Learning How To Handle Disagreements

Lynn and Tim Mira: It’s about love and respect. Coco Zickos photo

Sooner or later, couples disagree. A Kaua’i couple is presenting a series of videos that show partners how to fight in a productive way

Men may not actually be from Mars or women from Venus, but communication boundaries sometimes make it feel that way.

To help resolve relationship conflicts, husband-and-wife team Tim and Lynn Mira will present a free DVD series titled Love and Respect beginning Jan. 10. The videos will be screened from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday nights through Feb. 7 at Kaua’i Bible Church.

By providing this free service to the community four times a year, the Miras are helping others overcome communicative obstacles. They have even helped couples mend fractured relationships.

“This is a good New Year’s resolution,” says Lynn. “Especially because of the economy, people are really struggling, relationships are on edge because of how things are going.”

And there is no way around disagreements.

“We’re going to fight, we’re human,” says Lynn. “It’s inevitable.”

“And if you don’t know the technique of how to talk and most folks don’t we fall short in that arena. They start yelling,” adds Tim, a real estate agent with Oceanfront Realty on the South Shore. “You have to know how to fight.”

By watching the DVDs, couples of all ages and even singles are given tools to help identify problems. They learn how to speak to someone without escalating into what the videos call the “crazy cycle.”

The Miras are familiar with communication roadblocks.

Before she watched the video with a Bible-study group several years ago, whenever Lynn was upset, she would approach Tim in a manner that was not receptive to him.

“When I was mad at my husband, I’d have my hands on my hips and attack him and ask him what’s wrong,” she says. “And he didn’t understand, so he turned away.”

Feeling like she was not being taken seriously and that he was avoiding confrontation, she would follow him.

But what Lynn didn’t realize was that the action Tim demonstrated was normal for a man.

“We men think women are attacking us. By turning, it’s an honorable thing,” he explains. “I don’t want to have that conflict, so I’ll just turn and go into another room. What this program does is puts words to our feelings, and men, we’re not expressively responsive like women are. So finally, a program comes along that verbalizes what we’ve been feeling for a long time.”

Appreciating the differences between males and females in language and communication methods can lead to healthier and happier partnerships.

“I’ve had men come to me after and thank me with tears in their eyes because it has spoken their language,” says Lynn.

The Miras, parents of adult sons Cory and Kyle, say the series hit a personal a person chord with them, leaving them with the desire to share it.

“When we saw it, what struck in our hearts was that these are just church members getting to see this,” says Tim. “What about the general public who really needs to see this?”

So to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in July 2009, they decided to share the series with others.

Though only about 40 people showed up for the first screening, the largest gathering was in Po’ipu, with about 100 people. To date, more than 500 individuals have taken part in the relationship course hosted by the duo. And everyone of all religious or non-religious backgrounds is invited.

“What I say is you come check it out and if you like it, you stay, and if you don’t, you can leave,” says Lynn.

“It’s not a recruitment tool,” adds Tim. “You come, you take and you go.”

The videos also employ humor.

“You can see yourself in the video and laugh,” says Lynn.

And they are shown in an anonymous, non-threatening environment where no one is pressed to speak or share.

Visit loveandrespect.com, email loveandrespectkauai@yahoo.com or call 332-7406 for more information.