Bickering is an unfortunate habit that many couples fall into. It might even be a daily part of your routine. Whether it starts over chores, schedules, jealousy or something else, sooner or later it feels like the argument takes on a life of its own. This mindset of constantly sniping at each other or wanting to have the last word can lead to a tendency to avoid each other and to a cycle of poor communication.
Why do we bicker and argue so much? We would likely answer that it's because we feel wounded, not heard, unappreciated and fearful. We want the attention and loving communication we felt when we first were dating and getting to know each other, but we fear it is lost, making us angry and hurt, so we pick fights with our partner. We use our power to win arguments as a way of preserving our self-respect and as a substitute for the true loving connection we feel our partner denies us.
But is it a worthy substitute? Underneath the arguing are real clues to what has gone wrong for us. Somewhere back there we went off track and lost our sacred connection to the love and adoration we once shared. Since then we have built a false fortress where we retreat to lick our wounds and protect ourselves from further hurt. We practice distrust.
The good news is that we can learn to argue effectively in a way that builds up rather than breaks down. The important thing is to accept that arguing, growing apart and losing our sacred connection are normal occurrences in the stages of long-term relationships. Once we accept that this happens to all of us, we can be about improving our bond and bringing back mutual understanding and appreciation. We can recover our loving sacred connection that has simply gone into hiding.
Here are 3 steps you can take to begin the journey back to loving connection:
- Put your hand over your heart and make sure you feel a heart to heart connection with your partner before you begin speaking
- In this instance, in this particular moment, choose to believe they love you and want to listen from their heart too. Express how you are truly feeling. "I am sad about…" "I am hurt by…" "I am angry about…" "I am confused about…" "I am afraid of…"
- In no uncertain terms, tell your partner what you most want — what you want from them, what you want for both of you, what you want for your own happiness and theirs: "I want us to argue less and have fun more." "I want to tell you how I feel and know you will listen." "I want to share our dreams again and see where they take us."
The next time you begin an argument, take the initiative to stop what you’re doing and follow the steps above. Notice what happens to that particular argument and what begins to happen in your relationship as you apply these steps more and more often. Can arguing become the road back to loving intimacy and sacred connection? You bet it can!
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