An interesting thing about practicing couples counselling in Manchester is that I get to see “inside” lots of couple’s relationships. A common feature of many of them is that there is one partner who has this burning need to be “right” about any arguments that arise. So let’s think about this for a few moments.
There are so many situations where there is no “right”. There are just two views, two opinions. No one can be more right than the other. When you force your opinion on your partner then you may win the argument but you lose something far more precious. It is likely that your partner will feel hurt, angry or unseen by you. Over time these feelings erode the bond between you and your partner and the relationship starts to get into difficulty.
So what’s the answer? Well I guess it goes back to that saying “God gave us two ears and one mouth”. Listen to your partner. Hear what he or she says to you. We all make up stories in our heads about what happened and your partner’s story is just as valid as yours.
You can learn this in Couples Counselling
Listening is a pretty big feature in the couples counselling practice I use in Manchester. Imago Relationship Therapy emphsises one speaker, called the “sender” and one listener, called the “receiver”. By learning how to talk through problems in this way both parties get a real understanding of where their partner is coming from. I’ve got to say I love it!! I love watching couples start to understand each other and hear each other for the first time. I love seeing the partner who usually has to back down slowly emerge from that cave they have been hiding in for protection and start to express their thoughts and feelings as they start to feel safe in the relationship. I love watching the partner who needed to be right move away from that position and start to connect with the person in front of them in a different way. When we feel love and empathy for our partner that need to be right tends to dissolve into the ether.
So next time you’re in a big debate about whether Auntie Mabel came last Wednesday or last Thursday, or who actually bought the Depeche Mode CD that you both have on your MP3 player anyway, just think – “does it really matter?” Quit bickering and give your partner a hug instead!