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All of our relationships, particularly with those we love, exist for a single beautiful purpose that expresses itself in two different ways. First, our partner – whether spouse, that “special” someone, or even a would-be companion – is in our life to help us grow; to provide just the conditions we need to become that better, truer person that they see in us, just waiting to be brought forth. But the other and equally important half of this same purpose and promise – without which the first part can’t be realized – is as follows: our partner is also there in our life to help us see everything in us that now stands in the way of our realizing this same higher possibility.
Here are three ways to use difficult situations with your partner to help you fulfill the true purpose of your relationships.
#1 – See Your Secret Similarity With Your Partner
Do you have a negative reaction every time you see your partner do something stupid, especially a repeated behavior that literally drives you up a wall?
The next time you want to jump on your partner for a misstep, try this: instead of unconsciously remembering all the reasons you have for opposing them in that moment, do your level best to remember where and how you have missed the mark in a similar way. Consciously choosing to recollect your similarity with your partner's character not only disarms the part of you about to pounce upon it, but this level of self-honesty also dispels the illusion of difference imagined between the two of you, replacing it with a compassionate consideration born of wisdom and love.
#2 – Speak Up Without Attacking
Does your partner do things that make you so angry? And then you wonder if it’s wrong for you to step up and to speak your mind about how you feel?
It’s not wrong to speak up, but realize there's a big difference between bringing up an issue, some concern you have with your partner, and striking back at them in pain over what you would blame them for. In other words, it's not so much what you say, but “who” – what part of you– starts talking for you in that moment. Here’s one good way to ensure that you choose the right time for engaging your partner over any problem brewing between the two of you: wait, patiently – even if it takes twenty-four hours –until whatever part of you that feels compelled to blame, or that wants to complain, subsides. By following these instructions, you’ll be aware of your negative state, instead of acting as its unconscious instrument.
#3 – Take Responsibility for Your Own Emotions
Does it seem like your partner likes to fight? Try as you may to stay detached, they always manage to drag you into an argument, and you wonder how you can get them to see what they’re doing to your relationship.
But let’s be honest here. Blaming someone else’s anger for our inability to remain above and untouched by its negative influence is like resenting a rain cloud for getting us wet when we walk outside and into its downpour. The only thing that can drag us into a fight with our partner, regardless of what they want to fight with us over, is an in-the-dark part of us that’s secretly been waiting for a good fight. If you really want to stop fighting, and free both of you at the same time, then set the following intention, here and now, as if your life depends on it: no matter what, refuse to climb into the ring the next time they want to rumble. The more you’re able to observe these parts of yourself that are so easily enticed to fight, the clearer it will become who you can no longer afford to be. And once you’re able to stay out of the ring, then who is left there for your partner to fight with? No longer having any opponent, your partner will be able to see – and hopefully set down – the same parts in them that you did. Peace will fall onto your house.
Adapted from Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together by Guy Finley.
©2018 Guy Finley
Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.