How You Solve Disagreements in Your Relationships by Looking at Values

How You Solve Disagreements in Your Relationships by Looking at Values

MAUDE: The heat has been unusually excessive here (yes, climate change) and after a while it leads to everyone feeling a bit cranky. This irritability, something that rarely pops its head up between Phil and me, had us at odds with each other. We had some conflicting ideas for how to handle plans for the evening and we were both holding onto our own vision of how it should go.

I felt really bad and ignored, and that feeling started to mushroom and color my view of everything. I sat there stewing. Last week’s blog came to mind, and I thought, “I’m feeling much more difference between us than similarity!” And then I heard myself.

It stopped those thoughts like a thunder-clap! I sat down, drew some deep breaths and backed away from the tumult in my own head. “What is happening here? I’m getting all worked up over a preconception I have about how we should structure this evening.”

I usually greet the differences between us with joy and interest. I know I learn so much from another approach that whenever I realize I’m feeling distance in our relationship over what seems to be a differing way of doing things, I stop and take a look inside.

I ask myself, what is the value, the meaning for me connected to this event or action? What am I looking for that will bring me that value? Applying these questions changes my feelings around almost any issue where I am feeling stuck.

In this case I quickly felt the value for me was sharing the evening and the event with Phil, and knowing this, it became quite simple to incorporate what he wanted to do with what would bring me the experience I wanted.

This is similar to what happens when we use our process to make decisions and find mutual solutions. Sharing with another helps in finding out what my underlying wants are. It’s important to understand that even when working with Phil in this process, in truth, I do this work about myself by myself. In our courses, a frequently asked question comes from participants who feel they want to do this process, but are concerned that their partner, relative or friend won’t.

It is equally possible to apply the same inner questions about value and underlying wants alone as it is while working something out with another person. Either way it is immensely clarifying to look inwards and ascertain what is of value and meaning for you in any given situation. The rest of the details can be moved around freely till you find a fit with the other person.

For more information about Our Process, find some links below:

How to Work Through Disagreements to Reach a Mutual Solution
How to Reach Mutual Solutions in Your Relationship
How to Find Mutual Solutions With Your Partner

Phil added:

What stands out for me about this is that, once resolved, we were fully back in the comfort of our relationship. This didn’t take an effort because that is not an unusual state of being together; it’s how we choose to be, and how we usually are.

It’s a self-reinforcing state because we each trust that the other person will hear us, see us, and take our position seriously, and we each also trust that the other person means what they say. This engenders trust, which engenders honesty, and so on. It allows us to completely be ourselves; we don’t have to hide parts of ourselves, or compromise.


Photo credit: Andy Samarasena, StudioSB
Photo note: Phil and Maude

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