Do you ever wonder why your relationship has to be so hard? Do you find yourself in small rifts with your partner daily or big, blowout fights? You're not alone. A common difficulty in relationships is often recurring arguments.
Many of these disagreements can come from our many differences as individuals. Every person is unique. Everyone lives in their own private universe. Each has different thoughts, feelings, behaviors, desires, beliefs, experiences, and perceptions. Our defeats and accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, interests and passions, personalities and temperaments all vary. So why are we surprised or dismayed when there is conflict?
Relationship Conflict—and a New Perspective
Relationships can be very messy. No doubt about it. And what can greatly diminish the quality of a partnership or marriage are power struggles and subtle putdowns that come from differences. Don't roll around in the mud, discover how to handle differences supportively and conflicts swiftly!
Conflict is a natural part of life; what is unnatural is our response to conflict.
Many times our response to conflict is to try to change our partner to fit our own viewpoints and set of values. We love being right, don't we? Is it possible that it is this pressure (and not our differences) that creates the conflict?
Perhaps if we tried to explore, understand, and honor our partner's differences as bullheadedly as we try to prove ourselves right or alter their behavior and habits, there would be very little conflict.
Let's face it, it's impossible to change anyone but ourselves. One of our most important jobs in any relationship is to build a bridge between two very different universes so that love can flow and expand every day.
Every moment is a choice to love.
Yes, love is a choice. Love is an action. What would happen if we sought to support our partner and encourage them to grow and reach their full potential as much as we obsessed and complained about their faults? A major key in relationships is to focus on the positive and highlight all the good and kind things they do instead of nagging—subtly or overtly—about their idiosyncrasies that annoy us.
Love the One You're With
There's a song by songwriter, Stephen Stills, to "love the one you're with" and a second similar lyrics by Shania Twain to "dance with the one that brought you."
The message in both songs is clear. Love the one you're with in the moment whether you're committed or just dancing. And when you doubt the relationship because it's getting hard, roll up your sleeves, and answer the questions below. Asking yourself these (or similar questions) will help you remember what is truly important to you. By taking a minute to reassess and shift your emotions, you will understand your partner better and gain more appreciation for their differences.
Explore Your Feelings to See What's True
- When you hear yourself saying, "Why can't she/he ...," stop and ask yourself what it is you want. Chances are that what you want (maybe a tidier or more motivated partner or a bigger bank account) is not nearly as important as the relationship you cherish. Put things in perspective.
- When you begin to argue, ask yourself, "Do I want to be right or do I want to be close?" You can't have both.
- When you get frustrated because your partner doesn't do what was expected, ask yourself, "Did we really have an agreement, or did I pressure them to go along?" or "Are my expectations setting me up to be disappointed?" Expectations are often hidden until we're let down. Get them out in the open and see if your partner is on board. Have an open dialogue and gain greater understanding of what is important to both of you.
- When you feel misunderstood and start doubting how much your partner really cares about you, ask yourself, "How true is this? Are there other ways he or she shows me they care?" Find these caring ways and keep them securely in the foreground of your mind. (And no one "always" or "never" does anything!)
- When you're angry because your partner seems more plugged into Facebook, the TV or their iPad than being with you, ask yourself, "Have I been ignoring him or her lately?" If so, decide that's it time to carve out some special time together. Plan it and invest in each other.
Love doesn't just happen. It needs to be nurtured daily. So next time your relationship seems harder than it's worth, dig deep, then identify and recall what's really important to you.
Seek to understand rather than change the person you love.
Resolve conflicts until there's understanding, (especially reoccurring ones), honor your partner's differences, and find how the gifts of their unique qualities strengthen your relationship. Lastly, explore what their traits can teach you.
Then relationships blossom, and every conflict becomes just one more opportunity for understanding and closeness.
Every moment is a choice to love.
And if you'd like personalized support, reach out to Heartmanity today. Transforming relationships is our business!