Do you desire a deeper, spiritual connection with your partner?
If you have walked the path of awakening, chances are your focus has shifted away from a relationship that is all about your wants and needs being fulfilled to a relationship that is about a deeper, spiritual connection.
When you create a deeper spiritual connection with your partner, suddenly your focus shifts away from just thinking about yourself and into a more open space that allows you to think about how you can best serve each other so you can both reach your fullest potential.
Of course to do this, both individuals have to have a spiritual relationship with themselves first.
Taking on a more spiritual approach to your relationships can also help you to create more love and longevity, and it can allow you to see things from a more conscious perspective.
If you are looking to deepen the spiritual connection with your partner here are 10 methods that you may want to adopt-
1.Commit to Something Bigger
In order to elevate your relationship into a deeply spiritual partnership you both need to understand that your coming together is so much more than just a give and take, and is more about supporting each other on your own individual paths.
When you can both respect each other’s purpose and work out a way to help support each other to living that purpose, that is when the connection of your relationship will radiate with a higher love.
2. Focus on Being the Best Version of You
Do you ever feel swallowed up by your relationships? Do you ever lose sight of who you really are?
This can naturally occur in a relationship as a way to help you find yourself, however if you feel this way often, it may be a sign that you need to stop and assess the direction you are heading in and if you are giving away too much of your power.
A true spiritual relationship understands that there is no need for power and control and that both individuals are free to express themselves within the boundaries of the relationship. When both people are treated as equals and are supported in their expression, it helps create space so you can both focus on becoming the best version of yourselves.
3. Focus on Completing Yourself
A true spiritual relationship understands that by being together you are not going to complete each other. The only way that you can feel complete is by truly working on yourself and learning how to find your own sense of wholeness.
For a spiritual relationship, all voids, holes and gaps in oneself are opportunities for self healing, and are not simply patched over by the distraction of each other. In most spiritual relationships, when one partner works on being complete in themselves, the other partner will naturally follow the lead as well.
4. Cleanse the Past
We all have past hurts, past relationship baggage and past wounds that need to be cleared. While you could spend the rest of your life unearthing all of your baggage, if you can look back at all the events and send them light and love, then your work is complete. If you can’t look back on the past and feel love for it, then there is a little more healing work for you to do.
The reason this is important in a spiritual relationship is that in order to really support each other, your heart needs be open and free of burdens and pains. Practicing forgiveness also helps you to view your relationship with more compassion and won’t effect how you experience your current relationship.
5. Embrace Your Shadow Side
Relationships can be challenging as they can reveal the deeper, darker shadow side of your soul that you may have buried away. Being in a spiritual partnership, requires you to truly embrace your darker side in order to come into your true, authentic self.
In some relationships, when the darker stuff starts to surface it can result in blaming, conflicts and even affairs. Instead of falling into this trap, try to embrace the dark and give each other permission to bring all of the darkness to the table.
It may be challenging to do this, but the more you can support each other and avoid taking each others problems personally, the more you will both be able to expand your level of consciousness.
6. Understand that Change is an Opportunity
As you change and evolve, your relationship will also change and evolve.
As spiritual partners, your job is to love and support each other through these changes and sometimes that love and support may have to be from a distance and sometimes it may have to be more hands on. Either way, when you have a spiritual connection you both understand that the best course of action is what is best for each others greater good, and not for each others ego needs. While this can be hard to determine at times, with continued support and love, the answer will slowly reveal itself.
7. Be Intimate Everyday
Touch and intimacy are extremely important for any relationship as it can help to develop a stronger bond and attachment between one another.
On a spiritual level, touching and exploring each others bodies helps you to develop energetic cords and helps to create harmony between your mind, heart, body and soul.
These cords will hold the intention of the two individuals, so it is important in any relationship that both are focused on sending light and love to each other, especially when being intimate.
8. Treat Your Relationship as Sacred
We charge our crystals by the light of the moon and we should do the same with our relationships. Spending allocated time with each other or planning fun activities together is a great way to honour your connection and your relationship.
Being grateful every day for your partner and the lessons of your relationship is also important.
9. Love Yourself
Nothing lasts forever, including your spiritual relationship, however what does last forever are the things that your soul takes away from it.
Your soul has been sent here for a mission and part of that mission includes learning how to love yourself.
Understand that everything that happens to you in life and all of the people that you meet are simply part of an intrinsic system that is designed to create more love.
Embrace yourself and your relationship and understand that part of your journey with this is to learn how to love yourself and then deliver that love to the world.
10. Reflect on the Beauty of this Poem by Kahlil Gibran
This sums everything up perfectly-
Do you have a spiritual relationship with your partner? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Emotional intimacy is the bedrock of a fantastic marriage.
Couples who can achieve secure attachment and build a strong emotional connection are able to risk being vulnerable.
Erik, 42, and Amanda, 40, a couple who I counseled recently came to my office looking to deepen their connection due to experiencing stress following the sudden death of Amanda’s mother and Erik being away for work and not being able to support her during her period of intense grief.
Amanda put it like this, “The last six months were very challenging after my mom died and Erik was away a lot, and we grew apart. He wasn’t around when I needed him and I built up resentment and developed mistrust in him, fearing that he met someone else or fell out of love with me.”
Erik responded, “Amanda is right and I feel awful about this. I just want a chance to make it up to her. The project I was working on involved travel out of state and I couldn’t refuse it. It was bad timing and I love Amanda and want to prove it to her.”
Cultivating intimacy involves allowing yourself to be vulnerable and trusting your partner.
All relationships have tension at times. Still, it is crucial for partners to use that tension to become more emotionally attuned, physically affectionate, and open about their thoughts, feelings, and desires.
What makes a relationship work?
Happy couples can quickly figure out whether their trust issues stem from their present relationship or are past emotional residue.
If you make a careful examination of your history and your partner’s history, you will stop repeating the past.
It is possible to deal effectively with ghosts from the past by extending trust to each other through words and actions that are consistent with a loving, long-term view of marriage.
For instance, Amanda was able to identify in couples’ therapy that her trust issues started with her childhood since her dad betrayed her mother for years when he was a truck driver and drove to Florida for an extended period of time.
As a result, Amanda told Erik that she now realized that some of her mistrust came from her past and her feelings became more intense when he traveled out of state.
In other words, since all couples come with baggage, it’s essential to openly discuss emotional triggers, past experiences, and trust issues early on in your relationship. This open dialogue will serve to strengthen your bond when inevitable doubts or breaches of trust arise.
Ways to feel immediately closer to your partner
Emotional intimacy and trust go hand in hand, and securely attached couples can express their needs and preferences.
One of the surefire ways to make your partner feel loved is to increase desire and sensuality in your relationship.
Likewise, daily rituals such as touching, good eye contact, listening, and talking about their experiences, will allow partners to be emotionally close and to express more sensuality in their marriage.
Sensuality is the pleasant feeling couples experience when they touch, see, taste, and feel – such as walking holding hands on the beach.
It involves a lot more than sexual intercourse.
Sensuality is a way of connecting with your partner at the moment, according to Howard J. Markman , Ph.D., and reflects feelings of being in love and attracted to your partner.
Surefire ways to make your partner feel loved
Instead of defaulting to the coping strategies you developed in your families of origin, it’s essential to make a commitment to nurture positive emotional connections.
So, what are some of the things to say to your spouse to deepen your connection?
Make a conscious effort to incorporate more positive comments, phrases, or questions into your conversations with your partner.
The following dialogue illustrates some ways Amanda and Erik were able to do this when they reunited at the end of the day.
Erik: “Can you tell me more about your day?” These words express love curiosity while helping your partner get more comfortable with being vulnerable.
Amanda: “Something I’m challenged with right now is my principal’s attitude toward me. It feels like I can’t do anything right.” Amanda’s response shows Erik that she trusts him enough to be transparent about her negative feelings about her supervisor.
Erik: “I’m trying to understand what you’re dealing with. Since I don’t work in a school, can you give me an example of what you’re dealing with? Erik’s response shows empathy and a desire to connect more deeply with Amanda.
Amanda: “It means a lot to me that you care enough to ask. I’m too tired to go into details right now, but let’s just say, it really feels like you’re here for me and that makes me happy.”
At the onset of a new relationship, there is a lot of passion and excitement, but what sustains a happy and healthy relationship is fostering emotional intimacy by being vulnerable and building trust day by day.
Once the daily stressors of living together set in, it can be a challenge for couples to extend goodwill to each other and to remain committed to achieving emotional attunement daily.
The primary way couples can do this is by deepening their attachment through a daily dialogue that is transparent without fear of abandonment or loss of love.
Strong chemistry between two people is something that can’t be reasonably explained; it can only be felt.
It’s the very thing that sets the whole relationship in motion.
Let’s face it – a relationship without sex is friendship.
There has to be something more there… there has to be lust and mutual craving. It’s the invisible rope bonding two people.
8 Ways To Make A Deeper Emotional Connection With Your Man
Without a doubt, emotional intimacy is more important than the sexual one.
On the other hand, sexual intimacy can increase the emotional one and bond you to your partner. One can’t truly exist one without the other.
Great sex triggers emotional bonds between you and your partner.
Locked eyes, hand in hand, lips pressed together, bodies against each other, and all the other aspects of actual physical closeness evoke your deepest feelings.
I Don’t Want Forced Chemistry, I Want Raw Connection
October 23, 2020
The sole sexual act adds to the feeling of being in love.
Your mind starts drifting and you can’t help but think about everything that happened a few nights before.
You zone out at work because your mind leads you to him and everything he means to you emotionally and physically. He is your constant thought.
You can’t and you don’t want to get him out of your mind. And you wait eagerly for the next time you’ll be physically intimate again.
Desires grow with every next encounter.
The important words here are NEXT ENCOUNTER because you can’t really connect through one or two casual hookups.
I Don’t Want Forced Chemistry, I Want Raw Connection
October 23, 2020
There simply isn’t enough time to bond at any level.
They won’t fall in love with you after one night stand nor you with them.
Sure, you might think you are in love, but it’s just hormones playing tricks on you.
You also may like each other a lot and the attraction might be strong, but after one night, that’s about it.
There is nothing more and nothing deeper than a plain raw sex act.
Although casual sex is necessary sometimes, especially after longer droughts, it won’t make you connected to some random man you barely know.
To form a connection with somebody, there has to be some substance.
Nights you spend texting, conversations that were supposed to be short but went on for hours on end, opening up, etc.
Sex won’t get you the guy, but once he is already yours, it will connect you with him on a deeper emotional level.
The safety you feel when you are in an exclusive relationship, the trust, feelings, and communication intertwined, make your sexual experience out of this world.
It’s invaluable to have someone who understands you in and out of the bed.
Someone who accepts you for who you are as a person and falls madly in love with every inch of your body.
Being completely comfortable with another person is what a fulfilled relationship is all about.
You feel confident enough to say what you want and expect from your partner, which makes you both more satisfied with all the aspects of your relationship.
As you continue to further build your relationship, your lovemaking skills are going to get better and better.
You will take that initial chemistry to the next level.
You will feel something pulling you to him – some invisible magnetic force – even when everything isn’t as perfect as you hoped it would be.
Then, when things go downhill and you stumble on some roadblocks, the sexual attraction you share will make things a bit easier to handle.
For instance, some fights you might have will be resolved between the sheets.
Well maybe not resolved, but it will definitely be easier to discuss things after make-up sex.
Sometimes a touch says “I love you” more than words do.
Sometimes physical intimacy reminds you just how much you care for your partner, even though they pissed you off.
In the end, it’s important to note that steamy sex and undeniable attraction alone won’t make your relationship; they are just going to be integral parts of it that will make you more connected to your partner when the emotional and mental basis is already there.
Not everyone is emotionally mature enough to be in a relationship. Real, genuine, healthy relationships are built on mutual trust and respect, as well as the ability and desire to communicate about your issues вЂ” all things that an emotionally immature partner might struggle with. Of course, no one is perfect, but if you want your relationship to succeed, it’s important that you’re in touch with your emotions, and mature enough to acknowledge what you might need to improve on to become a better partner.
“Emotional immaturity can reflect a lack of depth and understanding about oneвЂ™s own emotions, inability to communicate and process things related to the relationship, as well as lack of empathy and ability to understand your partnerвЂ™s emotional experiences,” Samantha Burns, couples counselor and dating coach at Love Successfully, tells Bustle.
It’s tempting to dismiss any of your partner’s bad relationship habits as just another of their “quirks,” but having an emotionally immature partner isn’t something you should sweep under the rug вЂ” because it can have a seriously detrimental effect on your relationship.
“Often times these partners have a ‘me’ factor over a ‘we’ factor, so they can come off as selfish or unable to take your feelings into account.”
“Having an emotionally immature partner can impact the overall health of your relationship,” Burns says. “Often times these partners have a ‘me’ factor over a ‘we’ factor, so they can come off as selfish or unable to take your feelings into account. When thereвЂ™s conflict, an emotionally immature partner may blow up or blame, rather than be able to process how his or her actions contributed to the issue. It may be difficult to have a calm, effective communication when talking about anything of substance.”
Everyone matures at their own pace, and it’s OK to admit that you have some work to do вЂ” but sometimes you’re better off flying solo and working on yourself before getting into a relationship. Here are 11 signs of emotional immaturity to look out for in a partner (or even in yourself).
If you want a relationship that will last longer, you need to make a deep emotional connection with your man.
Connecting with him on a physical level is easier than connecting with him on an emotional level but if you figure out what it is that drives your man, you can make that happen as well.
Here are some great ways that can help you to form a deeper bond with him and in that way make him totally devoted to you.
The Steamier The Sex, The Deeper Your Connection With Him
If you want to make a deeper connection with your man, you need to respect him. You don’t need to like everything that he does but if that is his way of doing things just respect it.
If he gives you the respect you need, just do the same for him. He will be happy and fulfilled and you will have a better relationship.
When you are a little bit mysterious he will want to know what is happening in your life.
So, don’t tell him everything that happens in your life and keep some spicy things for you only.
9 Signs You Share An Incredible Emotional Connection With Your Partner
That will make him interested in you and he will try to get to know you a little bit better. And if that does not work to deepen the emotional relationship, I don’t know what will.
If your man doesn’t have your support he will find it in a different place.
So, respect what he does and support his decisions, especially if he gives his all to make good things happen.
He just needs someone who will believe in him and I am sure he would want that person to be you.
Show him that you care about him
9 Signs You Share An Incredible Emotional Connection With Your Partner
Men are not so emotionally available all the time but he won’t be able to resist if you tell him that you love him and that you really care about him.
Even if he has the toughest heart, it will melt when you kiss him, hug him and tell him that there isn’t any other place where you would want to be right now than in his arms.
I am sure he will reciprocate in the same way.
Tell him that you appreciate him
If you want to deepen the emotional bond between you and your man, show affirmation here and there.
I am not saying that you should nod your head to everything he says but if some things really make sense, show him that you support him.
Try to get to know him better
If you try to get to know your man better he will respect that. He will like the way you ask him questions about his life and show interest in his hobbies.
If you ask him normal things like how his day was or if you ask him to take a walk and spend some time together, he will know to respect that.
And yes, he will be able to open up to you much more easily because he will believe you.
Have regular sex
You see, physical touch is very important for guys. That’s why you should make sure to have regular sex with him.
But if you feel like he is doing it just to make it happen, don’t do it.
He needs to want you and you need to feel desired and respected as well. A relationship is about two people and both of you need to get what you crave.
Always be a woman he would want to show off
I am not saying that you need to be dressed to kill but do something that will sweep him off his feet every time he sees you.
Be playful, cheerful and energetic. Show him how life can be beautiful and that you want to show him how to enjoy it if he lets you.
Be a woman to love and make him the happiest man alive.
The key to asking engaging questions may be simpler than you think.
The key to asking engaging questions may be simpler than you think.
The key to asking engaging questions may be simpler than you think.
Do you want to create a richer connection with your partner? To have those conversations that are intimate and meaningful? Are you shutting down opportunities for a deeper relationship with someone you love by the way you talk with them?
Wait, I’m sorry. Let me try those questions again.
How do you connect better with people? Recount a time when you had a meaningful conversation. What kinds of questions elicit a deeper engagement?
We all have conversations with people who are not gifted in connecting, and maybe we struggle to connect in conversations. Connecting through conversation is integral to any relationship, and our questions often determine the quality of that engagement. The key to asking engaging questions may be simpler than you think.
There’s a colloquial expression: it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Although the tone of our questions is important, the actual questions themselves are the key to engaging conversations. Read the first paragraph of this article again. How can someone respond to the questions in this first paragraph? They are all closed-ended questions, which typically prompt simple one-word answers, so what you say does matter.
My favorite Saturday Night Live skit comes from The Chris Farley Show, where he painstakingly struggles to interview his famous guests. He labors through interview questions that all begin with, “Do you remember…?” Leaving the famous interviewee to blandly respond, “Yes. Yes, I do.”
The point of the skit is to show how poor Farley is in interviewing his guests, barraging them with yes-or-no questions that cause the audience to feel the lack of connection or depth. It’s brilliantly hilarious, but also terrifyingly familiar.
All of us have been the one uncomfortably asking questions of the person we want to impress or connect with, only to find ourselves running the conversation into a brick wall. These types of questions narrow down the possible responses to a version of either yes or no. When you ask closed-ended questions, you lead your conversation partner down a path that severely limits opportunity for depth and connection.
So, in what ways are closed-ended questions a part of those conversations? How can we free ourselves from this limited way of speaking?
How to Ask Open-Ended Questions
There is a very simple strategy in how you talk with your loved ones that can enhance your ability to create better conversations—especially with your partner—and that is to ask open-ended questions. The idea of open-ended questions comes from Miller and Rollnick’s Motivational Interviewing, which is a widely accepted form of dialogue that enhances the participant’s motivation to accept change. But open-ended questions are not only good for therapy; they are also key to fostering engaging conversations in our everyday lives.
To better enhance the opportunity for deeper, richer conversation, according to Miller and Rollnick, you have to work on your phrasing of questions. Open-ended means that the questions cannot be appropriately answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Open-ended questions do not begin with “do” or “did,” which generally prompt a simple answer; open-ended types of questions usually begin with these words:
- How did you…
- In what ways…
- Tell me about…
- What’s it like…
If you have a teenage child, imagine asking them this question at the end of the day: “Did you have a good day today?” Do you think that will prompt a thrilling conversation where your teen opens up to you about all their hopes and dreams? Of course it won’t. Instead, you could try: “In what ways did you feel accomplished today?”
Asking open-ended questions encourages the person you’re conversing with to think critically and therefore to be more engaging, because open-ended questions allow the respondent, not the asker, to control the response.
Try reading the second paragraph of this article again, and notice how the paragraph is entirely comprised of open-ended questions that require much more critical thought than the questions in the first paragraph. You are invited to self-reflect and to dive into descriptive answers that are ripe for follow-up questions. In using more open-ended questions in conversation, you invite people to talk with you rather than talk to you. That is the recipe for better conversations.
When it comes to romantic relationships, asking open-ended questions is especially important, and The Gottman Institute’s methods encourage couples to ask open-ended questions of each other on a regular basis to deepen their intimacy. Let’s imagine those moments in a romantic relationship where connection is difficult, where busyness is the norm, yet you long for a rich conversation with your partner like you used to have.
You turn to your partner and ask, “Do you feel happy with our relationship right now?” How does someone begin to answer this question when it might seem so reductive? Let’s reword this question to be more open-ended and see how it evokes conversation: “In what ways do you feel happy with our relationship?” This open-ended example provides a much more constructive setting to better know what is going well in the relationship.
Which brings us to this: better conversation is more vulnerable and more intimate conversation. It is very difficult to share your thoughts and emotions by answering closed-ended questions, but with open-ended questions, the door for deeper connectedness is flung wide open. Granted, you cannot force someone to be open and honest and share their deeper selves, but you can create an atmosphere that invites deeper connection.
Open-ended questions require us to be engaged in what we are saying. And when we are engaged in what we are saying, we create better and more meaningful conversation.
The Gottman Card Decks App
Need some guidance on how to ask open-ended questions of your partner? Download our free Gottman Card Decks , a relationships app that includes our popular Love Maps, Open-Ended Questions, and more virtual card decks to help you and your partner connect and deepen your intimacy.
If you want to build a deeply meaningful relationship full of trust and intimacy, then subscribe below to receive our blog posts directly to your inbox:
Andy Reynolds is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Social Work educator. He is pursuing his PhD in Social Work, and contributes to his website – On Second Thought. Andy enjoys time with his family, good food, sports, and a nice hike.
Your adrenaline is pumping, your face is boiling, and the room is drenched in both anger and sadness. So many regrettable things have been said, and now, post-fight, you’re lost.
You now might be wondering: How can you get back to normal after the fumes? How do we repair this damage?
If you’re like most couples, you might not even remember why the fight began—which means the topic of the original argument became irrelevant, and you spent a bunch of wasted time arguing about the fact that you were arguing. If that sounds like you, don’t fret. It’s a thing. Actually, the number one thing that couples argue about is “nothing,” which is either reassuring or discouraging, depending on how you look at it.
But actually, trying to figure out how the fight began is not the best place to start. As a therapist, my main question for couples is not about the beginning, or even the middle. Rather, I ask: “How does it end?”
If there are a hundred conflicts among a hundred couples, there are probably ten thousand ways that those conflicts could end. However, most of them are delay tactics, designed to facilitate peace but not maintain a connection. In these cases, the strategy is ultimately fruitless—and if anything, only causes disconnect, and therefore, more dissonance.
For couples who really want to repair after a fight, the end should always be a striving for connection. Every “good” conflict should eventually answer this question: How do we stay connected?
So how, do you do that? How do you achieve deeper understanding and connection? There are two key steps: De-escalate and Repair.
Step One: De-escalate
Your first priority is to de-escalate. When the music’s too loud, you turn it down. When the treadmill is too fast, you turn it down. When the water is too hot, you turn it down. This is common sense. When your conflict gets too escalated, you have to find a way to turn it down.
To do this, it’s a good idea to agree on a plan—be it a signal or a strategy. Some couples have a safe-word. Some have a hand signal. Some ask for a time-out or they “press pause.” Some focus on deep breathing. Some take turns being the bigger person. I know of one couple—who loved football—that used yellow penalty flags to signal when the fight had gotten out of hand. So go ahead, make it yours. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what strategy you use, it only matters that you have one that you agree on and that you use it, as you simply cannot achieve deeper understanding or connection while the conflict is escalated. It’s just not possible.
Once you’ve turned it down, the second step is repair, but this may not be achievable right away. You may need to watch a sitcom. Or go to work. Or go to sleep (yes, that old advice to never go to bed angry won’t work if you’re exhausted). Or take a walk—or some kind of breather. You must have confidence in the de-escalation before repair is conceivable.
Step Two: Repair
For relationships, repair is actually synonymous with agreement—an agreement about how the conflict started and about where it went wrong. It’s an understanding of why you both felt the way you did, and what you both could have done to correct it. If the middle of a conflict is the struggle, repair is re-visiting the struggle and talking the ways out.
Repair might mean apologizing—but not necessarily. Ultimately, repair is about re-pairing. It’s about prioritizing connection and understanding. If you’re finding that difficult, try saying: “Help me understand.” Or, “How can we use this conflict to stay connected?”
I know, that sounds difficult, and maybe even feel inauthentic, but if you want to change your relationship and make these fights productive, you need to change the way you relate. That means if you want to change the way your conflict begins, and continues, and ends, then you need to change the way you think about conflict. It requires a bit of a mind shift.
Both parties involved believe their argument to be valid. After all, that’s why you defend it so vigorously. But in reality, your belief doesn’t actually make your argument 100% valid. So take a step back, and ask yourself: What if you also considered your partner’s position to be valid, too? What if you prioritized connection and understanding over winning?
Ultimately, if you are able to recognize when a conflict becomes a fight, and you both are committed to de-escalating it, the fight ultimately becomes about repair. And suddenly, fights become a lot less terrifying.
And, wouldn’t that be a treat?
So, if you love your partner, don’t wait. Decide (and agree) that this will be your mantra for all future conflicts: The main purpose of any fight is to find deeper understanding and connection.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
About six months into a serious relationship with my boyfriend, we started experiencing major conflict. Fighting over small things, flipping out over misunderstandings, we just couldn’t seem to get on the same page about anything. This caused me to think about relationship conflict in general, what causes it, and how to deal with it.
It’s clear that relationship conflict occurs because expectations aren’t being met. Each person comes into a relationship with certain expectations. These are based on past experiences, childhood, or how you think things should be.
The problem is that no two people think the same, no matter how much you have in common.
A lot of couples see conflict as a time to bail—either because they were already looking for a way out or because they freak out and feel threatened. When our ego feels threatened, it activates our flight-or-fight response. Sometimes it may be hard to get resolution on a conflict, making matters worse.
Instead of seeing conflict as a threat to a relationship, what if we reframed this and saw conflict as an opportunity and a sign of growth in a relationship?
This requires understanding that conflict will inevitably occur in a close relationship. The only way of getting around it is to not share your opinion at all, which is not healthy.
So what if we focused on sharing our opinions in a way that is productive?
1. Remember not to sweat the small stuff.
Instead of making every little molehill a mountain, agree to not make something a battle unless it’s truly important. Realize that not every disagreement needs to be an argument. Of course, this doesn’t mean you bow to someone else’s demands when it’s something you feel strongly about, but take the time to question the level of importance of the matter at hand.
2. Practice acceptance.
If you find yourself in the midst of a conflict, try to remember that the other person is coming into the situation with a totally different background and set of experiences than yourself. You have not been in this person’s shoes, and while it may help to try to put yourself in them, your partner is the only person who can really explain where he or she is coming from.
3. Exercise patience.
Granted, it’s hard to remember this in the heat of the moment. But stopping to take a few deep breaths, and deciding to take a break and revisit the discussion when tensions are not as high, can sometimes be the best way to deal with the immediate situation.
4. Lower your expectations.
This is not to say you should have low expectations but it is to say that you should keep in mind you may have different expectations. The best way to clarify this is to ask what another’s expectations are in a scenario. Again, don’t automatically assume that you come into the situation with the same expectations.
But what if you are in the heat of a conflict and you don’t seem to be doing anything other than polarizing each other?
5. Remember you both desire harmony.
Most likely, you both want to get back on track and have a peaceful relationship. Also remember the feeling of connectedness that you want to feel. It’s hard to feel threatened by someone when you see yourselves as interconnected and working toward the same result.
6. Focus on the other person’s behavior, not their personal characteristics.
Personal attacks can be far more damaging and long-lasting. Talk about what behavior upset you instead of what is “wrong” with someone’s personality.
7. Clarify what the person meant by their action instead of what you perceived their action to mean.
Most of the time, your partner is not deliberately trying to hurt you, and getting hurt happened to be a byproduct of that action.
8. Keep in mind your objective is to solve the problem rather than win the fight.
Resist the urge to be contrary just for that reason. Remember that it’s better to be happy than right!
9. Accept the other person’s response.
Once you have shared your feelings as to what a person’s actions meant to you, accept their responses. If they tell you the intended meaning of their action was not as you received it, take that as face value.
Once you’ve both had the opportunity to share your side, mutually agree to let it go. Best case scenario, your discussion will end in a mutually satisfactory way. If it doesn’t, you may choose to revisit it later. When making this decision, ask yourself how important it is to you. If you make the decision to leave it in the past, do your best to do that, rather than bringing it up again in future conflicts.
Conflict can be distressing. If you see it as an opportunity for growth, it can help you become closer and deepen your relationship.
I t’s one of the most uncomfortable places to be – deep in a fight with the person you love most. You’d do anything to come to an understanding. You’d like nothing more than to stop the bickering and get back to having a good time. But as we all know, it’s difficult to end a fight once it’s underway.
Sometimes fights with your partner are about core issues in the relationship that need to be hashed out, and these types of arguments can be productive. But other times fights are the result of people trying desperately to get their point across, while failing to understand the other person’s point.
These types of fights are far less productive. Luckily, there’s one question that can shift the dynamic of these fights almost instantly. That question is…
“What do you need from me?”
Why does this question (said, of course, in the most loving and compassionate way possible) have the power to neutralize unproductive fights fast?
1. It shifts the focus from trying to explain yourself to trying to understand your partner.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they fight is they spin their wheels trying to explain their point of view. They explain it one way, and if that doesn’t work, explain it another way and another way until both parties are frustrated and exhausted.
“What do you need from me?” interrupts the pattern of repetitive explaining and actively asks the other person to take the spotlight. It basically communicates, “I’m going to be quiet for a moment and let you tell me what matters to you.” Though simple, this is a profound shift.
2. It works no matter what you’re fighting about.
Much of the advice that couples receive about how to communicate is topic-specific. “How do you think we should handle our finances?” is a great question to ask your partner when you’re discussing finances, and “How could we make our sex life better?” works when you’re discussing sex. But “What do you need from me?” works no matter what aspect of the relationship you’re discussing.
3. It captures the big picture.
When you’re fighting with someone with whom you share a life, it’s easy to get lost in the details. You likely have lots of day-to-day minutia to dredge up in the fight. “What do you need from me?” helps you stop debating the details (which often lead nowhere) and see the big picture.
It asks: What does your partner really need from you? What do you need from her? This shifts the conversation from wants to needs. He may want you to clean up the house when you say you will, but the underlying need may be: I need to know you will keep your promises. This is what the fight is really about, and getting to the core of the issue is the first step towards resolving it.
4. It implies willingness to change.
Notice that the question is not simply “What do you need?” which puts the burden of fulfilling said needs squarely on the other person. Instead it’s “What do you need from me?” which, although subtly, implies that you are open to helping your partner get his needs met. If stubbornness has infiltrated the fight, this small gesture can open the door to resolution.
5. It’s neutral.
First of all, “What do you need from me?” holds no assumptions – except that the two people in the relationship need certain things from each other. And when you think about it, all people in relationship need things from each other.
A woman may need her coworker to complete her fair share of work. A parent may need his child to own her schoolwork. If you don’t need anything from each other, there’s likely nothing to fight about in the first place.
Beyond assuming that needs are involved in the relationship, this question is completely neutral. It’s not something that only wives can say to their husbands or only parents can say to their children. Anyone can say it to anyone and yield productive results.
6. It communicates caring.
The final reason that “What do you need from me?” can save your relationship is that, imbedded in it, is a profoundly caring sentiment. If you didn’t care about the other person’s happiness and well-being, you wouldn’t bother asking what she needs in the first place. While your partner may not consciously pick up on this sentiment, she will sense it subconsciously. She will feel it in her heart and it will stop her in her tracks.
The next time you find yourself knee-deep in a messy fight, whip out “What do you need from me?” Say it with the most compassionate tone you can muster and watch the magic unfold!