How to Use Relationship Disagreements in a Positive Way
We hit a bump the other day. It had to do with the allocation of funds, although the subject really isn’t the important part. It was a rough one. That was so unusual that we took a look at it together afterward, and the conversation went something like this:
MAUDE: It got pretty heated and shocked both of us. We hit a bump, a place where buttons and triggers were being pushed on both sides, but never during that entire thing, which even got relatively intense, did we feel separated from each other or lacking in trust for the other person. These are the most important points, really.
PHIL: There was a point at which you came over and touched me and tried to calm it, and I didn’t accept what you were doing or I started in again, something like that.
MAUDE: I don’t even remember that, interestingly, but I’m not denying it at all. Generally, we stop and take a step back, each to our own corners, so to speak, to think about it, you know. And upon reflection, I guess, a number of really important things became clear. Never did either of us feel separated from the other person. Never was the trust shaken or even touched.
PHIL: After something like that, I think I get to a position where I look at what my motives were. What was pushing me? And I look at you and try and see where you’re coming from. I don’t know that I did that fully consciously.
MAUDE: I know what you mean, but the looking at myself I did do fully consciously, insofar as I have a habit pattern of doing that. I have a behavior that whenever something anywhere in that realm happens, I go inside, look at myself, and ask what is the meaning and value for me in this situation. That’s what I asked myself. What’s going on here?
PHIL: Right. And I think that going inside is why it’s not necessarily totally verbally described. The going inside is more like, “How do I feel and how do you feel?” and looking at the incident from a higher perspective In the moment, it’s simply how do I feel?
MAUDE: Yeah, it’s looking at a bunch of reactions.
PHIL: And I don’t see anything wrong with that, because I think that what you and I do is present our feelings to each other. All of them. And every time we are able to do this business of, gee, look at what is behind my feelings and what is behind your feelings. And by taking that higher view, it’s possible to feel an answer that is both of us.
MAUDE: That last part of what you said – for me, what happens there is I look at it and obviously I have very strong feelings here, right? And I’m asking what is the meaning or value that I am looking for? Why do I feel so strongly? It isn’t just some old thing from the past or something; by now, with most of the things that have this kind of energy, especially if I’m interacting with you, there’s some real meaning or value going on there for me.
So when you say from the higher perspective, that’s the higher perspective for me. I look for what is that? And then I look at how you acted and what you said and stuff and I look for the same thing. Then we come back and we talk to each other and express what we’ve come to know about ourselves in a more connected fashion where we don’t just let it sit there even with that new information inside of us, but we come back together and communicate what we found. And of course, we’re looking for the same thing.
PHIL: All of this is possible because of what you said right at the beginning, that we never feel we are on opposite sides, and it is that fact that allows all of this prior description to occur. How we act, how we feel, and how we take time all operate under the knowledge that we’re not on opposite sides; that we’re on the same side. This is where it gets difficult to describe.
MAUDE: How you can tell someone to get here, I don’t know. Everybody has to find their own way, but, you know, it’s all these things. It’s an energy of goodwill, but it’s much more than that. It’s this incredible trust and knowing that that’s been established through many experiences.
PHIL: It’s this issue of never feeling on the opposite side. It means that we have a sense that we are on the same side, and it absolutely is a sense. It’s very hard to talk about other than to say that it always feels that we’re on the same side.
MAUDE: That engenders an incredible kind of unshakable trust. Like something that lives inside you.
PHIL: I think maybe it’s because the experience is two-way. Whatever I’m getting, I’m giving, and the very fact that this is both an inflow and an outflow creates a balance.
US: We hope you enjoyed eavesdropping on our conversation, and if you can take something away from it, even better.
Photo credit: Maude Mayes
Photo note: A disagreement that went on far too long
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