Relationship Wisdom – Skillfully Disagreeing With Your Partner

March 27, 2012 at 2:36 am | Posted in communication, love/relationship/marriage | Leave a comment
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Let’s face it: disagreements are a natural component of every relationship. If you are one of those people saying: ‘I just don’t want to argue’ you have to get real. You can work on your style of how you handle disagreement or arguments but rarely (never) will you live in an intimate relationship without any of it.

How well are you at disagreeing with your partner?

Differences are the norm

You might have entered into your relationship looking for someone who is similar to you. Even though you might have a lot of overlap of values, beliefs and life views there are also the differences, which, if you were able to filter them out in the beginning they will become more obvious once the relationship has progressed past it’s initial honeymoon stage. Don’t fool yourself – they have been there all along, you just skillfully, with the help of your hormones, managed to avoid them.

How to deal with them?

There are naturally people who are more easy-going and accepting of differences. Some because they want to do everything possible to please their partner, others because they are not so tightly attached to their own opinions and find it easier to accept another point of view.

The closer however a value is to your core, the more you will be willing to defend it. Think about what is most important to you in life and now imagine someone close to you asking you to change this or saying that this is not right. This will stir up some kind of self-defense in most people.

So wherever you are on the scale, there will come a point where you might want to or have to disagree with your partner. Here are a couple of important points to remember:

1. It is ok to disagree.

Disagreement does not mean that you don’t love the other person, it simply means that you have a different point of view.

2. Acceptance is required.

If you are truly dedicated to your partner, you will need to practice accepting their differences, no matter how big or small they are. Depending on the topic, this might be most challenging and in some cases it might not be possible if the situation at hand is below your bottom line. That’s when you have to seriously rethink your relationship.

3. Communicate acceptance.

One of the most skillful and helpful components of disagreeing with your partner is if you communicate what you understand and accept. This will make your partner feel heard and most probably less defensive.

4. Continue discussion.

Disagreement, when not too heated with emotions, needs to be discussed. If you notice that you get too agitated, ask for a time out and discuss it at a later point in time. Masters of relationship show that they are able to continue talking about points of differences without needing to agree.

5. Find compromises.

For some disagreements you can simply allow them to be, others might need compromises. Remember that a compromise is not always in the middle. For example if one partner wants a child and the other doesn’t you cannot find a middle path.

6. Better to be right or happy?

In some cases you need to think hard about the importance of your position. Is it worth defending yourself?

In the end ask yourself whether the issue is worth more than your relationship harmony or whether you are able to let the problem go. Sometimes arguments do not have the origin in the relationship but in our history, our childhood or our own state of mind.

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