If you’ve been continually fighting with your loved one, it might seem obvious why. Perhaps you attempt to repeatedly bring up your concerns about your partner and your relationship, but nothing changes. It seems to you that if these problems could just change, the fighting will reduce or disappear, and your relationship will become much happier, healthier, and rewarding.
The reality is much different. To understand the truth, we must go back in time to when we were children.
When we are children, we depend on our parents to consistently help us calm down when we are distressed, protect us from danger,and to generally help us feel supported, heard, and safe. These same needs for nurturing, comforting,and safety are also the crucial driving forces in our adult romantic relationships.
According to Dr. Sue Johnson in her groundbreaking book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, the way we establish and sustain an adult loving relationship is through “being open, attuned, and responsive to each other” (p. 7). The opposite is also true; when we don’t have consistent meaningful intimate interactions with our loved one, this is what leads to conflict, and can ultimately then lead to the end of a relationship.
The solution, then, is to look much more so at helping you and your loved one have consistent and quality intimate exchanges, as this will help you reduce your fighting and problems, and drastically improve your relationship!
When you and your partner feel an increased safe and emotional connection, you’ll find it’s much easier to reduce instances of difficulty, recover from struggles with much greater ease, and strengthen your relationship.
Key Ingredients to Healthy Conversations that Reduce Fighting and Improve Your Relationship:
1. Be Reachable
Even when you feel unsure and insecure, do your best to remain open to your partner’s attempts to connect with you. Sometimes, this means you’ll need to first better notice when your emotions are overwhelming and/or you’re disconnecting from life and your partner. Then, do your best to attend to your loved one’s bids of connection.
2. Be Responsive
You and your partner must consistently feel safe,supported, heard, and appreciated by one another. So, you need to regularly notice when your loved one is sharing their need for one or several of these crucial elements from you, and then provide that to him/her through comfort and nurturance.
3. Be Engaged
To feel safe and supported by our loved one, we must feel that s/he is focused on us in a truly special manner. Only then do we feel like our partner is captivated by us, which in turn makes us feel safe and happy in our relationship. To help you do this, when you and your partner communicate, you could ensure you turn your head in his/her direction and maintain eye contact with your partner for longer periods of time.
Overall, you’ll want to do your best to have conversations that help you both know that you are there for each other, actively listening to each other’s needs, thoughts, and emotions, and appropriately responding to each other’s requests. You’ll both also want to consistently ensure you feel valued and supported by one another, as well as safe in the idea that you will stay with one another.
Once you both accomplish these crucial tasks, you’ll see that the amount and intensity of fights will dramatically reduce, and the quality of your happiness and connection in your relationship will improve.
We can help you better understand and respond to each other’s needs and requests for connection, safety, and nurturance, therefore reducing your fighting, and helping you create the rewarding relationship you want and deserve. Give us a call and we'll discuss how we can help. Call Jordan Zipkin, LMFT, at 561.214.4113.
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