Have you ever asked yourself why some of the biggest arguments you get into with your partner are often over the smallest, seemingly most unimportant things? I ask myself this frequently. Especially after engaging in an argument that in retrospect seemed so pointless. I certainly don’t relish in the idea of arguing. Especially since it seems to take up so much energy that I would rather use for more important and meaningful things. But for some reason, being “right” is something that I and so many people struggle with in relationships. A common question that gets asked is … Is being right more important than being happy? My question is, why can you have both? It is possible for both you and your partner to be right in your own ways, based on your own life experiences? And it is also possible to not agree and still be happy? I think so.
Finding connection in our differences
When you and your partner don’t disagree, it may seem like the world beneath you has crumbled because “they’re not who I thought they were.” On the contrary, they probably are exactly who you thought they were, they just happen to take a different stance on an issue, or opinion. These differences are important because discussions about how we differ is opportunity for growth in a relationship. It is an opportunity to learn about the other person, to become more connected, and to see things in a way you may not have thought about them before.
It is natural to often have a visceral reaction when our partner doesn’t agree with us. We may start thinking that they don’t agree with us because ie. They don’t support us, they don’t believe in us, they don’t’ care about us… when in reality, they don’t see the world exactly the same way we do. And why should they? Every person has unique experiences including challenges, adversity, loss, grief, happiness, relationships, and the list goes on. The key is to listen to the reason someone thinks or feels the way they do. This is the perfect opportunity to sit with the discomfort you may feel when your partner doesn’t agree with you, listen, and allow their experience to broaden the way you see the world around you. Allow their strengths to bolster your own. Besides, if your partner was exactly like you, the odds are good that you would be bored beyond belief and looking for a way out.
Don’t tear your partner down
Sometimes there when we are trying to prove why we’re right. We often take jabs at our partners in an effort to prove why they are wrong. Instead of talking to each other, and finding a way to work through the discomfort, we pick at each other and pit ourselves against each other widening the divide, when what we really want is to narrow it. This way of communicating is detrimental to a relationship because it often comes at the expense of belittling, humiliating, or disrespecting our partner. And what relationship really thrives under those circumstances? By doing this it eliminates a safe space in which to safely discuss things like experiences and feelings.