I often work with people on their relationships, beyond the sexual stuff. One question I get frequently is “how do you communicate in a relationship without fighting” – and the answer is what this article is all about.
One reason we end up having the same arguments over and over again is because we’ve gotten into a habit of assuming the worst about our partner – instead of the best.
You start to see their behaviour or lack of action as a sign of something negative, which in turn leads to communication mishaps and conflict.
By switching perspectives, you can let go of the small annoyances and focus on what your partner does to make you happy. This is one of many things that keep a relationship alive.
Now, this isn’t to say that there are never situations where your partner makes selfish decisions or doesn’t listen. They’re only human and we all make these kinds of mistakes (yes, even you and I do it!).
However, the question is: will your relationship improve by you constantly focusing on your partner’s faults and interpreting them as malicious? Or could changing your perspective from assuming the worst to assuming the best be better for you and your relationship?
Below are four common examples I’ve heard of as a sex and relationship therapist and coach. And they all help you switch perspectives so you won’t have to ask “how do you communicate in a relationship without fighting” any time soon again.
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This one hurts. You’ve hinted and told your partner explicitly what you want. You’ve even surprised your partner yourself, all to let them know how much you’d love a surprise. For you, surprises equal love and it’s how you feel the most appreciated and cared for. When they don’t deliver the goods it causes feeling unwanted in a relationship.
But instead of looking at what they’re not doing – what would happen if you employed some healthy relationship expectations by shifting perspective and looked at what they are doing.
Perhaps they always make sure to buy your favourite juice from that shop downtown?
Or maybe they clean the bathroom meticulously to make sure it’s fresh because they know you love that.
What are they actually doing, and could you look at the actions they are taking as signs of love? Because they likely are.
This is a difficult one – work is a non-negotiable – we need to work in order to pay our bills and put food on the table. However, how our partner chooses to work or their line of work isn’t always what we feel is important.
Maybe they’re prioritizing work in order to be able to buy you gifts – because that’s how they show their love?
Or perhaps they’re working towards a big goal that you used to dream of together, like going on holiday or staying at that fancy hotel you drive by every day?
What if their priorities aren’t a sign of finding work more important at all? What if it’s a token of their love?
For some people, words of appreciation are an important way of feeling loved and sexy – it’s what triggers sexual desire. For others, it’s more about acts of service; surprising the other, or physical connection; hugging and kissing and holding you at night.
See what happens if you change your frame of mind to focusing on what your partner is doing to validate your looks.
Maybe they’re constantly touching you or giving you quick massages.
Perhaps they’re always the first one to suggest having a bath together?
Or maybe they’re really good at buying you clothes for your birthday?
Flip the script and assume the best about your partner; it will probably make you feel better and you’ll avoid the same old fights.
How do you communicate in a relationship without fighting? Well, fighting in relationships is unavoidable – however, fighting about the same old things day in and day out – isn’t.
Changing the way you think about your partner’s actions or inaction might just be all you need to stop the incessant conflicts.
Ask yourself how you know what you think you know, and see if assuming good intent instead of bad intent makes a difference.
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With 10 years of experience in the helping profession - Leigh helps her clients create stress-free, shame-free, pressure-free sex lives, through her unique combination of sexological science, psychotherapeutic & coaching tools.
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