evaluate the solution chosen. This solution ended up causing me a lot of stress trying to make sure I found time and energy during the three-day time limit. It was working for him but I wasn’t fully happy with it. When we went back to brainstorm some more we added the two ideas that we ended up going with.

    These were “I can get evaluated for my health so that I’m not overlooking real help that might be available to me” and “We can set a “date night” each week where we will make sure we have sex—He will have this to look forward to and I will be able to get ready for it”. When we talked about what night to set we decided to try the night between his two days off for the week. He agreed to put more effort into helping me parent during day one so that I could have more energy and not be overwhelmed by the time the kids went to bed. He also tried to make our time together romantic by renting movies and other things I enjoyed that were not just sexual. And the next morning he made breakfast while I got to sleep in to make up for not going to bed earlier and staying up with him. My health has improved and our situation has changed a lot since that time so we’re not still using that solution but it worked for a long time while the problem remained defined as it was. We’ve also pulled out this solution at various stressful or busy times in our marriage. Even with the birth of our twins we were able to maintain fairly regular intimacy during the first year. It took commitment, but was well worth it.

    I hope that these real situations and examples can give you some idea of what conflict resolution looks like and how it can be used to meet the very real needs of everyone involved. Ideally the people involved will give their own ideas during the brainstorming session, but with young children you might need to “think” for them. Make sure if you need to return to the brainstorming session that you update ideas for them as well—your solution might not have worked because of a failure to take into account all of your child’s needs.

    Of course not every “problem” requires such formal work and the solutions might be obvious. In fact, the more effort you put into developing your conflict resolution skills the easier you will see the working solutions to most things life throws at you. But when you can’t see the solution, or when you are bumping heads on what to try, coming to the table to find a solution for everyone is the best way to solve the problem and meet the needs of everyone involved.

    Happy resolving.

Pages: 1 2 3 4