One of The Most Important Elements in A Successful Relationship: Feeling Accepted. (Part II of II part series). This material is taken from my book “Relationship Rescue Manual”. To learn more about this book you can go to:
In yesterday’s blog, I talked about the importance of feeling accepted and action that can be taken to incorporate that information in your relationship. Today we will talk about actions to avoid and then the implication the need to be accepted has on couples’ fighting.
Action to Avoid: Stay away from saying things that your partner will hear as criticism.
The importance of looking for something positive about your partner is a simple guideline you can consistently follow in your journey towards rebuilding your relationship. This doesn’t mean you don’t get upset or disagree, but that you communicate these thoughts and feelings in a way that does not make your partner feel devalued.
Fights and feeling accepted
A particularly vulnerable time for relationships can be during disagreements and fights. These can occur because of different points of view, something that one person forgets to do, or actions that are annoying, offensive, or hurtful. While fighting is an important part of a relationship it is also dangerous because there is strong possibilities of saying hurtful things that can make your partner feel devalued. To avoid this, the conversation needs to focus on the specific issues at hand. It is especially helpful if you find something positive to say about your partner even though you are expressing disagreement. The following examples state the area of disagreement but also acknowledge your partner in some way: “I know you want our home to look nice but I’m concerned about the expense;” or “I know how important it is to you to have a nice car, but I’m upset that it will put us into debt.” People are different and their priorities vary. The goal here is to discuss the differences and be clear that while you do not agree with your partner’s priority, you respect it. You can disagree in an agreeable way. In fact, some good relationships are characterized by an on-going expression of differences. People in these relationships often say, “We fight all the time. We need to express ourselves and get our problems out in the open.”
The success of these couples though is most likely due to the way that their “fighting” is done.
To further explain how this can work I will take the story of Mark and Anna, who are separated. When Mark comes to visit, he sees Anna correcting the children and feels that she should leave them alone. The best way for Mark to handle this would be to say something such as, “It’s hard for me to see you speaking like that to Sally (their child), but I know you have your reasons. I may not agree, but I do understand that’s it important to you.” Yes, there can be trouble with this exchange, but it will at least limit the conflict more than if Mark said, “Why don’t you just leave Sally alone?” That statement does not allow for differences and does not acknowledge Anna’s perspective and causes even more distance between them.
There are such things as good fights and bad fights in later posts I will talk about the differences between styles of fights