Often in relationships, we reach a point when we feel we do not understand our partners. Not only that, but we feel that no matter how hard we try to explain our “side of the story” they’re just not getting it.
Fights, disagreements, or just tough conversations may ensue, and this makes sense, as we all try to understand, and be understood by our loved ones. But do we have a constructive argument or just fights?
I’m an intense introvert, and she’s very extroverted. I crave separation and alone time, and she likes to feel that we stay connected throughout the day. I have trouble expressing myself, and she expresses herself constantly.
So how do we figure anything out when we are coming from two drastically different sides? We talk, we listen, we compromise, and we plan our higher selves together.
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~ Carl Jung
Here are some questions to ask yourself or your partner when you don’t seem to be having a constructive argument.
Are we talking about the same thing?
My partner and I know that we are both aiming for the same goal, and that is to become our highest selves. This would not work if one partner is aiming for their higher self and the other is looking out only for their own needs.
In order to have a constructive argument, you need two people sharing the same value. Even if the value is to make the relationship work. Then each partner is motivated to do their part.
On another level, are we arguing about the same thing? If I’ve come to talk about my need for space, and she’s come to talk about her need for connection, then we will end up trying to convince the other of our need instead of the relationships needs.
If so, make separate times to talk about each; that way you are fully focused on each one.
Should I compromise or hold my ground?
There are things about each person that they cannot, and should not, change; and then there are the things that we all must alter and compromise in order to reach our highest self.
So whenever we have an “argument” with our partner we must first ask ourselves, “Is the thing I’m being asked to change, something that’s a part of me, or is it a blockage to my higher self?” When you question yourself it helps turn it into a constructive argument.
I will always be an introvert. I need my alone time to recharge, think, and reconnect with myself. But, reaching out from the recesses of my alone time to let my partner know when I’ll be home is not compromising myself. It’s actually adding to my higher self, where I try to be aware of other people’s feelings and realities.
Sometimes, change and compromise is hard, and it may go against our nature. But which nature is it going against? Are you being asked to communicate more when your nature is to hold your feelings inside?
Are you being asked to listen more, when your nature is to be expressive? For each compromise, ask yourself, “Is this change bringing me closer to my true and higher self, or is it taking me away from myself?”
What am I being asked to do in reality?
Following what we said above, we must now decide something else. How can I move from conceptualization into reality? Make a plan to implement your ideas right away. Let’s say I’ve decided that I need to be more expressive with my partner.
So I plan that the next time I don’t know how to express something, I will write it down and share it with my partner. It’s easy to say you’ll do something, and another to implement a plan to get it done.
You can set a reminder on your phone to call your partner when they asked. If words are hard for you, leave notes for your partner that express your love. Be creative, and find something that will help you out in the beginning when it still feels unnatural to you.
Do I know how to be in the other’s shoes?
If you and your partner are drastically different, there will come times when you are adamantly fighting for something without hearing what your partner is trying to say. A good thing to practice is leaping into the other’s shoes.
If you find that you and your partner have fallen into specific roles: the giver and the receiver, the chaser and the runner, the mother and the child, the doer, the planner, the listener, the buyer, etc.
Whatever roles you find yourself filling, acknowledge them and switch roles for a day, or even a week. This will give you both a relief from filling your roles; making you realize that it’s okay to break the patterns, and give you the appreciation for your partner’s role as well.
We are all made up of our life as it’s been until now, and this can sometimes get in the way of our relationships.
Whether we’ve been hurt in the past, or carry fears from our childhood; everyone comes with some baggage. It’s very important to acknowledge the issues we carry, and lay them out for ourselves and our partners to deal with in a healthy manner.
Most of the time, our reactions have more to do with our past than the current situation. So it’s important to be able to admit that what was said or done has triggered a past trauma. It’s okay to say things along the lines of, “When you walk out while we’re talking, it triggers my fears of rejection and makes me feel…etc.”.
Note: This is not meant to accommodate fears and past traumas. Past traumas cannot be used as an excuse to treat each other harshly or unfairly. Knowing each other’s past and fears gives you the ability to make each other feel safe while you work on healing those issues.
At the end of the day, disagreements are normal in every relationship, but there are constructive arguments, and less constructive ways to have these conversations with your loved one.
Each discussion, if carried out in a mature and enlightened manner, should end with a feeling of accomplishment and understanding of the other. This is what constructive arguments are all about!