How To Fight Effectively
A major section in my book is the subject of opening our hearts—living in connection. Relationships are such a huge part of the pleasure and wonder of life. And when things aren’t right, it can affect all other areas of life.
If you saw my video after Valentine’s day, I shared how my husband and I had experienced some major stress between us when I went on a working bing for a couple of weeks, working straight through weekends.
Tension had built up. It was coming out in all the awful ways we don’t like: passive aggressiveness, demands, going to bed with issues unresolved.
Here were a couple things that worked effectively to help us resolve the conflict:
DO WHAT IT TAKES TO GET YOURSELF IN A GOOD PLACE
The first step I took was to get myself in a good place through some self-care and spiritual grounding. A couple of hours to myself including some pampering and a decision to make a change helped do this for me.
PLAN A DATE NIGHT TOGETHER TO WORK THROUGH THINGS
We then took some time to plan a “date” night. This was our official time to work through what needed to be worked through. We hired a sitter and went out together as a couple with the intent of partnering through some of the things that had built up.
PLAN ON TWO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS
Ideally when we go into conversations like that, we want to be able to communicate from a higher state of consciousness and a higher frame of mind. However, there are times in the conversation when that may not be the case. Plan on one location to vent and get it all out on the table. Plan on a separate location to make new agreements.
SET A CONTEXT
Begin by setting a context or framework for the conversation. Create a sacred space where it is safe to be expressive and get it all out on the table. Commit to remaining judgment free and to communicate with gracious honesty.
Here’s how ours went:
“I want to reiterate that I am committed to US. I am committed to having a vibrant, loving relationship for the long-term. I own my contribution to what we are experiencing right now, and I admit that there may be times that I may not be able to see my part. Let’s commit to getting it all out on the table and begin fresh. No matter what comes out of my mouth, or how it may sound, please know that deep down in my heart I really do love you.”
FIRST LOCATION: GET IT ALL OUT ON THE TABLE
Now’s the time to get anything out that needs to be addressed. This part can get messy. Of course, it would be easy to say everything lovingly, but the truth is that there may be times it looks like venting. The listener should make every attempt to not interrupt, no matter how “triggered” they may get. Listen all the way until it seems like the other partner has come to a stopping point. Empathize to the best of your ability. Try to imagine what it feels like from his/her point of view.
When my husband and I did this, it took some back and forth. The emotions got more involved the deeper we got. At first the issues were symptomatic issues. They seemed like a big deal until we started digging deeper. It was like peeling the layers of the onion until we got down to the underlying issues. In our case, we are very aware of our root internal messages that get triggered by each other’s behavior. Bringing awareness to those underlying messages always helps. It’s a process of discovery, looking for the deeper stuff going on, “Yep, there it is. Thought we dealt with that, but here it is again.”
This first setting is not for problem solving or issue resolution. It is simply a sacred space for getting it all out.
We kept asking each other, “Is there anything else? Is there anything else?”
Phew, by the time we got through all of this, we were emotionally exhausted. But it felt very loving to feel heard.
SECOND LOCATION: SET NEW AGREEMENTS
There is a tremendous energy shift to move to a new location. By the time we got to the car to drive another 5 minutes to our new location (bookstore), we were already in a different heart place with each other. At the new location, we agreed to sit down and write out the agreements we each were willing to make to better the situation.
Do not commit to an agreement you know you have no intention of keeping. Commit to less, if you have to, but commit to what matters and what you are willing to take personal responsibility for.
For us, we knew setting a few agreements in place would go a long way toward the things that were frustrating each of us. We talked through an updated after-school routine each day of the week to work through logistics and prioritize our family time together. My husband committed to planning our date nights because I shared how it felt to me to be the one initiating them recently. We talked through each of our next weekends and planned them out, and I agreed to not work on my book on the weekend. We agreed to set aside a specific night of the week (not date night) to talk through the financial matters until taxes were complete in April, so it felt like we were partners in the matter and the entirety didn’t fall on just one person. A few powerful agreements felt like we were allies again.
Finally, take the time to connect physically—whatever that looks like for you as a couple (I know this may be its own discussion). The physical connection is a big part of celebrating the emotional connection restored.
Now it is your turn. What ways have you and your partner found that help you “fight” effectively to restore the important connection you desire?
Loving you, ~V