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Same Event. . . Different Scores!
or. . . If We're in This Together Why Aren't We On the Same Team?
Perhaps it's all about interpretation! Maybe men and women really are from
different planets! Could it be true that we all experience contrasting
realities of the same event? Do we all think we are right? Are we committed to hold on to that opinion? Does this make us happy in our relationships?
Here's the scenario. You've had a stressful day. Hardly anything went as
planned. You arrive at home and discover that your partner has experienced a similar kind of day. You begin to notice that you are taking your day out on your partner (or maybe you don't notice). He says this. She says that. It starts out little and in no time ALL of your buttons begin to get pushed.
As the misunderstanding gains momentum, what began as a small, insignificant
comment, is now causing the pot to simmer. Couples who are considerate of
each others feelings would most likely allow this kind of thing to pass on a
normal day. The feelings of both partners goes from "It was a bad day, and
I'll survive" to "Let me outta here! I don't need this in my relationship!"
It's like a snowball rolling downhill. It get's bigger and BIGGER and
suddenly it mushrooms into a major confrontation. She says this. That makes him even more angry. He says that. Now she's really pissed!
When disagreements cause you to experience anger, in the middle of all of
this, seldom does anyone ever stop to consider the damage that is being done
by the choice of words that are spoken. Anger underminds your ability to be
considerate of the one you say you love. Sure, it's wise to let off steam, in a loving way, of course, but the pot shouldn't be allowed to boil over.
That's when things get messy.
Some people have an event like this and never talk about it again. Then they continue to wonder why the same thing happens over and over again.
Mature love partners will allow for a time of "cooling off," then in their
most gentle and understanding way talk the situation through so each can be
complete with it. They give up being right and instead choose a happier path.
Stressful events are not there to break us, they are there to make us
stronger; to help us learn from the experience and make our time together a
time of expressing love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness.
If problems are not discussed and responsibility acknowledged by each partner for their share of the problem, then the next time one of those small, insignificant everyday misunderstandings occur, the same stuff is likely to surface.
Often the conversation about the event goes like this. Based upon what she
said, he's says: "I know we were both in the same argument and we are upset
about different things!" Brilliant insight, I might add! Perhaps it IS all
about interpretation! Anger distorts our ability to interpret accurately. He continues, "I can't believe you said that! That's just not the way it
Suddenly he shouts, "Next time I'm going to video the argument because based
upon YOUR interpretation you could not have been in the same place that I
And she is thinking the same thing!
You both experienced the same event but each scored the event differently.
Each person recalled the event in THEIR own way; both arguing THEIR point of
When this happens, rarily do we consider our partners position. We dig in to protect our turf. This is a deadly game for relationships. Forget "settling the score," or "getting even." People who really love each other do not practice this kind of destructive score settling.
In the middle of disagreement our need to be right causes us to experience
contrasting realities. This is immature behavior that needs to change for
BOTH partners to experience the kind of relationship that nurtures and
supports each partner in a loving way. This is the path to a healthy love
Since you are both on the same team, perhaps you should practice some friendly huddles. Put your heads together and reach some new agreements. Design some new intentions about how you will respond if the same thing comes up in the future.
Someone has to be the first to LISTEN! That is the first step in the right
direction. Really listen! When you pay attention to what your love partner
is saying instead of instantly defending your position, it can change the
outcome to one of understanding, acceptance and love. It is a wise partner
who, in the middle of disagreement, can begin to focus on what their partner
is feeling and what they are REALLY saying. Maybe, just maybe you will hear
what they have been trying to tell you for a long time. Perhaps some new
insights about your relationship will be discovered. Would it be worth it?
Listen to ALL your partner has to say. When it is your turn to speak, you
consciously evaluate your participation in the matter. When you are tempted
to spew venom, you must instantly begin mulling over several response options! This is a sign of maturity.
You know what you WANT to say because you may be angry, but instead you reinvent what you used to say by immediately constructing several better ways to say it (all this is done in several seconds), and you instantly determine which way would best help you both reach a conclusion that might avoid a major confrontation.
You speak and watch a miracle occur right there in front of your eyes.
When you respond differently than your partner expected (based on past
behavior), most likely THEY will respond likewise. It can change the outcome of the game. This new behavior is an open invitation to be on the same team.
Now you both will come up with the same score because. . . now you know the score.
Copyright © - Larry James - Adapted from the book,
"How to Really Love the One You're With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship" by Larry James
If you would like to talk
one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a
private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching
for specific details.
Relationship books by Larry James:
How to Really Love the One You're With:
Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship
LoveNotes for Lovers:
Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing
Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers (Career Assurance Press).
Author Larry James is a professional speaker. He presents "Relationship Enrichment LoveShops" nationally for singles and couples. More About Larry James
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