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Seriously. I might be ahead of schedule, but my wedding dress has arrived in perfect condition for 80 percent off of the price I found it for in a local boutique.

How did I find such a deal? I went shopping with my sisters, my best friend, my mom, and my MOL to be. We went to all the fancy boutiques, and I tried on dresses that would have really stretched my budget. My wonderful entourage took photos of me in each gown, and we wrote down the style number of any contenders. Luckily, I had an open mind and managed to make a list of 5 or so gowns I loved rather than looking for The One.

We had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and headed home, where the work began. I spent the next hour or so scouring the internet for the style number of my top 5 favorite dresses of the day. Here are some sites I found helpful:

EBay

Preowned Wedding Dresses

Once Wed

Bravo Bride

I found my dress on the Preowned Wedding Dresses site listed by a boutique in another part of the U.S. who had used the dress as a try-on. They were selling it on their sample rack for a fraction of the price, and it was in my size. I checked with the seller to be sure there were no rips, stains, pulls, or tears. We used Paypal for a secure transaction, and the dress arrived within a week.

Soon I will get it cleaned and preserved so it stays white throughout the 17 month wait. It was well worth the extra effort to have a few extra wedding bucks in my pocket.

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My husband and I have been married for 14 years and we very rarely ever argue or fight. We do occasionally, but even when we do our arguments never last very long. In the beginning of our relationship we did argue more, but we have learned over the years how to argue, or some rules of engagement. These few simple things that we do have really helped us to argue much less and when we do argue it never lasts long.

Obviously the first rule is never physically fight. This has always gone without saying with us, but should be mentioned because I am sure it is a problem in many relationships. There is absolutely no hitting, slapping, kicking, spitting, or throwing objects.

Secondly, never call the other person a name. When you name call, this does absolutely nothing to further your cause and rather has a detrimental effect on the argument as well as your relationship. We don’t even say that something someone did was stupid or anything like that, because that also does not go anywhere. When you state why you are upset about something, say something instead like I don’t like that you did _____ because _____. State that you don’t think that was a good decision or a good choice or that makes you feel _____. Stay away from the word “hate,” as that is a very harsh word.

Next, never say “always” and never say “never.” This is such a small thing, but it does make a really big difference. Don’t say things like, “You always _____.” Or “You never _____.” This inevitably brings on an argument from the other person that this is not true, so then you have an argument within an argument, which doesn’t help anything.

We realize that every single time we argue a big reason is because we are overtired. It is easy to feel overwhelmed between working, children, and other stresses. Many times we will recognize this immediately and agree that first we should get some sleep and then talk about it later. Wow, this really helps to curb our arguments. Often when we are rested we can discuss our issues calmly without our conversation escalating at all.

Be honest, but tactful. When you want to say something, give a thought as to how best to say it before it comes out of your mouth. You want to be honest about what is bothering you, but not say something that is inflammatory or hurtful or that you will regret later.

Don’t leave the room or the house. Stay with it. Nobody likes to argue, but just stick with it and get it out and talk about it. If it’s not a good time, try to table it for another time or place. Agree to take a break or something, but don’t just leave on the other person. That only aggravates and prolongs the situation.

Realize that other people do not make you happy and you are the only one who can make yourself happy. Your happiness is about your attitude and your reactions. You cannot change another person. You can only change yourself. You can express your desire for the other person to change in some way or be an example for the other person of what you want with the hopes that they will be motivated to change, but if they do not want to change you can’t make it happen. You need to look at yourself and see how you can change your actions, reactions, attitude, thoughts, and/or feelings so that you can adapt and find happiness. Look at the positive attributes of your partner. Find gratitude.

Realize that the grass is almost never greener. Another person is most likely to have the same or a whole new set of issues or hang ups that you will have to deal with in one way or another. Stay with your relationship if at all possible unless there is violence within it and work it out between the two or you and within yourself.

Listen, don’t just talk, and say, “I’m sorry.” Arguments happen because there are two sides to every story, so listen to the other person’s side too. Get across your points, but be sure to listen to theirs as well. In doing this, usually you will find something you can do differently and/or apologize to the other person for and then this makes it easier for them to make changes and make their apologies as well.

Let it go. After you have your argument, let it go. Don’t keep bringing things up unless it continues to be a problem and you need another discussion. Don’t hold a grudge. Let is flow off your back. Chalk it up to a learning experience. Water under the bridge…

Explain to your children that arguing is a normal part of relationships and that nobody is going to get hurt and nobody is going to leave. Explain that you still love each other and you still love them. Try not to argue in front of your children or within earshot.

These are just some hints and tips for arguing that we have consciously and subconsciously worked into our routine that have been helpful to us. I hope they are helpful to you too. The main key is to be respectful to the other person.

Christine

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Family

Practical tips for everything family.

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