Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson - No Bickering Week 2

No Bickering Challenge: Week 2

Here we are again. Talking about bickering. And how we (specifically Brandon and me) bicker more when our families are around but are actively working on stopping.

Catch up on the first two posts here and here in order to get some context.

As I mentioned last week, we did a fan-freakintastic job of not bickering during week one. We had a blip at the end but the week went really well. Better than I expected. Week two followed a similar pattern. We didn’t bicker at all at the beginning. We were focused on our work and had bigger fish to fry than each other.

However, it started to change a bit over the weekend.

So How Did Week 2 Go?

There’s something about Sundays. We do great all week and most of the weekend and then Sunday hits.  It’s like cheat day. Eat great all week and then on Sunday you pig out on pizza, chicken wing, cake…Okay. It wasn’t that bad. I think I’m just hungry.

Back to the story: As we were packing up our home in Palm Spring to head back to Portland, we started bickering about who is responsible for which house duties. We always leave these kinds of things until the very last possible minute and then start running around like chickens with our heads cut off with no strategic plan on how were going to get it all done.

Naturally, both of us start doing the exact same things and get frustrated that the other isn’t taking care of something else. It’s all so silly looking back. But that’s the funny thing about bickering, isn’t it? In the moment, you feel like you have to say something. Like you have to be right. Like you have to prove your point.

Which is never actually the case. You just feel like it in the moment. And that feels amplifies by 10 when we’re with our families.

Natalie Workman In A Black Dress - No Bickering

What is it about family that allows us to bicker more?

Family is incredibly important to us. Because we travel so often, we really try to make spending quality time with our families important. We firmly believe that quality is far more important than quantity. But during these precious moments, we usually find ourselves bickering about something that couldn’t be any less important:

Why can’t we go to dinner at 6:15 instead of 6:30?

Can you not be late?

Why aren’t you ready yet?

Can you please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, not talk about the election?

Yeah. We’re those people.

With all the hustle and bustle of having family around, it’s easy to get out of sync with your partner. The communication is happening quicker and there is less time to clarify the other’s intent behind every word. I sometimes think Brandon is being short with me or he thinks I’m in a bad mood when we get around our families.

The truth is: he probably WAS short and I probably WAS in a bad mood. For a moment. Navigating activities, meals, schedules, and personalities is not for the faint of heart. But I’m determined to not allow these external stresses trigger me to bicker. It’s not worth it. It’s not who I am. And I’m laser-focused on forming and reinforcing new habits.

Natalie Workman In A Black Dress - No Bickering Week 2

3 Tips for Stopping Bickering Before It Starts

I’ve been honing in on the best process for actual behavior change. You make a choice. You have good intentions. But it’s easy to fall off the wagon and revert to old behavior. Here is what I’ve found that works:

Write It Down

Remember when we talked about the list? Shall we review? Okay – as soon as you want to start the bicker, pull out your phone, open your notes app, and write the issue down on your list. We’ll talk about what you should name it in a second but don’t worry about that now. Just get in the habit of opening your phone, not your mouth, when you’re about to start bickering. Your list is what you’ll refer back to at the end of the week during your argument time. You’ll be glad it’s all in one place and can prioritize what issues actually matter.

Make a Creative Name For Your List

I’ve named my list “Brandon Thinks I’m Superwoman.” This is one of my intentions. Who doesn’t want their partner to think their superwoman? I sure do. And in order for that to happen, I need to be reminded constantly of who I want to be. Does Superwoman bicker? No! She is intentional about the conversations she needs to have to improve her relationship. Naming your note your intention for your relationship is a trigger to remember to be who you desire to be. Especially in the important moments.

Be Disciplined

Now that you’ve gotten in the habit of writing your issues down and reminding yourself who you want to be, be disciplined about making time each week for your argument. The point of No Bickering is NOT to stuff all of your issues inside until you implode. The point is to let the little things go and make the REAL issues a priority; to set aside time to work through them in a meaningful way. That’s why it’s important to get your argument time on the books. Plan it out. Ours is scheduled on Sunday afternoons and it’s a critically important time for us. If you don’t make this time a priority, you will feel like you’re never heard and it will be easier to let the bickering persist.

Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson - No Bickering Week 2

We’re almost halfway done with Week 3 and you better believe I’ll be giving you an update next week.

Until then, Xoxo Natalie




1 Comment

  1. Gus

    So true.
    I’ve been married 20 years and we still work on this. We make pacts not to bicker and we have to remake them.

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