Listen to understand, not to dispute-
We’ve all been there, caught in the moment where we feel we must defend our point of view, stand up for what is “right” in our own eyes, or defend our opinions. We become so protective of our stance that we neglect to hear our partner’s thoughts on the circumstances. The conversation becomes one sided because you only hear your side.
If you find that you are not hearing what your partner has to say take a 30 minute time out to come down and regroup before you reconvene. When you do come together make it your sole mission to hear and understand where you spouse is coming from- this does mean you have to agree only understand their stance.
Repeat back to them what you think they said to see if you understand them correctly. Then take some time to think about what they said before you mover forward on the big decisions.
Hurt People Hurt-
If more people understood this concept and had true empathy for it, divorce might become a thing of the past. Whenever you have lashed out at another, is it because you were happy with that individual and had no better way of expressing your joy than with a harsh tongue-lashing? Chances are no.
People hurt others because they are hurt or angry. Since anger is a secondary emotion that always has another feeling underlying it (i.e. hurt or fear), it is safe to say that when someone hurts you intentionally you have done something to hurt them.
If you want to stop fighting, find out how you are hurting them and when they tell you, “Listen to understand”
Live in the moment-
I think this is often misunderstood by adrenaline junkies and spendthrifts. Living in the moment is not necessarily about satisfying your every earthly whim but rather about one drawing attention to what is happening at this very point in time.
Nothing is ever wrong at this very sliver thin moment in time…ever. It’s our fear of the future or our negative interpretations of the past that cause us discomfort.
At any moment of the day I encourage you to ask yourself “What is going wrong at this very moment in time?” Nothing ever goes wrong in the moment.
Don’t take things at face value-
Quite often I joke that people don’t get divorced over the sock on the floor but what the socks mean. Heart wrenching fights begin over innocent enough things like socks on the floor. Your partner is rarely, if ever, angry for the reasons they purport to be.
To one person they are just socks on the floor but to the other person the socks send a much stronger message. Discovering the meaning behind this sock disturbance or others like it can open up communication and help build understanding.
Treat your spouse like you best client-
Do you forget to call to your wife/husband when you are running late? Have you blown off time you had set aside for your spouse to spend with your friends? Is your partner’s desire for sex overlooked because you are tired? Do you take them for granted or think nothing of holding back harsh comments?
We do things to our partners that we would never imagine doing to people that mattered to us (like great clients) but yet we expect a great deal from them in return for our crappy treatment.
You getting turned on is NOT your partner’s responsibility-
If I had a quarter for every time I heard someone say, “My wife doesn’t turn me on anymore” or “I’d have sex with my husband if he made me feel sexier”. To these complaints I retort, “It’s not their responsibility to turn you on. No one but you can turn you on”.
We often think in the beginning of our relationships that it is our new love interest that is turning us on, but this is where we are fooled. When we begin to court someone we love, we put great effort into how we look, smell, talk, even what we do with that person.
We wear new sexy underwear, shave our legs regularly, avoid sweat pants and do activities that excite and pleasure us. We choose to look at the positives in our new mate and airbrush the annoyances.
We all do things that either turn us on or turn us off. Unfortunately, after we have been dating/married for a while we stop doing things that turn us on and actively choose things that turn us off.