Marilyn Joyce/Augusta,GA: If my broadcast listeners recall, in June 2006, we discussed the very public beating of Kim Myers by her husband, Brett in front of a restaurant in Boston. Multiple witnesses placed 911 calls during the incident in which the Philadelphia pitcher left his wife lying on the concrete following repeated blows to her face. She bailed him out of jail. In October, she requested (in writing) for all charges to be dropped stating there is no violence in our family. In the presence of so many witnesses, the charges should have stood – something the judge knew and chose to ignore. Kim Myers is not the first sports wife to drop assault charges to try to save a doomed marriage.
In reality, some of our greatest conflicts occur behind closed doors, in the privacy of our own homes. For example, in a 1991 survey conducted by the Justice Department, only 9% of acts of domestic violence were committed by spouses; the majority of the offenders were boyfriends or ex-husbands. In a more recent 2003 study reported by the Criminology journal, higher rates of physical violence occurred with live-in relationships. Assault is a level of conflict that has escalated beyond acceptable levels; and these findings indicate that divorce does not necessarily stop the possibility of a physical attack among couples. Even co-habitation, which many have used to screen the relationship for potential problems, does not prevent violent conflict in intimate relationships.
We’ve all faced conflict resolution dilemmas: dealing with difficult co-workers, working for a demanding manager, confronting challenging employees, or a strong willed child. Developing life coping skills is an essential problem solving measure which is the responsibility of each individual, says Psychotherapist Dornell Mister, MSW, CAC II (Orlando, Florida) during a 2007 radio interview (In the Purpose Zone with Marilyn Joyce) on WKZK. Basically, this means: if you want something different, you have to do something different. How many times have we heard that one?
Years ago, a neighbor confided she had stopped watching the soaps because, after weeks of picking fights with her husband every evening; she realized she was actually angry with some unfaithful soap opera guy. She solicited my support of her new understanding that changing old behaviors would yield different results. A reality check, self-evaluation, and a behavioral adjustment ended a major relationship conflict. A lesson that Kim Myers and Judge Raymond Dougan obviously have not learned.
What about these relationship conflicts that end in physically violent outbursts can it be prevented? That depends upon the attitude of the individuals. My neighbors were willing to take a close look at their situation, evaluate honestly, and make realistic adjustments before things got out of hand. In the end, the love and respect they had for one another prevailed.
‘A relationship is beyond a relationship. There is one that has value, one that has respect, and there’s one that has the ability to grow and be all you can be together – not all you can be by yourself’, says Dornell Mister.
Here is a summary of the 7 key strategies for successful relationship conflict resolution Dornell Mister shared during The Purpose Zone broadcast:
- Agree to disagree
- Learn how to compromise
- Respect the person you’re with (their thoughts, opinions, and feelings)
- You must love your partner
- Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol as they affect your thought patterns (Kim & Brett had both been drinking)
- It’s difficult to problem solve on an empty stomach
- Do an in-depth self-evaluation in order to develop life skills (strategies) that work effectively for you to resolve conflict
Survive, Get a Life & Do Your Destiny!!