One of the hardest things in any relationship is to truly listen to the other person. It means putting your own thoughts and feelings on the side long enough to truly hear the other person. Unfortunately most couples never learn how to do this. There is no Relationship 101 in school; If you are reading this article than your probably didn’t have the greatest role models at home to teach you how to resolve an argument.
I guess a question to ask ourselves is: “Do I want to win this argument or Do I want to resolve this problem.” You may or may not be surprised to your own response to this question. Most people choose winning. Most people are invested in proving that they are obviously right and their partner should see the light.
The good news is when you win you feel justified. The bad news: if you win the argument, both of you lose. No one feels good when they lose and argument, and they are certainly are not going to feel warm to their partner. The most often response is withdrawal, so the winners feel righteous but they have lost the presence of their partner. Often the winner talks faster, is more convincing, puts their thoughts to better more quickly. This leaves the other person feeling bad about themselves, often saying that I just don’t argue as well. If you truly want to hear solve the problem, than you really need to put yourself in the shoes of your partner.Why is that? No one, I mean no one, likes to be criticized, be told that the way they do things is wrong.
I think the bulk of us actually need a class in relationship 101. Sometimes that class is available in workshops, sometimes within individual therapy. Most couples believe that they have had successful therapy if they feel they experience the ability to resolve issues at home.
Randy Weled-Expert writer from Golden Gate Counseling Center San Francisco