Disagreements are inevitable in our relationships but are also healthy until they turn into arguments. Suddenly we stop talking in a loving matter and start hurting each other, we blame, accuse, complain, demand…

These arguments can so destructive for the closer two persons are, especially if they were involved sexually, the easier it is to hurt or to be hurt. They’re taking things too personally.

Never argue, instead, cool down then discuss the pros and cons of the issue. Negotiate and be openly accept your different point of view. Most disagreements can be easily resolved with mutual understanding and loving and respectful Communication.

Arguing doesn’t mean suppressing negative feelings. It is still possible to express your negative feelings without arguing. If anything, suppressing negative feelings, while on the short-term can prevent arguments, on the long-term it leads to growing resentment and eventually love dies. If arguing is a war, suppressing negative feelings is a cold war.

It’s not what we argue about, it’s how we argue:

An argument doesn’t have to be hurtful. We are different and we’re bound to have different points of view from our partner every now and then. Disagreements are inevitable but can be discussed in a loving manner. People start arguing about one thing and within five minutes, they start arguing about the way they are arguing.

Because of the way they’re being approached, they automatically reject listening to their partner's point of view and start defending themselves. They're hurting each other in the process.

It is quite common for a man, when being challenged, to focus on being right and defending himself. He then forgets to be loving as well and his caring tone decreases. Because of his uncaring tone, his woman starts feeling upset. The man mistakenly assumes that she’s upset about the disagreement, he tells her not to be upset and tries to give her all the logical reasons why this issue shouldn’t upset her. He’s focused on the content of what he’s saying, while the woman is upset about the way he’s delivering his speech. She becomes resistant and unreceptive to what he’s saying. He’s defending his point of view, while she’s defending herself from his tone of arguing.

Similarly, a woman might unknowingly hurt her man’s feelings while arguing. When a woman is challenged, her tone becomes increasingly mistrusting and rejecting. This can hurt a man a great deal especially if he is emotionally involved. And without acceptance and trust, a man responds negatively and try to defend himself, he takes it too personally.

Arguments Strategies:

There are mainly four positions individuals take to avoid arguments, two that concerns men and the other two concerns women. These tactics, while effective on the short-term, they’re counterproductive on the long-term. 

Men arguing tactics:

1- Fight:

When challenged, some individuals tend to get offensive. They believe that to defend yourself, you need to get offensive. They start blaming, criticizing, judging… in order to intimidate the other person into loving and supporting them. They tend to yell and express their anger to make the other person look wrong. And when the latter backs down, they think they’d won, while in fact, they’d lost.

To use strength to get what you want from someone else is, in fact, a sign of weakness. It not only hurts the other person, but it also hurts the relationship. It weaknesses trust in the relationship and the couple find it increasingly difficult to be open and vulnerable. Women close up to protect themselves and men shut down and stop caring as much.

2- Flight:

If fighting is a war, flighting is a cold war. Some men choose to retreat and pull away when they have a disagreement with their partner. This is not like taking a time out to cool down. They, in fact, choose to not talk and nothing gets resolved. On the short-term, this brings in peace and harmony, but on the long-term it builds resentment. Both partners start to lose their passion and drew apart.

To get what they want from their partner, they choose to withhold their love. While fighting is directly hurting, depriving their partner of the love she needs is indirectly hurting her and sure enough, she too won’t be able to give as much.

Women’s arguing tactics:

1- Fake:

Women might pretend that everything is fine to avoid conflicts. Surely, on the short-term, the couple are arguing less, but on the long run, the woman is blocking her natural need to express her negative feelings. She’s sacrificing and denying her feelings, desires and needs to avoid possible conflicts. But she’s also growing resentful and unhappy.

A man might use the words “Fine, It’s alright, It’s okay” but that would be a different meaning. What he’s meaning is It’s fine because: “I can handle this. I know what to do. I’m dealing with it and I can figure this out alone”. But when a woman uses these terms, then that’s a sign that she’s avoiding an argument and repressing her negative feelings.

2- Fold:

With this strategy, the person gives in whenever an argument arises. She takes the blame and assumes the responsibility of whatever is upsetting his partner. What looks like a supportive and loving relationship from the outside is actually a denial and self-rejection from the inside. This person is trying to sense his partner’s desires and then mold herself in order to please. She loses herself in the process and for that, she’s increasingly growing resentful.

Because she’s rejecting herself, she wants to be loved by all and thus avoids rejection at all costs.

Behind each one of these strategies the man or the woman is trying to protect himself/herself from being hurt, unfortunately, things don't work that way. What works is the following:

How to avoid arguing:

While it takes two to argue, it only takes one to stop the argument. Here are some practical tips to help you avoid arguments when disagreeing:

- First and foremost, you need to remember that most of the time, we’re not arguing about an issue, but about the way, we’re discussing it.

- Take a responsibility to recognize when a disagreement is turning to an argument. Right then stop the argument and take a time-out to cool down.

- Reflect on the way you’re approaching your partner and acknowledge his needs.

- After cooling down, go back and talk about the issue in a loving and respectful tone.

Why men argue:

A man can best handle arguments when he feels loved. However, when he’s deprived of the love he needs, he becomes defensive. On the surface, he might look like discussing the issue at hand, but the real reason for the argument is because he doesn’t feel loved.

To feel disapproved of is equally painful for a man, especially when it comes out from his favorite woman. Women often don’t express her feelings directly, instead of telling her man how his being late worried her, she asks a rhetorical question like "How could you be so late?" Instead of hearing her feelings, the man is hearing her disapproval.

Giving the love and approval a man needs when discussing an issue is the way to lead an effective conversation and avoid arguments.

Why women argue:

A common pattern for many arguments goes like the following:

1- The woman expresses her negative feelings about an issue

2- The man explains to her why she shouldn’t feel upset about that issue

3- The woman becomes more upset about her feelings being invalidated than about the issue.

4- The man becomes upset as well and blames his woman for upsetting him.

5- The woman apologizes and wonders what happened. Or she becomes more upset and the argument escalates.

While listening to your woman, try to understand why she’s upset and console her instead of telling her why she shouldn’t be upset.

When a woman talks she’s relieving herself and eventually she starts to feel better and her problems seem to be solved just by talking. She doesn’t need solutions or advice, she just needs a chance to express herself.

To sum up:

1. The man feels that the woman disapproves of his point of view.

2. Or the woman disapproves of the way the man is talking to her.

Bonus: Apologizing:

Apologizing can be difficult for men, because, for them, it means that you’ve done something wrong and you’re apologizing. However, for women, to say “I’m sorry” means “I care about you”. They’re not apologizing for doing something wrong, but they choose peace and express their caring feelings by apologizing. Therefore, a man learning to say “I’m sorry” is the easiest way to derail an argument. For example, when your woman is upset and expressing her negative feelings about something, try to understand why she’s feeling upset and say: “I’m sorry because you feel that way about that issue.”

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A book is the best way to escape one's life and live a second one. If you're a book-lover, then the statements below will sound familiar to you:

1- “I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.”
― George R.R. Martin

2- “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” 

― Jorge Luis Borges

3- “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” 

― Jorge Luis Borges

4- “I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.” 

–Jorge Luis Borges

5- “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

6- “I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” 

― Orhan Pamuk

7- “I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.” 

― Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

8- “I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

― J.K. Rowling

9- “I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.”

― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

10- “I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.”

― Jorge Luis Borges

11- “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

12- “I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself. Movies show you the pink house. A good book tells you there's a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style,park your own car out front. My imagination has always topped anything a movie could come up with. Case in point, those darned Harry Potter movies. That was so not what that part-Veela-chick, Fleur Delacour, looked like.”

― Karen Marie Moning, Darkfever

13- “I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.”

― Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone around the World

14- “It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book.”

― Maureen Corrigan, Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing

15- “I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.”

― L.M. Montgomery

16- “When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.”

― Jean Fritz

17- “I love the way that each book—any book—is its own journey. You open it, and off you go….”

― Sharon Creech

18- “I love books. I like that the moment you open one and sink into it you can escape from the world, into a story that's way more interesting that yours will ever be.”

― Elizabeth Scott, Bloom

19- “I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

20- “In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.”

― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

21- “It wasn't until I started reading and found books they wouldn't let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”

― John Waters

22- “I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself.”

― Karen Marie Moning, Darkfever

23- “Of course I loved books more than people.”

― Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

24- “I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.”

― Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber

25- “I was burning through books every day - stories about people and places I'd never heard of. They were perhaps the only thing that kept me from teetering into utter despair.”

― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

26- “I understood books. I did not understand boys—especially alien boys.”

― Jennifer L. Armentrout, Onyx

27- “I can imagine no greater bliss than to lie about, reading novels all day.”

― Julia Quinn, Ten Things I Love About You

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Our home is a living space, not a storage space. – Francine Jay

Happiness doesn’t come as a result of having more, but rather from the result of appreciating what we already have. Below are touching confessions from people who found happiness in simplifying their lives to inspire you:

- When I added up the amount of time spent purging the stuff, not to mention the buying, I realized I had been wasting the most precious gift I had been given… my life.

- We’ve learned the importance of what is referred to as the “one thing in, one thing out” rule.

- I would imagine the gone, and a sense of freedom and weightlessness would come over me.

- I can’t help but wonder, how many priceless memories never would have been made if we’d kept our television.

- What we have isn’t as important to us as who we have in our lives.

- I learned a very big lesson. Use it or give it to someone who can.

- I began to realize that I already had my dream home. One that enabled me to have freedom from loads of debt while still meeting all of my family’s needs. I didn’t need a certain zip code or amount of square footage to make me happy.

- Memories are not made of things but of relationships. Lives are not connected by objects but by stories about those things. Appreciating family heirloom can be a wonderful thing, but allowing possessions to possess us is not.

- The reasons people hold on so tightly to stuff they don’t use it because they think they might need it someday, or because it reminds them of a person or a time from their past. Maybe it gives them a sense of security, of safety in a world that sometimes feels too large, too impersonal, too lonely. Jimmy and I have learned that most stuff can be easily and cheaply replaced if you need it, and is quickly forgotten when out of sight. And those forever memories are carried with us in our hearts, not our attics, and are all we really need. How often do you actually dig Aunt Helen’s teapot or Grandpa Jack’s old Derby out of the attic and thing about the departed? More often it’s an old song, the smell of fresh-dried lavender, the taste of rhubarb pie catching you unaware, that triggers memories and brings those loved ones back to you for a brief moment.

- It occurred to me that none of us truly owns our possessions. Every item you have must be cared for, kept clean and, sometimes, insured. Rather than “owning” possessions, after a time, they “own” us.

- When I look back at all those years I was paying storage fees, I think about how I could have used that money to help put some of my grandchildren through college. As I write this, I wonder what took me so long?

- As I emptied the walls, I was overcome with an unexpected sensation. The rooms suddenly felt brighter, cleaner, sunnier, larger.

- The “one bag rule” has been so successful that today I refuse to go anywhere with more than one bag, be it a weeklong trip or a day at the mall. Teaching myself that I didn’t need as much stuff made me stronger, braver, calmer, more adventurous and so much happier.

- I calculate that the TV is on in our house for about fifteen hours a day! That’s 105 hours a week, 450 hours a month, 5400 a year! Gone are the days of reading, sewing, painting, taking walks, or sitting on the swing in the garden talking to old friends on the phone. All are put off until the next commercial or the end of the show.
It’s time to take my life back. I’m taking the plunge and disconnecting from TV.

- Spending less time in virtual reality strengthened our family bonds. Now we spend more time updating the status of our relationship with each other than any of our social media accounts. Who knew unplugging could lead to feeling so plugged in?

- We sometimes count our blessings in things. The truth is one of the greatest blessings we have is our own ability to look beyond ourselves.

- Learning to live without the items that we thought were essential helped us to realize that they weren’t essential at all.

- It occurred to me that I had bought so many things that were supposed to make life easier and better, but they’d done just the opposite.

- I never knew we could be more content with so much less stuff and less space. Our ancestors may have lived with less stuff and in one-room homes from necessity, but today we are choosing this life every day because it allows us to focus on each other. Sure, there are moments where I feel like I might explode from the intensity of sound and proximity. Yes, there are times I fire up the van and squeal away to a coffee shop to just hear my own thoughts! Yet, I now feel such depth of joy and connection in my life.

- I realized that I didn’t need or even care about all the luxuries afforded to me back home. The size of my house, the labels on my wardrobe, inclusion in a social scene. What did that really matter? What did that prove about my worth? Absolutely nothing. And that knowledge was absolutely freeing.

- We have realized how little we really need to be happy. We have learned how the most important moments in life aren’t when we get new gifts or things, but when we live happy moments with our family and friends. We know that experiences are the best treasures.

- I kept the things I most loved and became very creative with how I used them. Several years later, I still live fairly simply and far more thoughtfully. Do I have a use for it and a place for it? And do I really love it, or would someone else love it even more?

- You don’t need entertainment, a fancy cake or even a piñata to make a birthday memorable. You just need to share it with someone special.

- Here’s my mantra: Release the stuff, unleash the magic.

- Here’s what I learned:
1- Stuff does not bring happiness.
2- Before I buy anything, I re-evaluate the cost and need.
3- Nothing will change until my heart wants it to change.
4- We are all on this earth to help one another and we all have to do our part.
5- When we pour out our lives for others, we are the ones who experience the happiness and feel fulfilled.

- From that moment on, I have asked myself this question: “Can you without this?” If my answer is yes, or if I have to think about it for a moment, I don’t buy it. My closet today is one-tenth the size it used to be and nowhere near filled. It brings me tremendous joy when I see how simple life can be just by looking in my closet. I love my clothes and I wear each and every piece. No longer do I look around at my life and think, “What a waste.” Rather, I think, “What a blessing to be so free from the chains of STUFF.”

- As I reduced my possessions, giving them away to the people who really needed them, the amount of pleasure I got from life increased. I no longer took hours to get ready, hunting for missing items or trying to salvage an ill-matched outfit. The constant hum of anxiety, which I’d dragged around with me since my twenties, began to abate and in its place, I found freedom.

- I spent three years in Nigeria, teaching underprivileged school children, and in return I learnt the most valuable lessons of all: possessions will not make you happy but people might; experiences are worth more than the world’s most amazing dress; what you lose in clutter, you’ll gain in joy; don’t choose trappings, choose life.

- How do you know when you have enough? I struggled with that question until I remembered the quote from John D. Rockefeller. He was once asked, “How much money is enough?” he answered, “Just a little bit more.” I decided I didn’t want to be someone who spent her life chasing “just a little bit more.”

- I’ve learned to appreciate the worth of all my experiences. I’ve also learned to be content with what I have. Others may have more, but I have enough… and enough is just right for me.

- During my five years without credit cards and a limited, irregular cash flow, I developed some of the traits of people who survived the Great Depression. Forget about shopping for trendy new outfits. I now wanted to wear my clothes until they fell apart. Who was treating everyone to dinner now? It certainly wasn’t me. My gifts became more thoughtful and less expensive. One Christmas I made everyone brownies and these were received with much more enthusiasm than my usual store-bought offerings. When I was finally free to resume using credit cards, I didn’t. for big purchases, I used my debit card and anything under $200 was strictly cash. If I didn’t have the cash, the purchase could, and did, wait.

- When I was younger, I loved to “try on” new things: new activities, new foods, new people… to see what suited me. Now that I’m older, I finally know myself. These days I’m simplifying my life; with fewer hobbies and commitments, I need less stuff. I can get rid of the dance shoes, athletic gear, and business suits that were part of my old lifestyle, as well as the home furnishings, beauty products, and even people in my life who are no longer right for me. And when it comes to jewelry, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the diamond tennis bracelet type. I had to lose all those sparkling things to find my own sparkle. As I’m paring down my lifestyle and possessions, I’m homing in on the essence of me.

- We make less money, live in a much smaller house, and have a lot less stuff, but we are so much happier. Our lives are not focused on taking care of the house, making more money and acquiring more stuff, but building lasting relationships and making more memories. Life is focused now on what we are putting into our hearts and not what we are putting into our closets.

34- Two years later, I feel differently about the fire. Despite the loss of valued mementoes, the fire did burn away a lot of needless clutter from my home and my life. I discovered that life is much easier with fewer items and less “stuff” to clutter the journey. I didn’t replace many of the things that I thought were necessities before the fire. My newly built home is cleaner and has more open space, as do I.

35- We’ve been very happy in our new home, half the size of our old one. We have half as much stuff as we did before. We don’t miss it, and we have not lost the happy memories of our old home. Those came with us, and they were the only things we never had to box up or unpack.

36- By taking control of my closet, life became a little easier. I decided never again to own more than twenty pairs of shoes. I’ve kept to my rule though there are occasions when I find myself gazing at a snappy pair of shoes marked down to nearly nothing. But there’s truth in numbers. My twenty-pair rule shapes the parameters of my shopping. I can’t add new shoes without subtracting old ones. This formula helps me think a lot harder before succumbing to temptation and making a purchase.

Aim for a life where there is:
Less TV, more reading
Less junk food, more real food
Less clutter, more space
Less consuming, more creating
Less worrying, more smiling

Before buying something new, ask yourself:
- Will I use it?
- Do I want to store it?
- Do I want to clean or maintain it?
- Would I rather with the money buy something else?

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Men have an intimacy cycle that is different from the women’s, it involves getting close, then pulling back and again getting close, exactly like a rubber band; it can only stretch so far only to come springing back.

It’s a natural cycle for a man, it’s not his decision nor it is his choice. It’s not his fault, nor it is his woman’s.

Women, on the other hand, get confused when their man pulls away. It’s understandable because a woman only pulls away when she doesn’t trust her man to understand her feelings, when she had been hurt and is afraid of getting hurt again or when he had disappointed her. Therefore, most women misinterpret their men retreat.

In a loving relationship, a man cares a lot about his partner, he tries his best to fulfill her needs and desires, gradually he starts to lose his sense of self and feel the need to retreat in order to re-establish his personal boundaries and fulfill his need for independence.

A man pulls away to fulfill his needs for independence and autonomy, he alternates between fulfilling his needs for intimacy and then fulfilling his needs for autonomy. When a man has fulfilled his need for intimacy, he retreats and distances himself until he fulfills his need for autonomy, then he’ll feel again the need for love and intimacy and he’ll come springing back. He doesn’t need time to get reacquainted again, he’ll pick up the relationship from the same point of intimacy he left when he pulled away. This might be confusing for the woman, because for her, if she had pulled away, she’ll need a period of reacquaintance, as a result, she probably will find it hard to trust her man’s sudden desire for intimacy.

A Woman often panics when she feels her man is distancing himself from her given that he does that without an explanation. She thinks she had done or said something that has turned him off and she fears that he’ll never come back again.

To make matters worse, she tries to run after him which would only make her man even more distant and would prevent him from feeling his need for intimacy and to be with her again. If a man never gets the chance to pull away, he won’t feel the need to be close. If anything, the more the woman runs after her man, the more he’ll try to escape her and distance himself. It’s not what she says that triggers his retreat, but when she says it. A woman pushes her man to talk about his feelings when she notices how distance he became, at that time and that phase of his intimacy cycle, the man needs his own time and space and pushing him to talk about his feelings, would only push him away farther.

A man himself doesn’t understand the cycle of intimacy he goes through, that’s why when a woman questions his pulling away, he can’t find an explanation, it just happens. It wasn’t his choice, nor was it his decision. Both of them, without understanding this cycle, might easily start doubting their love for each other; the woman is watching her man distant and rejecting when approached and the man can’t get in touch with his needs for intimacy and get close because his woman is running after him.

Moreover, when the man wants to get closer again, a woman might find it difficult to initiate the conversation. She’s afraid because the last time she talked, her man has withdrawn, she mistakenly assumes that he won’t listen. She might also assume that he’s upset with her and therefore, will wait for him to initiate a conversation or also, she might approach her man by asking questions about his feelings and if anything was wrong which might be confusing for a man, because, for him, nothing is wrong.

When a man doesn’t pull away, because he thinks that as a couple, they shouldn’t spend time apart or because he feels guilty when he spends some time alone, if he doesn’t pull away, after a while, few symptoms are to arise, like moodiness, feeling irritable and defensive… His natural intimacy cycle is broken, he doesn’t feel balanced anymore and problems begin to arise in the relationship.

Women, here’s what to do:

Accept that your man needs his space. When he withdraws, don’t run after him and trust that he’ll come back when he’s ready.

The more you’ll accept that part of him, the sooner he’ll come springing back.

When your man is pulling away, it’s not the time to talk or try to get closer. Eventually, he’ll come back, and will be supportive and loving as though nothing had happened, that’s the time to talk.

Initiate the conversation, not by asking him about his feelings and the reasons why he retreated, but by sharing even if he has little to say. Appreciate him for listening and gradually your man will have more to say and begin to open up to you. You can say something along the following: “My dear, would you listen to me for a while, I’ve had a hard day and I would appreciate you listening to me, it would make me feel much better.” Men, unfortunately, don’t realize how important talking is for women. Without being appreciated and encouraged, a man might lose interest in listening, he might feel as though he’s not being useful.

You need to understand that a man doesn’t talk for the sake of talking, he needs a reason to talk, when you start sharing with him, he eventually will relate to the things you’re sharing and start talking.

Don’t demand from him to talk, if being pushed a man will resist even if he has things to share. Instead of rejecting your man’s silence, learn to appreciate it, for it makes him a better listener. Your man needs to feel accepted before he can open up and talk.

When your man is pulling away, this is a chance for you to be independent, to take better care of yourself and have some time for yourself, you can do the things you enjoy doing, you can go out with your girl friends and cherish your relationships with them.

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