I was talking with my cousin’s husband the other day and I felt myself wanting to stress a point from my experience. It was a memory from my history that was really important to me, yet he was talking about something that was equally important to him; it was not in agreement with, and different from my story.
It felt like we were getting ready to disagree about parts of the story when I realized how important we as humans feel about our particular memories. It’s as if the way we think about things is so vital to our way of presenting ourselves in the world and to each other. This moment gave me some insight as to how we as partners in a relationship might want to argue to the death with our mate over memories that we perceive as not remembered correctly.
Experiences Are Personal Because They Make Us Who We Are
All of us are designed as formed people by the stories of our lives and how we communicate them to others. We individually document and store our narrative just the way we see it. The pieces are inside our minds, put in their memory files until we bring them up to describe and share with another. So as I was listening to my cousin’s husband stress this particular experience even though it was different than mine, I realized that he loves his memories and his stories just as much as I do.
And as I think back on all the times my husband and I would be driven to take each other’s memories apart, because of how we differed on remembering the event, I am left realizing that both of us have the same attachment to how we see and store that memory, and sometimes it’s wildly different, as if we are not even remembering the same thing.
How Arguments Stem from Discrepancies in Perceived Pasts
This thought gives me some allowances for our own individuality, as all of us have a unique way of storing our experiences our own events. I must remind myself to accept how others perceive and remember and call up particular moments in their lives. And the way I will remind myself of this is to remember just how important my stories are to me.
How many times have you argued with someone, sometimes to the death, about a particular issue? Think about the intensity of how hard you must press your memory over the other person’s. We do this because our minds tell us what is truth. We push the other person because our thoughts do not match theirs. Can we take a moment to think about how strongly both of us are feeling, how attached to our individual thoughts both of us might be, and how we love our stories and details equally?
Accept Your Partner’s Experiences; You Can Both Be Right
If we think about it this way we might come to the understanding that each of us is entitled to think and express and impress the other person with our own version of events in our lives. Your stories may be just as right as your partner’s. Not more so because they belong to you, but equally as important because they do belong to you!
Learn to share your beautiful stories with the one you love. Learn how to listen to their stories with the same amount of care as you find in defending your own. What a blessing you will be to them and that blessing may even come without an argument.
Value Each Other’s Experiences and Feel Happier
Read a Book About Listening and Communication Relationships
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn more about how to really listen to one another, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you and your partner improve communication in your relationship, help you show how much you value one another. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.