Just as communication is the most important element in a relationship, arguements are the most destructive 😦 Some couples fight all the time, and their love ends up dying. Then there is the pan-american smile couple that is always suppressing their feeling to avoid conflict. This couple ends up losing touch with their love as well. It’s important to find a balance between these two. It’s possible to avoid arguements without suppressing negative feelings. (I’d like to know!)
Most couples begin arguing about one thing, but end up arguing about the way they are arguing. Each person refuses to see the other’s point of view because of the way they are being approached.
It’s not what is said that hurts, but the way it is said.
It takes two to argue, but it only takes one to stop the arguement.
Nip the arguement in bud by recognizing when the arguement begins and taking a time out. Taking time to cool off heals our wounds and gives us time to center ourselves before we say things we don’t mean. Reflect on how you are approaching your partner and try to figure out what they need.
The Four F’s of Arguing: What we often do
|Origin||Thought Process||What you unknowingly do||Down the Road|
|Fight||Mars||Best defense is a strong offense||Try to intimidate into being loved||Weakens relationship; women close up and men stop caring|
|Flight||Mars||Avoid the argument||Punish by withholding love||Resentment builds; couple loses touch with why they’re together|
|Fake||Venus||Avoid getting hurt by pretending there isn’t a problem||Build resentment inside; self-sacrifice||Resentment blocks natural expression of love|
|Fold||Venus||I’ll take the blame so the relationship wins||You lose yourself||Depression; giving up what you are|
Why We Argue
All of the reasons for arguing or feeling unloved go back to what he had discussed earlier – the primary love needs of each spouse. We don’t feel loved when our primary love needs are not met, and it’s harder for us to work through a disagreement peacefully.
For example, a martian may be upset for the following hidden reason: “I don’t like it when she gets upset over the smallest things I do or don’t do. I feel criticized, rejected and unaccepted.” What he needs not to argue: He needs to feel accepted just the way he is. Instead he feels that she is trying to improve him.
A Venesian may be upset for this hidden reason: “I don’t like it when he minimizes the importance of my feelings or requests. I feel dismissed and unimportant.” What she needs not to argue: She needs to feel validated and cherished. Instead, she feels judged and ignored.
Though all of these negative feelings are valid, they are generally not dealt with and communicated directly. Instead, they build up inside and come bursting through in an arguement.
Men unknowingly start arguements by invalidating feelings and women unknowingly start arguements by not being direct about their feelings and sending messages of disapproval.
There are two magic words to derail an arguement: I’m sorry.
Saying you’re sorry doesn’t mean that you were wrong or that the arguement is your fault. Saying sorry softens your partner up and calms them down, making the atmosphere much better for everyone. No matter how mad the other person is, if you keep repeating “sorry”, your partner is bound to calm down eventually 🙂
Although goood communication is important in conflict resolution, your love, validation and approval are more important. You can say “I’m sorry” in a way that makes it sound like “I hate you.” Your partner knows when you mean it 🙂
An Arguement Dissected: When He Returns From the Cave
She says: “How do you expect me to react?” He hears: “There is no good reason for pulling away from me. You are cruel and unloving. You are the wrong man for me. You have hurt me so much more than I ever hurt you.”
What he explains: “I needed some time alone, it was only for two days. What is the big deal?” or “I didn’t do anything to you. Why does it upset you so?” She hears: “You shouldn’t feel hurt or abandoned, and if you do, I have no empathy for yo. You are too needy and controlling. I will do whatever I want; I don’t care about your feelings.”
How she can be less disapproving: If it upsets her, she could say, “I know you need to pull away at times, but it still hurts when you do. I’m not saying you are wrong, but it is important to me for you to understand what I go through.” How he can be more validating: He could say, “I understand it hurts when I pull away. It must be very painful for you. Let’s talk about it.” When she feels heard, it will be easier for her to accept when he does retreat into his cave.
Trying to apply these tactics mentioned in the book may seem fake and unnatural at first, but with time, they’ll come automatically (so says the book… 😀
I really recommend reading the book. The author’s personal stories and examples are really helpful alhamdulillah and very easy to relate to 🙂