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Fight to Fight Right

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Tips on how to “fight” well in your marriage

Okay so this is a BIG topic and trust me when I say that I have not perfected the art of productive conflict resolution by any means! Just ask my hubby…

But it’s something I am always working on, and striving towards. After all I want a healthy, thriving and happy marriage. As I am sure you do too!

Here are a few myths we must first face before we can kick butt at resolution conflict.

MYTH ONE: There is this common misconception that when you get married all the problems you have as a couple will suddenly disappear and you will never disagree because the spell of saying “I do” has turned you both into doting, doe-eyed lovebirds living in your perfect little love bubble. WRONG! Sorry to burst anyones bubble, but marriage doesn’t change the fact you are still two individual people with individual thought processes, opinions, views and expectations… Am I right?

MYTH TWO: Conflict is BAD! Conflict isn’t bad you guys. It’s an inevitable part of being human and doing relationships with other imperfect humans. In fact, I would say conflict is an opportunity to open your capacity and self awareness, and evolve into the kind of person that is able to face situations and relationships that you otherwise may not have been able to in the past.

MYTH THREE: Fighting/disagreeing with each other means you are failing in your marriage. WRONG again! We fear conflict mostly because it’s uncomfortable, and yes painful at times. It’s a space of allowing yourself to feel some deeply confronting emotions and depending on how you were raised, conflict literally makes you want to run a thousand miles in the opposite direction. Or perhaps the moment you sniff a conflict you whip out your num chucks and are ready to smack down. These responses, as I’m sure you are familiar with, are called 'fight or flight’ responses.

The key here is shaking off some of those myths, unlearning some unhelpful behaviours and mindsets, and being willing to learn new ways of thinking, feeling and communicating. So let’s get to the good stuff!

I think its import to acknowledge that conflict is scary and if your perception of conflict is marred by painful memories from childhood or previous unhealthy relationships, then like myself, you may feel threatened, powerless and even traumatised. If this is you, be kind to yourself and know that this is a process not a final destination…

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Where do we start?

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE your need to grow, change and improve the way you see and feel about conflict. It’s all about admitting you may not have it right, and perhaps not all failed relationships were the ‘other’ persons fault. Realising that conflict takes two people, BUT only needs one to repair a damaged situation. Having a willing and teachable heart is ABSOLUTELY imperative. It’s not something that can be perfected overnight but thats not the point. Remember it’s a journey you’re on together.

  2. OWN YOUR SHIT - in the wise words of Kendrick Lamar, “be humble, sit down.” This was a game changer for me guys! The revelation of taking responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings and actions, instead of projecting the blame onto my spouse and learning to manage my own feelings and behaviours while allowing my spouse the freedom to do the same. The reality is we gotta let go of feeling the need to control how our spouse reacts. In truth, we only really have control of our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours, which kinda sucks when it feels so good to be self-righteous and right all the time! In other words, STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM, and own your shiz!

  3. KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS - A lot of becoming good at conflict resolution actually means focusing on YOU. It also requires becoming like Ghandi at identifying emotions that make you feel unsafe, or threatened. Being able to regulate your emotions and find ways of managing your stress levels during a conflict is super important! There is no way you will be able to cope with conflict if you’re feeling unsafe.

    WARNING: If your spouse is physically, emotionally or sexually abusive then the problem is much greater. Safety first! Remove yourself from that environment and please seek help and CALL 1800RESPECT https://www.1800respect.org.au

  4. LISTEN - It’s pretty basic, but listening and genuinely paying attention to the feelings being expressed by your spouse without immediately becoming defensive and aggressive will make a huge difference. A lot of the time our spouse just wants to feel heard and respected even if you don’t necessarily agree with their point of view. Your desire to love and respect your spouse has to trump your ego and need to be right or ‘win’ an argument.

Overall the ability to successfully resolving conflict depends on YOUR ability to to manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm, controlling your emotions and behaviour, paying attention to the feelings being expressed by your significant other, and lastly being aware and respectful of your differences. 

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To finish up here are some examples of healthy vs. unhealthy ways of managing and resolving conflict.

UNHEALTHY RESPONSES:

  1. An inability to recognise and respond to the things that matter to the other person.

  2. Explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful reactions.

  3. The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming, and fear of abandonment

  4. An inability to compromise or see the other person’s side.

  5. Feeling fearful or avoiding conflict; expecting a bad outcome

HEALTHY RESPONSES:

  1. The capacity to empathize with the other person’s viewpoint

  2. Calm, non-defensive, and respectful reactions

  3. A readiness to forgive and forget, and to move past the conflict without holding resentments or anger.

  4. The ability to seek compromise and avoid punishing.

  5. A belief that facing conflict head on is the best thing for both sides.

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Humans are Messy

Okay, its a little harsh but mostly true. Living a thriving life of intimacy, joy and fulfilling marriage involves also having to face the hard stuff. Conflict is a part of that. Not gonna lie, it sucks, and its painful at times, but mostly it means we really have to examine our own hearts and be willing to get rid of the gunk that makes us unable to love, understand and show others compassion. Don’t stress, I’m preaching to myself here as well! It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’ve found the most powerful and healing moments that have strengthened my marriage is when I didn’t let my feelings govern how I viewed my husband. Being able to see who your spouse as who they were made to be, beyond your own perception of them, means you will learn to forgive and apologise so much easier.

I am confident that if you’re able to ‘fight right’ your marriage will kick butt! I really hope that this info was helpful to you and if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask!

REFERENCE:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/conflict-resolution-skills.htm





The Pitman Family

You could not get a classier family! It's no hiding that Ebony is a fashion forward gal, especially for down here in little ol' Albany, Western Australia. The average Joe certainly wouldn't turn up in a gorgeous white two piece, rockin tutu vibes and bold fur. But to add to that, the whole fam was glammin! It made for such a fun and creative shoot. 

I'll be honest with you, the day of their session I was sick as a dog! I had been bed ridden for over a week with the flu, but when Ebony contacted me to do photos I couldn't resist! I was going insane at home, and was desperate for some fresh air and the chance to snap some pics. 

It also didn't help that it had been pouring down with rain for most the weekend so we really had no idea what we were in for that afternoon. It turned out to be one of the most epic stormy shoots I've done! Between the dark clouds, and pockets of gorgeous dusk light it was phenomenal! Honestly, I have to wonder if God himself stopped time just for us, while we took in all His glorious beauty, because the moment we finished up and jumped into our cars it started to pour down with rain.

The Pitman's were great sports considering it was freezing cold and windy, and the fact I was a coughing, snuffling mess. It was for sure one of my favourite shoots yet. I love that there is a level of mystery and risk when it comes to photography. You often never know what you're walking into and must be trusting enough to let your surroundings guide you, making the most of those unexpected turns - a burst of sunlight cascading through the clouds, the way shadows hide and reveal those hidden moments. Everywhere I look is a story being told, and I am so stoked that I get to be a part of it! 

Keep it Cool Keep it Retro

This. Was. SOOO much flippin fun!!!

Okay, I got that out of my system... But for reals though, it was such a fab time because it involved connecting with some of the best in the industry in our local town, Albany WA. And far out, there are some incredibly talented creatives in our town! 

In typical Chloe fashion I called upon some crew last minute to see if they would be keen on doing a #Retro70's inspired shoot, and so within a week we knocked up this rad AF collaboration. 

THE TEAM

Wardrobe Provided by: Bell & Luca
Hair: Holly Watterson Hair Artistry
MUA: ADH Makeup
Models: Abbey Hayes & Ebony Pitman

It was the perfect mix of 70's retro with a modern interpretation. Bright, bold and vivid colours, some mini skirt action and of course some fur and oversized bomber jackets to top it off. Our models, Abbey and Ebony rocked each outfit with just the right amount off sass and sultry. Can I also just say, that both the gals are not paid professionals but they damn well should be! Oh and Ebs is a mumma of three kids! Talk about yummy mummy! 

Abbey is double the trouble! Both killing it as a model but also as our MUA. She is only 17!!! Gosh, at 17 I barely knew how to tie my own shoe laces and use an ATM card, but this chick is running her own business and showing off some serious skill in the make up and beauty arena. Abbey is an example of the powerhouse millennial generation who are at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

And last but of course not least, Holly whipped up two very different but fab hair styles that complimented both the individual girls as well as the overall look of the shoot. Holly has just opened up her new studio in town so if you're a local or just visiting and need your hurr did, go say hi to Holly. She is an absolute sweetheart, and a brilliant hair stylist! 

As far as the photography side of things go - It was pretty experimental. The locations I thought would look the best turned out not to be as awesome. Which I guess that is pretty common when you're scouting locations. If you're like me some locations look awesome but then you place your models into the picture and all of a sudden ur like, oh crap, the lighting doesn't hit their faces just right or it just doesn't feel right. And the opposite is true with places you think won't look right, they end up working like a treat. 

I particularly love the shots against the backdrop of the green ivy wall, and along the waterside. The contrast of colours are fun, sexy and entrancing. I feel like my eyes always pull me back to those images in particular. I also REALLY love the ones of Abbey in the cactus room (Instagram room at Bell & Luca) and the individual ones of Ebony sitting on the bench outside of Liberte Hotel. I think these capture their individual styles so perfectly!

I am loving this journey I am on when it comes to discovering different techniques and canvases. I love the process of growing and expanding my own skill set while seeing my ideas and visions come to life. It's such a satisfying feeling! 

- Chloe x

Sigourney & Jessica

This right here is my bread and butter! I love everything about the relaxed nature of a solo shoot. It gives me the opportunity to really let go and explore all my creative energy without the added pressure of other peoples expectations. Don't get me wrong! I love shooting portraits for clients, but the freedom that comes with a collaboration is liberating. 

Both these shoots were done on different days. 

SIGOURNEY: We shot in the am at her little granny flat apartment. We popped on some Kendrick Lamar, hung out in our comfiest clothes and had some serious D&M's. I loved the challenge of working with inside lighting, moving around the room chasing shadows and discovering areas of light that created all kinds of textures, shapes and colours. I shot this on my Canon 700D DSLR on a 35mm sigma art lens, and a 50mm canon lens. I loved that even though the camera body isn't a high range camera, it still produced amazing images. 

I experimented more with a film style vibe, with desaturated colours and tones. I've thrown in some images that are the same but edited with different presets just to show you how the tone changes. Honestly soooo much fun! And it helps that Sigourney is stunning inside and out! FYI Sig did her own make up and hair, minimal and gorgeous!

JESSICA: Pretty much my adopted sister. Or should I say I 'am her adopted sister! I've know Jess for a long time, and would consider her family. There is something so unique and captivating about her, and the way she carries herself emanates grace and class. 

This shoot was totally spontaneous. I heard she was in Albany visiting from Sydney so I couldn't help but snatch her away for an hour so, so we could catch up on life and make some magic! We shot in a few different locations around town. My favourite by far being the Old Auction Room. So moody and eccentric. It was an overcast, slightly windy arvo, perfect for the kind of style we were going for. My fav moment of the shoot was attempting to get a shot on the road, darting between traffic, praying we wouldn't get hit. lol The things you do for art hey?!

I shot Jess on a Canon 5D Mark 111, with my 35mm sigma art lens. Such a fab lens for those wide angle moody portraits. 

Gosh it was such a wonderful time. Cant wait to do it again. Watch this space for more collabs! 

Much love

- Chloe 

Zoe & Co.

It's not often I do early morning shoots, but when I do I really look forward to it! The crisp morning air, the way the fog covers the ground and the light rises from below, gently making its way into the sky. It creates such a peaceful and refreshing atmosphere. The light is different from a sunset, it's not as warm and yellow, rather it has a softness to it that adds a different tone to the images. 

We began shooting on Zoe and Brad's families farm, which was such a great location, with plenty of different spots to utilise and experiment with. From the old farm house with it's wrap-around porch, to the ivy filled archways, and palm trees. Oh and don't forget Digger the horse of course! 

We then made our way to Zoe and Brad's new block of land on which they will build their first home together. It was such a special occasion and a beautiful idea to capture their family on what will be where they build and make many beautiful memories together. I absolutely love big trees and open spaces. It enables me to be able to tell a story that is grand and wonderful, showing the vast beauty of nature and the role as humans we get to play in it. 

The wide landscape shots communicate a bigger picture. It reveals the epic adventure we have the privalidge of participating in, even if we think our lives seem average or mundane. As a good friend of mine described it as; 

" you take pictures with a sort of epicness about them. I don't really know how to describe it - like your subjects are in a large ballroom. It's quite captivating." 

So true! There is nothing more captivating than the feeling and experience of awe and wonder!

It was such a pleasure getting to know Zoe, Brand and her two beautiful girls. As always connecting with those I take photos of is so important and hearing their stories, being able to bring their worlds alive through photography is an honour and blessing.