Login | Contact

Latest Program

Recent Blog Posts

  • digital-art-398342_1920Will you please empty the dishwasher?” I asked my husband, Bernard one evening while I was preparing dinner.

    Sure!” He said quickly to oblige.

    The way I worded the question was something new I was trying for the past several weeks. I am a self-admitted nag and due to Bernard and I’s vastly different ways of managing tasks I found I was nagging him more which was causing conflicts.

    Before getting married, I purchased a book written by Ruth E. Hazelwood titled, “The Challenge of being a Wife.” I bought the book on a day when I was having anxiety about failing in my role as a spouse; however, by the time the book arrived, my concerns must have dissipated because I never opened it before our nuptials. Flash forward to a month ago when I was becoming increasingly annoyed with the sound of my voice nagging my husband that I stumbled upon the book and decided to read it. It was eye-opening.

    A passage that stood out to me that Hazelwood wrote is:

    A wife who thinks her husband can’t do anything without her direction may soon find that he won’t do anything; he is just glad to have you take it all on, and you are left wondering what went wrong.

    I recognized immediately after reading this passage that I constantly was giving my husband direction in the form of rhetorical questions without allowing him the opportunity to do things when he felt motivated. I’d say, ” You know the dishwasher needs to be unloaded?” or “The sink needs to be emptied.” I wasn’t confident that he would rise to the challenge without my direction – which his track record implied that he wouldn’t. When he wouldn’t do these tasks in the past, I would get angry, do the tasks myself, and then feel resentful towards him because of it.

    I read that passage and felt enlightened. The chapter where that passage resides ends with a list of steps to assist in changing your behavior, so your husband feels more motivated to complete tasks on his own. One step that Hazelwood suggests is, “Be efficient in your areas. If you need his help, don’t demand; just ask, “Will you please…?” in a kind way.” I found I would plea or state what I needed and Bernard would either tune me out or ignore. Hazelwood stresses that husbands will ignore or tune you out because they want to demonstrate they are capable of managing their responsibilities without you. So I began to change how I worded my questions and delegated when I felt overwhelmed by household tasks. Changing from, “Why don’t you empty the dishwasher?” to “Will you please empty the dishwasher?” has made a world of difference in my household.

    The last suggestion in Hazelwood’s list is, “Show appreciation.” Hazelwood explains, ” You must make him feel worthwhile and loved in order to motivate and bring out the best in him.” I recognize that just the slight change in how I word or phrase what I am saying to Bernard and then express appreciation when he completes the task has changed how quickly he responds to assisting me. He is more willing and motivated to do so, and our exchanges around completing household tasks have become much more pleasant and much less frustrating.

    Husbands and Wives, I challenge you to take a look at how you are speaking to your spouse especially if you notice tension and conflict arise around these exchanges. Perhaps, making a slight change in how you word a question or statement can help improve your relationship.


    Have a Great Week,

    Abigail R.C. McManus

    Guest Blogger/ Host

    Leave a Reply
  • solution-1783776_1920In my previous post, I discussed when and how to go about ending a friendship. Many of us, I would suspect, if given the option would choose to reconcile our friendship over termination. Therefore, I felt for this week’s post, and in honor of the upcoming ‘Reconciliation Day‘ on April 2, 2017, I would write about how to mend a friendship after there has been a conflict or a prolonged dispute.

    Surrounding yourself with good friends is important. An article found on WebMD written by Tom Valeo and Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS explains:

    A recent study followed nearly 1,500 older people for ten years. It found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by more than 20%.

    Friends can provide emotional support, make us laugh, and bring out the very best in us. But friendships do come with their set of challenges and just like all other relationships will never be completely devoid of conflict. For that reason, it is important to know how to reconcile a friendship once it has been broken, especially if you want it to last.

    How do we make up with our friends?

    • Make the first move. After a fight has occurred one of the more difficult tasks is being the first person to wave a white flag and reach out for a peaceful reconciliation. Generally, our pride gets in the way, we say hurtful things to one another when emotions are high, and we do not believe ourselves to be at fault. However, staying silent or being stubborn to concede in any way will only cause more issues. Being the first person to reach out may take some courage, but someone has to do it if you want your friendship to survive.
    • Accept Responsibility. One thing I learned while studying for my Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore is just like it takes two to tango it takes two to have a conflict. Many of us naturally, point the finger at the other person and absolve ourselves of any foul play because we don’t like thinking of ourselves in a negative light. However, looking at how you contributed to a conflict can assist in reconciliation. For example, maybe you were not as supportive as your friend would have needed, or you made negative comments that were judgmental to your friend’s actions. Acknowledging your contribution, however small, demonstrates it takes two to engage in conflict.
    • Use “I” statements. Apologizing will help break down your friend’s defensives and make them more willing to listen and communicate. And, it is still important that you express how your friend made you felt during the conflict. Otherwise, your feelings will go unheard, and resentment could build. If you say, ” You always blow me off to hang out with other people” you are blaming your friend which would put them on the defensive. Instead, you could say, ” I felt hurt the other day when we had plans, and you canceled, and then I saw on Facebook you were with Penny and Mary.” Expressing how their decisions and behavior made you feel will more likely encourage them to see things from your perspective and perhaps make them more willing to apologize.
    • Don’t look back. Once you and your friend have hashed out your differences and forgiven one another, leave that conflict in the past. If you continue to bring up old transgressions, your friendship will not be able to strengthen and grow instead it will become immobile.
    • Reflect together. Take time to examine what you both could do differently next time a conflict arises. Decide together to approach each other first before jumping to conclusions or listening to gossip. Learning how to manage conflicts better together will strengthen your relationship and ensure its longevity.


    Have a Great Week,

    Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

    Guest Blogger/ Guest Host

    Leave a Reply
  • Photo by Patricia M. Porter
    PerspectiveMy husband and I love to play games with family and friends. One of my favorite games is Big Boggle, a word game, where you have three minutes to find as many words as you can with earning higher points for four or more lettered words. The game is composed of dice with one letter per dice. We shake the box until all of the letters fall into a slot with letters shown in different directions. Each of the player’s view of the game is different depending on where you sit around the table. After the timer goes off, we then compare words crossing off similar words from our list. Words remaining on your list indicate no one else saw your word nor wrote it down. You then score points for being the only person with the word on the list. Responses such as “Wow, I didn’t see that one.” Or “I can’t believe I didn’t see it. I was looking straight at it.” Then, we start another round amazed how each of us sees the words in front of us differently and yet, ironically, we are all viewing the same die. It is mind boggling.

    Or, is it? Being a conflict management practitioner for over 22 years, I study many aspects of conflict resolution theory, relational dynamics, and neuroscience. The area of study I enjoy exploring is the field of neuroscience and how our brain can work like a muscle. The brain is an organ, but like most muscles, with focused effort, we can practice and build our critical thinking skills, learn to manage and control our emotions, and even change our thinking thus our perspectives. Like everyone else, I can easily stick with what I know and believe my perspective to be the “right way” of doing things or to adamantly state “that’s how I see it, felt it, and experienced it.” So, how can you challenge yourself, build awareness and even explore a perspective building skill? Here are some ideas to get you started.

    • Watch Chris Chabris and Daniel Simmon’s videos. Psychologists and authors of The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us made a series of short and funny video clips to illustrate illusions to our perceptions, how we selectively choose to focus on certain things and dismiss other critical information, and our uncanny ability to not see changes right in front of us.
    • Watch the television series Brain Games. This Emmy-nominated television series demonstrates how the brain processes information. These short episodes on National Geographic are fun and boggle the mind. They introduce a concept such as perception, memory, stress, etc. and then demonstrate through visuals and audio how your brain engages. They provide practical strategies to reduce misperceptions and illusions of memory, and so much more.
    • Play the word game, Big Boggle. Well, it is a fun game and builds word skills. It challenges you to look at so many angles. What are other games which challenge perspective that you would recommend? Let me know.
    • Ask open-ended questions to gain different perspectives and challenge your critical thinking skills. Often disagreements escalate into conflict and even full blown disputes because we get stuck in our perspectives. Taking another perspective leads to undiscovered factual information, understanding another’s experience or emotions and sheds light on a new unseen angle. Asking open-ended questions tells the other person you are genuinely interested in learning. Examples of these types of questions could be
    1. What light can you shed to help me see this differently?
    2. How might you help me see the hidden door and walk through it?
    3. What am I missing that would help me understand your perspective?

    Go out and challenge yourself daily. Build that perspective-taking muscle and skill set. Let me know how it goes.

    Pattie Porter

    Host and Founder

    The Texas Conflict Coach®

    Leave a Reply

  • Podcast Library

  • Subscribe by Email

    Join our mailing list to receive our newsletter and blogs!

  • Mediate.com Featured Blog

    www.ADRHUB.com Top Family Health Resource

    Create a Radio Show and Reach Millions.
    Listen to Stitcher