You’ve heard the expression “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” and some days, it’s easy to feel this way…especially when it seems like you and your significant other can’t agree on anything.
Take this video, for example…
The man in this video wants to help his partner by providing a quick (and in this case, obvious) solution. The woman simply wants him to listen to her challenges and empathize. No one is right or wrong here—they just need to understand how to better react to each other’s needs.
Remember, we’re all human and everyone craves both empathy and solutions to their problems. The key is how to compliment these emotional needs in a relationship.
Enter my simple mantra: Respond, don’t react. Of course, this is easier said than done. But let me break it down for you.
1. Own your sh*t (and understand that your sh*t impacts your partner.)
Don’t beat yourself up over having feelings. Remove the judgment and honor where you are: stuck and frustrated. By doing this, you’re tuning in to what’s really going on with you first. It’s also important to recognize that your words and actions have a SIGNIFICANT impact on your spouse. Just think back to a careless comment that someone close to you made in the past. I still remember a teacher telling me that I would never be cut out for the honors program because I just “wasn’t smart enough.” Had she only recognized the impact this had on my confidence, she may have thought twice about how she approached the topic.
2. Take a chill pill.
Slow down and be present before addressing your partner. Sometimes it helps to stop and breathe. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to tap into mindfulness:
- “What story am I crafting in my head?”
- “What am I really reacting to?”
- “Is this even true?”
When you take a moment to pause and look at your emotions from all angles, you may find out what’s causing the argument in the first place.
3. Be real.
If you know me at all, you know this is one of the number one things I preach. Why? Because real connection stems from authenticity. I’m not suggesting you scream until you’re blue in the face (I’ve done this and it doesn’t work), but I am suggesting you use “I” words to speak your truth to your partner. (I feel unappreciated, I feel lonely, I feel unsafe, etc.)
4. See both sides.
Try to approach the conversation with zero expectation. The truth is, one of the beautiful things about a relationship is that you each see things differently. Life would be boring if we all shared the same perspective. Make it your goal to approach the discussion as two separate and equal people who are speaking, sharing and working to understand two different perspectives.
The next time you feel like you’re about to blow, look at what you’re arguing about. Are you meeting your partner’s needs or did the argument continue without a resolution?
Need help from a professional? I can show you how to start improving communication with your significant other so both of your needs are met. Contact me today to schedule a low-key, no-pressure, no-commitment phone call to see if we are a good fit.