I am passionate about helping all of you thrive not only as individuals but through your most intimate relationships.
So many of you ask me dating, romance and relationship questions in reply to my funny IG stories that often include very silly moments between me and my hubby Jay. All of your sweet and curious DMs inspired me so much that I decided to start my own Sunday series “Love Bomb” – where each Sunday I will pick a topic you suggest related to thriving relationships, intimacy, dating, marriage, sex, etc. In our modern world of romance – filled with cyber walls, swipes of left (maybe right), and fewer in person connections – I truly believe real intimacy is more important than ever.
It is easy to forget that the human primate is fundamentally selfish, self-centered, fickle, moody, influenceable by groups and trends, always aware of what’s missing, and the list goes on! We’re bad at communication and our ability to trust our perceptions is highly overrated. We are easily threatened, even by those we love and we are stubborn as hell. Despite our biology and the modern culture changing the landscape of intimacy, I am still a romantic at heart believing in the value of long term relationships and intimacy. So stay tuned! I’ll be posting a Love Bomb video series on my Instagram along with a reoccurring Sunday blog post.
Moving to a new house has recently created a LOT of stress and strain on my relationship, and it reminded me that when we have a lot of external stress in life, all relationships come under pressure and it is SO easy and (dare I say) NORMAL for fights to occur.
Last week while all the hardwood floors were being re-stained I accidentally stepped one thigh high boot on a step I thought was NOT being re-stained. Jay watched the whole situation and was absolutely LIVID! He saw his money, effort and time all being ruined because of my clumsy mistake. He saw this as a sign he could not count on or rely upon me. Everything was eventually fine and the stair was easy to repair, but we nearly ended up in WWIII with each other. Thankfully we both have had enough practice in healthy fighting that we could repair and make up before bedtime that day.
I recently started watching Stranger Things (YAY so happy Season Three is back!) and when Eleven and Mike get into their major fight in Episode 2 I was reminded just how important it is for couples to battle external stress together instead of making each other the enemy.
So in honor of the fights we all go through (sorry guys but challenges and some fighting never goes away) I thought I would write about a related topic: relationship arguments and fighting fair.
How can we gracefully enter and exit the inevitable arguments of relationships and marriage? How can we fight and still remain loving toward our loved ones? How can we disagree and still be on the same team?
Recognize and Accept that No One Is Perfect
We all make mistakes. We all lash out in moments of heated emotions toward the ones we love the most. But being able to develop you empathy muscle and realize that although your partner is generally and wonderful person, he or she is allowed to be human and make some mistakes. Just like you are human and also make mistakes.
Take Some Time
Let the dust settle if needed. Sometimes our emotions are so high and heated it is better to go for a walk and cool off. When we rush to make a point we often escalate the situation and cause unnecessary damage to the other person’s feelings. It can be tempting to try to “win” the fight as soon as possible, and prove you are correct, but it’s truly not worth it! You will only create resentment in your partner, and trust me…you will not win the war this way! Always communicate your intention for a bit of space! Tell your partner you need an hour or two to be by yourself and then you will be in a better spot to continue the discussion. Be sure to communicate this need for space…or else you will just look like you are stonewalling your partner with silence. And stonewalling is not a healthy behavior!
Take Time to Truly Listen and Be Present
After our recent hardwood floor blow out fight, Jay and I were able to sit down together and be present to hear the other person’s perspective. Even though I felt hurt at the time, I opened my ears and heart to what he was feeling. By listening and by being present, I was able to figure out that I had triggered a deep childhood fear in him. His anger was not about the floor but about a fear that one day would need to count on me and trust me with something and he would not be able to put that faith in me. This was very critical for me to understand, and I truly think that being open and listening to our partner helps foster huge opportunities for deeper growth as a couple. If I had been yelling or emotionally reactive instead of actively listening, I would have never learned about Jay’s deep childhood fears.
FACE EACH OTHER IN PERSON
We are visual creatures that read body language, tone of voice, and other micro behaviors. Make sure to sit down face to face, with good eye contact, when you do decide to discuss your fight. If we are texting or on the phone intentions and phrases can be misunderstood, and meanings and tones of voice inaccurately inferred.
This can be SO HARD, because we often are only focused on proving our point. Instead try to view the act of apologizing as a collaborative effort toward repairing the wholeness of your relationship. The more you view your relationship as a collaborative effort that you both equally benefit from when you both win, the easier it becomes to make that apology and repair.
Treat yourselves to some romance ASAP – Once you have openly listened, discussed and apologized it time to get those good hormones cooking! Go on a date, picnic, cook a nice meal together, or just do something relaxing and fun that you guys find romantic. This bonding time will remind you why you are together and why you love that person.
I would love to hear from you!
Comment below and let me know what postmodern dating conundrum you would like me to discuss in next week’s Love Bomb post!
And if you are wondering how to best strengthen your relationship after a fight, check out this Love Bomb post on daily rituals to strengthen your bond!