A few weeks ago my husband and I had a fight. When we first married, 20-plus years ago, we had fights once or twice a week. Now, once or twice a year. What changed?
We’ve been practicing a form of communication called ReSpeak. It eliminated most of our conflicts, and created a foundation of kindness that is now our habitual default.
Most of our disagreements now are perceived as humorous and with an understanding that we both have our own unique perceptions of the world and that’s okay . . . nobody’s right nobody’s wrong. Instead, we find ourselves saying, “Isn’t it interesting that you see it that way!”
I don’t know why we lost our dignity in this recent fight. The topic that we were arguing over was one of our old points of contention. As the fight began, I was aware of moments when I could have chosen to change the direction we were headed, but at each of those pivotal moments I chose to escalate.
After about 20 minutes we decided to take a break. Usually in times of tension we turn toward each other, but not this time. We turned away. And that meant that some cooling down time and a fresh perspective was needed.
What I profoundly realized—after getting some distance on the thing—was how what we were doing was utterly crazy! How ugly and unnecessary and sad it was to treat each other in such an immature way. My husband is the person I love the most. How could we be treating each other as though we were enemies?
This perspective had never been so clear to me. And I realized that this is what’s happening in politics, international relations, and, heaven help us, it needs to stop. It’s CRAZY!!
My Best Friend
Imagine treating your partner like you would treat your best friend—because your partner could and likely should be your best friend.
We’ve often jokingly called our Reology Retreats, “Sane Asylums.” Asylums for gathering our sanity. Lately we feel this is even more appropriate. We perceive it is insane to treat each other any less than kindly. And un-kindness seems to be too common in too many relationships.
If couples are a poorly matched, peaceful relating will be far harder. This is why we advocate choosing your partner cautiously. Choosing a partner who you feel the need to change seldom turns out well.
If there are too many differences between you and your partner, there will be too much tension.
If you are currently in a relationship where you cannot treat each other kindly, regardless of good intentions, we strongly encourage you to question why you stay.
Kids are often the reason for staying. But children need to be exposed to loving environments, not constant bickering and fighting or they’ll grow up thinking that’s what love is. And —
That Isn’t What Love Is
Sometimes splitting up can be a better option, even a kind gift to kids, showing them that they can make healthier choices for themselves. Two peaceful households will be better than one filled with tension.
And love . . . well, we need to surround ourselves with love and extend love to people in our lives. This is truly the only sane way to live our lives and ultimately to make the world a better place.