By Katie & Gay Hendricks
Have you noticed that when you’re in conflict with your partner, you tend to go in circles and have the same arguments again and again?
For instance, take this couple who came to our office for counselling:
He wanted more physical intimacy – he complained that their intimate life had significantly diminished since they were first married. She complained that all he wanted was to get her in bed – she felt like an object, and that he no longer did all the little, romantic things he used to.
Together, they were caught in a turbulent cycle of finger-pointing and frustration. Each of them felt wronged, and both of them felt stuck. No matter how much they argued, the problem wasn’t going away. Just the opposite – by the time they came to us, there was seemingly no intimacy between them whatsoever.
The example above is just one of the many ways couples get into long-standing fights. It could be about anything: money, chores, parenting, in-laws, or how people squeeze a tube of toothpaste.
Either way, we’ve found that if you keep experiencing the same argument with your partner, you’re in a pattern that has nothing to do with them.
Instead, your partner and the situation are merely acting as triggers for an underlying – often longstanding – issue. And the argument will repeat until the issue is addressed.
Make sure to stop and take that in – because this insight has the power to completely transform your relationship with not just your partner, but anyone else you communicate with.
And it only takes one word to do it. And that word is…
It might seem inconsequential, and too simple a word to end long-standing issues.
But taking a moment to pause in the heat of an argument and shifting from blame to wonder is the catalyst for toppling a pattern. Here’s how to do it:
While it may seem like there’s always a “bad guy” in a fight, in a relationship you’re usually looking at a dynamic.
In the case of the husband and wife we mentioned above, he had to admit that he had indeed stopped making an effort to pay attention to his wife in the little ways he had done before, but she also realized that when he did try to please her, she would express disappointment rather than appreciation.
Here, you’re looking to uncover any unconscious patterns that may have led to the current situation. You’re trying to find anything that might feel familiar in your past.
With our distant couple, the husband sadly remembered that he had often felt unloved as a child, and so he unwittingly put a stopper on the amount of love he could now receive from his wife. As for her part, she harbored a fear of intimacy that actually erected a wall to keep her husband at a safe distance.
Often, fighting becomes a hard habit to break. We spin our wheels without actually reaching for a solution.
So, the “hmmm” here is to shift from blaming to creating – taking the energy wrapped up in ceaselessly finger-pointing… and using it to come up with possible ways to solve the problem.
Snapping out of long-standing patterns requires practice and dedication, but we’ve seen it happen time and again – in both our own relationship, and those of the many couples we’ve counselled.
It took us several years to figure out how to resolve our own issues, and so we developed tools and techniques to help you get there.
Our free Hearts in Harmony newsletter will teach you all you need to stop seeing your partner as an enemy, but as an ally. We’ll teach you a simple technique you can use anytime that will help you instantly shift from a negative state about your partner to one of positivity, connection, and flow. And you’ll learn the two keys to speaking so that your partner really hears you.
You’ll also learn:
These are the tools we wish we’d had when we first got together over 30 years ago – a systemized, effective way to increase the flow of positive energy in a relationship.
It all starts with “hmmm”… and it ends with “a-ha!”