Dealing with arguments and disagreements in relationship
When people come to me for couples and marriage counseling they are most
often engaged in verbal conflicts and disagreements. Usually they have a
difference of opinion on how each other should act in a specific situation.
They are engaged in blame and each person usually believes that they are right.
These arguments often serve as a defense for not experiencing and feeling
what is really going on. Underneath the constant arguing and effort to
convince the other that we are correct, we just want to be heard and have our
experience validated. Just as children do not need all of their desires met,
but need to be able to express freely the feelings that arise when they are not
met, in a relationship we do not need to always get our way, we just simply
need to be able to express ourselves in a safe environment where we feel
heard and listened to. That is all anybody really wants. To be accepted as they
are and to be able to show their expression of life to the world.
The first step is to get underneath the perceived conflict and begin to
experience. Once we become aware of why we are upset we can begin to open
to the feeling and begin to communicate it to our partner. When working with
couples I encourage them to express their feelings to their partner and I ask
their partner to just listen and allow him or herself to accept the experience
that the other is having. The important aspect is to allow each other to feel
freely and to validate each other’s experience, meaning, I feel sad and you
may not understand that but what I need from you is to listen and
understand that I do in fact feel sad. When we give our partner the right to
experience everything they are feeling, along with listening as they are
expressing this feeling, and making the effort to let them know that we
understand their experience, in turn they begin to do the same for us. Once
we accept each other’s experiences without any conflict in our own heart, the
conflicts and disagreements begin to melt away.