To Fix Your Relationship, You Have To Start Giving A F.U.C.K.

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couple fight

I’m working with a client right now whose wife left with their kids, and their life together is crumbling apart because they’re both too hurt to give a F.U.C.K. 

They both dig in their heels, focus on what’s missing, and rehash the same tired arguments over and over until they both no longer give a F.U.C.K.

They both have too much pride and ego invested in their need to be “right,” so they tell themselves, each other and outsiders that they don’t give a F.U.C.K. 

Life hasn’t quite turned out the way they planned so rather than doing the hard work to change their circumstances, they blame one another and stop giving a F.U.C.K.

They’re both tired of feeling unappreciated for their respective contributions to the family, so they've gotten to the point where giving a F.U.C.K. is just too painful. So they just shut down, drift apart, and watch their relationship all come undone.

I think you get the point ... or do you?

Before you think I’m just being vulgar for vulgar’s sake, the fact is that simply giving a F.U.C.K. is the one thing that would repair this relationship and not only keep the family intact, but also have them thriving, growing together, and feeling happy again. As you may have guessed, I have a different definition for giving a F.U.C.K. In my definition, it’s an acronym made up of the four components that will help heal, save and deepen a relationship when the inevitable challenges between two human beings, with their own unique references, preferences, values, beliefs and wounds, try to work together as a team. 

1. Forgiveness

The actual F word in my acronym isn’t vulgar at all. That’s because it stands for Forgiveness. And while it may seem strange to start with granting it before you ever actually resolve anything, it's the most powerful aspect. That’s because forgiveness is actually the grease that gets you unstuck and starts the whole thing in motion.

If you can wrap your head around the fact that there was no INTENT to harm you, that’s a huge head start. Even if you think there was an intent, the truth is that people’s actions are simply a reflection of their own highest values and are nothing more than an attempt to meet them.

It would be more accurate to say that your needs just got in the way of your partner meeting theirs ... and that’s very different from them having an intent to harm you. In addition, forgiveness is not a gift you give someone else; it’s a gift you give yourself. When you hold onto resentment for someone or something else, it’s like drinking poison and expecting them to die. If you want to be healthy and happy, letting it go is your only viable option.

2. Understanding

After forgiveness gets things moving, it’s time to engage in some deep listening so you can hear the request being made by your partner and hear what they’re NOT saying. In my work, I see time and again that most arguments between couples aren’t even remotely about the presenting issue that started the fight.

Often it’s about more of a base level need to feel safe, significant or satisfied — or even all 3 simultaneously. Even if you disagree with the specific request, if you can find a way to honor the intent or spirit of that request, often that will give you the flexibility to resolve an issue for good.

3. Compassion

This one might be the most challenging when you’re really locked into a dispute that seems to have no end. The whole dynamic becomes a power struggle between two people who BOTH see the other person as strong, so the temptation to attack them is almost impossible to avoid. Quite frankly, it will be easier to do this if you have done some personal development.

If you can find the strength to get out of your own head and try to have empathy and compassion for their position or perspective — even if you don’t agree with it — you will have a much easier time escaping the downward spiral. In fact, if you can do this, you might even find the situation spiraling UPWARD as you both remember how valuable it is to have a partner who can have a disagreement without feeling the need to destroy or ignore the other. Having compassion is easier if you can just remember and focus on the fact that anyone who is locked into a disagreement with the single most important person in their life is in pain — even if they seem tough and unmoved in the moment. 

4. Kindness

Even though, I acknowledge that it is hard, the one quality that will keep your marriage thriving and growing is the ability to disagree and still maintain kindness. The Dalai Lama is somewhat of an authority on kindness and forgiveness since he was forced to flee his homeland of Tibet under threat of assassination by the Chinese at the age of 15 and forced to live in exile for more than 50 years. He has famously said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” I respectfully suggest that if he can get past that and still maintain his kind spirit, you can probably get over whatever your spouse may or may not have done.

Forgiveness. Understanding. Compassion. Kindness.

If you can somehow manage to dig deep enough to find those qualities when you’re in a dispute with your spouse, you will create the kind of Legendary Love For Life that you both deserve. I think it’s also fair to say that when you move beyond defending your own position, you just might discover you BOTH have some valid points worthy of consideration. 

If after reading this you still can’t find the resolve to give a F.U.C.K., I invite you to reach out for some help to break through and get things back on track. I have a pretty good track record of helping couples get out of their own way so they can get unstuck and back in a good place. Of course, the choice is yours.