Tired of Fighting?
Renowned, marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman discovered that 69% of couple’s problems are recurring. This means the majority of the problems are recurring.
Ever had the experience of arguing over an issue over and over again?
I know all couples have. I’ve worked too many couples to kid myself.
It gets exhausting to fight about the same problems over and over again. I’ve heard so many couples say, “I thought we solved this issue, then it pops up again. I’m exhausted by this.”
In my relationship a perpetual problem we have is my cleanliness. My partner’s expectation of a clean house exceeds mine. Another one is her tardiness, she shows up late a lot. Four and a half years together and I can pretty much expect her to be tardy. Can you relate, are there are some problems that despite years together the problems continues?
Why is it some problems don’t have solutions?
Problems Recur Because We Are Different
I know the above statement is simple. Yet, it’s profound. Many of us want our partner to be like us. At the very least we want them to understand us.
Understanding only comes when you are willing to give it. Next time you find yourself in one of those perpetual problems, slow down, and try giving understanding.
I know it can be hard, so keep reading and I’ll give you some insight on the subject.
What can we do to transform problems into opportunities for intimacy, connection, and deeper love?
How do we work with perpetual problems?
We do it by giving understanding to our partner. Notice, I only said, “Give understanding.” This means we just give understanding, nothing else. Funny enough, giving our partner time to share and be understood is like magic. When our partner feels heard, they often loose interest in fighting.
Luis, How Can I Give Understanding?
We do it by asking questions.
Remember when you first met your partner? You were both enfauted and spent hours inquiring into each other’s lives.
How did that make you feel?
I am sure it made you feel special. When we have problems we forget to ask questions. We become self-centered. There’s nothing more sexy than asking questions and forgetting about yourself for a moment.
After working with nearly 300 couples I know questions make or break love. The healthiest and most successful couples I’ve worked with all say: “There’s always more to learn about my partner.” Happy couples never stop being interested in each other.
Case Study Into How Questions Work Magic
I recall one couple who had continually argued about who sent the rent check. Silly to some of us. Serious to them. At the end of our session wife and husband used the art of inquiry.
Husband learned that his wife had felt so stressed by being a stay at home mom. He gained insight and saw she felt overwhelmed by doing care taking for two kids. The understanding allowed him to see that his absence really wore on her. Similarly, his wife had some ‘a-ha!’ moments. She didn’t realized that he felt exhausted by his job. He wanted to quit. He felt guilty that he wasn’t home, and wanted to be.
Their insights had been there the whole time. Our session just allowed true listening to occur.
The following month they came into my office, and I asked them about the rent check issue. They said that it came up again: but this time both husband and wife were invested in understanding. They both apologized for not sending it out and gave each other understanding. The wife understood her husband had been short on sleep that week. He understood that being a stay at home mom to two daughters spreads her thin. They thought of the other.
It wasn’t until they were able to inquire into the other’s world that they were able to truly listen and understand each other. This problem was a beautiful gift and opportunity for them to deepen their ten years of marriage.
The dedication this couple has is inspiring. Often times the problems we have will never end. Your partner has quarks he/she won’t ever change. Transformation is in compassion. In hard times we give understanding through asking questions.
Some Ways to Implement Today’s Post
- Next time a problem comes up, give this a shot. Ask him/her what they feel so passionate about this topic.
- Tell your partner you really want to understand
- Listen for key points. Then ask about what they said to gain clearer understanding.
Trying to solve problems, instead of understanding keeps problems. When there’s understanding, there’s usually an answer, and if not there’s compassion–which is love.
When we say, “I feel disconnected.” The prefix ‘dis’ means to turn away from. So, when we say, “I feel disconnected from my partner” what we are saying is, “I feel my partner is turned away from me.” When we are turned away, we are not listening, and we are not interested.
Your Turn, leave a comment.
How can you apply this couple’s breakthrough to your relationship? Is there a problem you have yet to apply true understanding?