Is quarreling in your relationship inevitable? Marriage blogger and best-selling author Fawn Weaver says it doesn't have to be. In her new book, The Argument-Free Marriage: 28 Days to Creating the Marriage You've Always Wanted With the Spouse You Already Have (Thomas Nelson), Weaver offers a 28-day road map to marital bliss. We asked newly engaged couple Felecia Luevano and Randon Williams to give some of Fawn’s methods a try to help them better prepare for a strong marriage. Here’s what happened.
FELICIA LUEVANO AND RANDON WILLIAMS
AGES: 29 and 30
LOCATION: Greensboro, NC
OCCUPATIONS: Clinical Therapist and Project Manager
TOGETHER: 6 years
ENGAGED: 10 months
What they argue about most: "Wedding planning!" says the bride-to-be. "We argue about a date because we can't agree on the ceremony: I would like an intimate beach wedding; he wants a large traditional church wedding in his hometown. He is very vocal about his wants. I'm the bride, and he should be more open to mine."
Their goal: To gain more trust and respect for each other's opinions.
Their strengths: "We are very goal-oriented together," says Randon.
• Uncover your true feelings. The next time you disagree, identify the emotion that set you off (abandonment, for example), not the event or fuss that resulted (your staying out later at night, for example). Remain vulnerable with your partner and explain how you feel.
• Throw out your plan B! No matter what, know and believe that divorce and infidelity are not options for you. Private bank accounts, what-if thoughts and plans to support yourself in case of divorce must go. Focus solely on your plan A: together, always.
THE HARD PART:
"Allowing myself to be vulnerable during an argument is something that will take work," says Randon. "I think I associate vulnerability with weakness, but it's essential to a successful marriage and something I am willing to work on."
She says: "I had an "aha!" moment. As an educated woman, I've always had a plan A, B and C. This allowed me to focus on plan A with Randon and to solely commit to the love of my life."
He says: "Our discussions are less intense now, and I can tell Felicia is working to understand my point of view."
WEAVER'S NOTES: Being vulnerable with your spouse requires complete trust. You have to believe he or she has your best interest at heart at all times.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of ESSENCE magazine.