Think back to the last time with your spouse. I’m sure it crossed your mind, “Is this guy thinking?” “Is she trying to make things worse?” The irony is neither side is trying to run the relationship into the ground. Each is doing their best to get back to love. The catch is each side has very different ideas of what the ingredients of repair are. There are three ingredients that partners size up differently. Being aware of these enable each to see the other’s good intentions and catch the love.
One difference is method. Some folks believe deeply addressing problems on the spot is the best strategy. Be direct and forthright. Rip off the band-aid no matter how painful that will be. Others are compromisers. They value agreeing to disagree. Sidestep the problem and focus on the common ground. Why let the pesky disagreement ruin the overwhelming good that exists?
Timing’s another difference. Some folks can’t last long in a fight. Their anger boils faster than a kettle and they end up fighting two battles at the same time. One is with their partner. The other is fighting to suppress rage. Other people can keep their cool and even thrive on conflict. Another time issue is when to fight. One partner might treat fights like text messaging. Open it up immediately no matter where or when. Other partners feel there’s a time and place for fights – in private and later when tempers have cooled.
The last area of difference is what resolution means. Not everyone wants an apology but those that do really do. Practical and concrete solutions are important but not to everyone. For others, vague promises hyper-charged with emotional energy is what’s meaningful.
Fighting well is what makes love grow. What “well” means is not straightforward. Keep an open mind to what good fighting means for your partner. Be aware of your own fight beliefs. Finally, incorporate both into every fight you have. This will go a long way in making space for both of you to stay in love.
Yonasan Bender, SW graduated from Hebrew University’s School of Social Work. He has his psychotherapy practice at The Place: The Jerusalem Centre for Emotional Wellbeing. To share your thoughts, experiences, questions, or a different perspective, you can reach Yonasan Bender at 053-808-0435 or email him by clicking HERE. To learn more about him and his work, click HERE.
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The Place is where therapists, individuals and the community connect to create safety, strength and success. At The Place, men and women discover the freedom and safety to move past those issues which are preventing them from living life to its fullest. Our goal is to help each of our clients discover his or her own strengths as powerful tools in the healing process.
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At The Place, male and female therapists work independently or as a team to explore sensitive issues and facilitate positive change for individuals, couples and families from all sectors of the community. Some of our specialties include emotional eating, grief counseling, internet addiction, phobias, anxiety & OCD, childhood challenges, premarital counseling, couples therapy and intimacy issues, postpartum support, personality disorders, psychiatric care, and more. Connect with a caring professional in person at our comfortable Jerusalem offices, or by video, phone, and text. We’re here for you.
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