We had our first fight yesterday.
This woman is the most amazingly beautiful creature I've ever met. She is strong and vulnerable. The most inspirational leader and supportive partner.
She makes me want to be the husband she thinks I am.
We met online.
I wasn't looking for a wife, she certainly didn't want a husband.
Neither of us were expecting the other to be soul mate material.
We thought certainly our differences in beliefs about spiritual or political issues to be the wedges that pushed us apart. It was the subject of our first fight.
Heated arguments rarely accomplish anything. We're both fire types. Trying to reassert our points did nothing to help. We have a tendency to speak louder when we aren't feeling heard. What we should've done, was listen.
Had we listened, we would've understood each other better. It would've been a better learning experience. The goal is to learn and love one another, that takes listening and understanding.
It means setting aside our personal beliefs long enough to understand the other's, and accepting it as part of who they are. Whether or not we agree is irrelevant. What is relevant, is can we love the other person despite the differences.
Arguments are less about who's right and who's wrong, more about "I'm not being heard". It reminds me of a story my German teacher told the class some thirty years ago.
An American was in Germany and went to a magazine kiosk to buy stamps, but didn't speak German. "You got any stamps?"
The man behind the kiosk didn't speak English, and just looked back with a blank stare.
"Do you have any stamps?" He said again.
"DO YOU SELL STAMPS?!" as if saying it louder would break the language barrier.
That's how most people argue… As if reiterating their points at a louder volume will break the language barrier. It doesn't.
Just like that American needed different language skills to get his point across, we need different skills to settle disagreements more quickly and amicably.
Please, for the sake of your relationship, learn how to listen.
It means stop talking. Listen to what your partner is saying, understand that first, so you can clarify what isn't being said. Your partner has a point. Whether or not you agree is, again, irrelevant. What's their point? Why is it important?
With communication, the speaker will use those words that have deep emotional connection to their experience. It is because of their experience that their words may or may not have the same meaning as yours. This is why it's important to use their words to restate their point.
Once you understand your partner, then, and only then, should you state your point. I highly recommend doing so calmly. A soft answer will always turn wrath away. If your partner doesn't understand, explain; without getting frustrated. Remember, saying it louder doesn't break the language barrier.
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Jon Newton is TheRapportCoach. He teaches how to use the neuroscience behind relationships to create extraordinary experiences between humans. From personal to business relationships, Jon helps humans navigate humanity.