"It's so simple...if we have feelings for each other, why can't my partner just accept who I am? Why is everything such a negotiation chore? Why won't my partner just compromise instead of having to "win" all the time? Why should I be the one to apologize?"
Sound familiar? It should! It's what you think every time there's a conflict in your relationship. What you may not realize...it's what your partner thinks, too. So, you have at least one thing in common...you each think the other is an uncooperative jerk. That's the nature of conflict, isn't it?
Arguments happen because two people with conflicting ideas each think the other is wrong. The longer and stronger each person strives to "win," the more hurt both share, and the harder it is to find our way back to a loving and trusting relationship. When conflict arises between loving people, there is always far more at stake than the issue. That's why people can have serious, painful fights over such important things as what color napkins to put out. The thing more at stake is the irrational emotion, not the rational issue. Emotions are valid things that we'd all do well to learn to deal with. Often, feelings of rejection, dismissal, unimportance, abandonment and betrayal are wrapped up in a conflict over something as silly as what to have for dinner.
If you're waiting for your partner to be logical or to show sensitivity before the conflict can end, you've already responded incorrectly. Only in Hollywood does a presentation of the "facts" result in a tearful concession from the other. In real life, there are at least two perspectives on the "facts" and both are usually wrong, being tainted by the years emotional baggage you each brought into the relationship. When I strive for you to see things my way, I'm stepping all over you and your emotional baggage. If I don't give your perspective its due consideration (agree), I'm dismissing your feelings entirely. By the way, men have feelings, too, we're just in denial about them.
This is one of the most frustrating things about conflict, there is no sensible, effective response that validates both people. It seems like someone has to lose. Actually, it's the idea of winning and losing that made it a conflict, in the first place.
How is it losing to validate your partner's feelings and opinions? If you genuinely love, you're probably willing to give your life life for your partner...as long as you don't have to give up your opinion? Remember, There is much more at stake during a conflict than the issue at hand. In fact, the only way to win an argument is by being the first to say, "I was wrong. Please forgive me." How can you win when you apologize? Because the argument isn't as important as the relationship. Because your opinion shouldn't be as important as your partner.
If you love each other as much as you've said you do, there is no way you can lose by giving the issue to your partner. By apologizing, you empower, and build up your partner. By preferring the needs and wishes of your partner over your own, you're proving your love, respect and desire to please. You create an environment where it feels safe to give and sacrifice, instead of squabbling to grasp every little "win."
When you make your partner feel important, accepted, respected, validated and loved by you, what do you think the response will be? If there ever was love, it will be multiplied a hundredfold. Big win! That's why to apologize in a relationship...because it's the only way to win.
I want you to know there is someone who can help with your relationship, who loves you and wants only the best for you. That someone is God. If you want help from God, just click on Help Me God.
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