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I’ve worked with lots of couples that are fighting for control. It doesn’t matter what they’re talking about. They’re just trying to win.
The unfortunate reality is though as the saying goes: you may win the battle but not the war. Relationships don’t thrive when each person is trying to win. How can you really try to understand the other person’s perspective if you’re just interested in coming out ahead?
Arguments are about two people’s perspectives, not one person being right and one person being wrong. Often we try to get to resolve the issue quickly because most people don’t like arguing. But unless you understand clearly what each of you is thinking and feeling, how can you fix it?
I remember being in a relationship with someone who drank pop every day, and ate lots of sweets and junk food. We would lock horns because health was so important to me and his habits were the antithesis of health to me! It was a huge deal.
Accepting influence means being able to hear what’s a big deal to your partner and giving a little. When something isn’t important to you but is to your partner, it’s time to compromise and do things his or her way, or at least give more. It’s not giving in, it’s giving to your relationship.
Ninety percent of being able to resolve a disagreement is first understanding what it is that you’re arguing about. Once you take the time to really listen with curiosity, it’s often easier to get to the solution stage.
My ex may have understood. And he may have thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill and there were bigger things to argue about. That’s okay. But that also was an excellent opportunity to say to himself, “Ok. It’s not a big deal to me but it is to her so I’m going to do things her way.”
That’s really important! When you can recognize something is really a big deal to the other person, even if you don’t understand why, then being willing to bend and accept influence can go a long way to making things better.
What do you think?