Couples looking for ways to improve their relationships often come to counseling. They often bring me their latest fight or argument as evidence of their difficulty. I listen to people’s stories of what followed arguments. I sense the hurt feelings and the sadness that accompanies these fights. Sometimes there are tears. Almost all the time there is anguish and disappointment.
It’s hard to think that these feelings would be appropriate considering the circumstances, but they are. It’s hard to talk about what doesn’t work. It’s hard to bring up the stuff that makes both people feel bad. But without a roadmap I can’t see what needs repair. I have to get a three dimensional view of a couple’s communication. Often, it’s not what is being said that reveals the truth.
It happens to all of us.
We hold on to our thoughts and don’t say them because we are afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings. We stuff them down inside and just stay silent.
We may grouse about them later with someone else, but most of the time we don’t ever say what we intended to the person who we wanted to say it to.
More than anything, most couples are looking for a happy relationship. People want to feel good about their life and their mate. Some couples live in relationships where they can wish they could be happy.
Are you waiting for something to happen or wondering when you will feel happy again? Maybe it’s time to examine what you may be carrying that could be preventing it. Is it possible you may be carrying around some resentment toward your mate?
Even when couples want to improve their relationship, if resentment has built up between them it will stand in the way. Both know it’s there, and no one knows what to do about it. So what can you do? One way is to seek counseling learn how to get rid of it.
Unfortunately the resentment can’t just be destroyed; it’s become a part of the person who is holding on to it. It’s with them when they wake in the morning and think of their mate. It’s there when they talk to their friends. It’s present in a conversation with their partner. It’s always there, like a thick fog that surrounds everything.
Oftentimes when there is a couple and there are disagreements it usually comes down to two people digging into their own positions. We are all individuals, and when we think or believe something and our partner is thinking or believing in something else, well then there is a standoff.
Two people who love each other but are unable to hear each other. This happens countless times to people in relationships. So, what do we have to do about it to make it better?
Sometimes in a relationship there are really two kinds of people. There is the one who has to talk about everything. And there is the other who can’t talk about anything.
It does not astound me that all couples look like this. Even though it would be great if we could just talk with our partner if we are the talkers, the non-talkers probably wish they could just remain silent too.
Oftentimes when people are in a relationship and we get our feelings hurt we want, and need our partner to hear us, understand us and empathize.
It’s only natural that we want to be soothed when we get upset. This is what happens when we hold a baby or a puppy, they need to be held when hurt and we oblige.
But sometimes in a relationship two people get hurt. First one has a wound and then tells the other person, but says things in a way that the other person now gets hurt. Two people are now hurt and both are in their pain.
Many of us lash out at our mates when we get upset. This is a habit or pattern we might have used since childhood. It might have worked then, but I have a feeling your partner is not very crazy about it and wishes it would stop.
I know, I lived this way for years. I would get upset and yell at the person who hurt me. I learned this as a little girl and continued to use it well into my forties.
All couples start out beautifully. Each person loves the other and there is a belief that the amazing union will last forever. But as we all know in a year or two things start to change.
It’s not that we stop loving our mate, it’s just that since our heart is so open, we get hurt when there is a misunderstanding. Sometimes these disagreements can separate us and keep us from connecting. This is pretty common too.
But when there is a mate who feels they have to leave the relationship in order to feel good about themselves well that is another situation entirely.
People in relationships often have differing points of view. This is understandable because in a relationship there are two very different people involved. But when each person stands his or her ground and won’t give an inch and they are both doing this, then it can become a fight. We might even call it a war.