What is going on in our adult relationships is directly connected to our early childhood attachment experiences. Even if you have learned an avoidant, ambivalent, or disorganized attachment style, “we never lose our inherent capacity for secure attachment” (Diane Poole Heller). Our close, loving relationships offer the perfect realm to develop secure attachment skills with our partner.
Have you been in one of those arguments where you cannot believe that your partner does not remember an event the way you do? Yet, you are sure they are wrong and will remember again how it really was if you just remind them of what they said or did? Here is why arguing about the accuracy of past events is a terrible idea.
The struggle to apologize is widespread. Most of us have been conditioned to shame ourselves when we are told that we have done something “wrong.” Instead of taking ownership and mending a rift with the other person, we often minimize, ridicule, get defensive, explain, or become angry. Because our feelings of shame are so uncomfortable, we do not usually take the step to empathize with the other person and deliver a heartfelt apology.
Right now, the splits in our society are more profound and more palpable than ever, and we are faced with what appears to be unsolvable conflicts. How can we get out of this polarization and bridge the divide?
Have you ever felt too angry to speak to a family member, friend, or your partner? Or you could sense that they were mad at you, and you avoided them out of fear of having a conflict? How do you get past the anger and have a productive and heart-open conversation?
Can you talk openly and comfortably with your partner about money? Our attitudes towards money are often based in our childhood experiences and the money beliefs we have learned. It starts with understanding what motivates you and your partner to save and spend. Then you can work towards changing any limiting financial beliefs or limiting emotional connections to be able to work towards the same goals.
Having conflicts or disagreements does not indicate that a relationship is in trouble. What is essential is to address disagreements consciously and communicate well with each other when we have a dispute. Here are 8 agreements to set up with your partner regarding a fair fight.
When expressing our thoughts and feelings we need to use I-statements. Unfortunately, an “I statement” can also be twisted into criticism. Here are three examples of how to phrase successful I-Statements that do not make the other person defensive.
In 1997 psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron explored whether intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated by having them ask each other 36 increasingly more personal questions. In 2015, Aron’s questions went viral starting with New York Times journalist Mandy Len Catron, who used the 36 questions in a self-experiment and did indeed fall in love with a stranger. That made me curious if this set of questions would be a good dating tool and what other applications they might have.
Passive-aggressiveness is a strategy developed in childhood out of a feeling of powerlessness, and carried into adulthood and into our relationships as the automatic response when there is a conflict. How does it look and why is it so infuriating?
If you dare to be happier than your parents, more vulnerable and more intimate with your spouse than they were able to be, you are forging into new territory for your whole ancestral line. You are changing the future for your children and grandchildren, who will have you as new role models. Here are five relationship strategies that help you create a more harmonic intimate partnership or marriage.