In any relationship, there can be a feeling of being on the same side that is quite delicious. It may be no more than the grizzled assistant at the hardware store helping you decide the best way to construct a raised flower bed. He’s not trying to maximize the sale; he’s working with you to find the best approach. Or maybe it’s you and your partner planning the garden or a trip or the blog you write together.
Whatever it is, become attuned to that feeling, because if it vanishes, that’s a warning signal that you may be swerving into the path of a full-blown argument. The feelings are of distance and not being understood, and there are physical clues too: crossed arms, lack of eye contact, physical separation, tone of voice. Of course, you may both enjoy monumental rows, in which case, go for it. That may be your preferred way of exploring separation and togetherness. But if not, remember that you are on the same side. You share larger goals and core values. As Maude said in last week’s blog, act from love.
In any relationship, there can be a feeling of being on the same side that is quite delicious #love Click To TweetYou can ease back into that feeling of connection by using a process we describe to make decisions and resolve conflicts. And as stated, the first step is remembering and then affirming out loud to each other that you are on the same side.
Dig as deep as possible for what you are feeling, and speak it. Listen to the other person. Own your own feelings, but don’t own theirs, or the boa-constrictor of codependency will crush the life out of both of you.
The most important element is to realize that you are co-creating your decisions and solutions. This is an active time together where you are listening to each other and aware your viewpoint will be expanded, enlarged by hearing your partner. You are aware that what your partner says is not an attack or an attempt to change you, but rather your partner is adding more information to the pool of what you both know and can think of. Out of this mutual pool, brand new things arise which are better than any idea either of you could have had alone.
In a relationship, you are not fighting over some limited indivisible resource. It is not a zero-sum game. You are on the same side, with the same big-picture goals. Never forget it.
Next week: more specifics on mutuality.