Why It’s Important To See The Other’s Viewpoint In Your Relationship
People get into quarrels over all sorts of things, big and small. They get upset because they feel they’re not going to get what they want; anything from a clean kitchen to another child. They might feel hurt, attacked, insulted, ignored – whatever, some negative feelings are there, yet more often than not, they are unacknowledged and disguised by finding reasons that match.
And of course, this is how your partner is seeing you. You can break this impasse by changing the focus from how this affects you to the reasons for why they are taking their position. Ask not just why they think that way, but what they are feeling about it. Bear in mind that they probably don’t know what the feelings behind their position are. In other words, show empathy.
Just as understanding yourself is an important component in your relationship, so is knowing your partner, their automatic responses and patterns. Do they always seem to push away new ideas? Do they make decisions at a different pace than you do – too slow, too fast? What part of their communication is verbal and how much do they say with their facial expressions and body postures?
The other day Maude was talking with a friend who is in a long-term relationship where both partners have done a lot of work to find mutual solutions and a harmonious way of being together. He was describing how some of the previous tensions that plagued them have transformed. There were some places where they frequently butted heads and both wound up feeling frustrated and angry. They decided together to always remember that they are on the same side and to remind each other whenever one of them forgets. He said that their values match, so they should be able to resolve anything else.
Decide together that you are on the same side and remind each other whenever one of you forgets Click To TweetBy reaffirming that they were going to listen to each other and pay attention to each other more, they felt a different energy come into play. One of the most important things was that each of them recognized that the other’s response was not about them. If they were not feeling attacked or rejected, it became much easier for them to listen to each other with love.
The acceptance that occurs when you listen to your partner, friend or relative with an open loving heart is a powerful primary force. When you can put yourself aside and really think of the other, hear what they are saying and asking for, anger dissipates. You are no longer defending, protecting and justifying. You are instead coming from the desire to understand and to create solutions that work for both of you. The feeling of separateness dissipates and the sense of mutuality grows.
This may not resolve the disagreement, but it does provide a starting point. With the knowledge you gain from hearing your partner, unencumbered by being mainly involved with yourself, you can create non-threatening ways to communicate. You can introduce ideas and plans in a way that may be more easily heard and fit better to their ability to respond. In a relationship based on seeking mutuality, you will discover the never-ending possibilities for peaceful solutions you can create together.
Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: I’m not heron you!
Read what some other writers have to say on this topic.
Get our free weekly newsletter about how to have a harmonious relationship.