A relationship can get messy fast when love becomes war. Even though most of us aspire to live in harmony, the wrong comment from the one we love can cause WW3.
The minute we get triggered by our love, we stop thinking straight. Soon we are fighting about something that happened three years ago. How can we express what we need, and not end up going to bed mad?
Esther Perel, relationship psychologist, believes fighting is healthy and necessary. She believes a relationship goes through three cycles: Harmony, disharmony, and repair. Before you pick a fight over the towel on the floor, let’s get a little deeper into this thing we call fighting.
Perel cites that there are THREE categories of underlying reasons for an argument.
Power and Control
Closeness and Care
Respect and Recognition
It is so easy to blame our partner for basically existing.
Esther says that behind every criticism is a wish.
Picture this: instead of getting mad at your partner for leaving a mess, you took some time to understood that this makes you feel disrespected. You work hard to keep things clean.
It is very unlikely your partner means to disrespect you. If that IS the case, you might want to explore why you end up with disrespectful people. What would happen if you gave your partner the benefit of the doubt…?
(Instead of attacking, blaming, defending, or anger that is fuelled by hurt.)
What if you acknowledge (and communicate) what you want? How does this look and feel?
“Honey, can you help me with the laundry? It makes a big difference if everything is in the hamper. Do you mind putting your dirty clothes in the hamper? I really appreciate it.”
Behind criticism is a longing or wish for something. Why not ask for what you desire instead of being critical? Don’t forget to acknowledge regularly when you partner cooperates.
Would you listen if your parter approached you like this? “You always leave your socks on the ground! I have told you a million times to clean it up. You have no regard for anyone but yourself!”
When in conflict, we listen to ten seconds of what someone else says, and then we are thinking about what we want to say.
Which response would you listen to?
It is a challenge in itself to sit beside someone and think, “How could they not understand my experience?! I feel neglected, and they think they are being present and attentive!”
Unfortunately it happens quite a bit. But nothing good comes from dismissing another persons experience or feelings. And chances are you have seen how that goes in one relationship or another. Read more on expressing hurt feelings here.
The best option is, well… I should let Esther Perel tell you. Trust me, it is worth the 25 minutes of your life. Link here: Esther Perel -Explains How Couples Fight.