A love relationship is like the sea. Sometimes the sailing is smooth and other times it’s rough and stormy. An experienced mermaid can look at a beautiful day, feel a particular dullness in her scaly tail and sense that a storm is coming. A typhoon builds slowly and steadily, providing some advanced notice to batten down your hatches. A chubasco offers no warning before unleashing sudden rain, thunder and howling wind that appear out of nowhere. Like the mermaid, how can you sense that a storm is brewing in your relationship? How can you stop a fight before it starts?
Your mate may know every detail and statistic about his favorite ball player and have no clue what you are feeling. Conversely, do you always understand precisely what is nagging at him? An entirely beautiful day can be tormented by the smallest and most inconsequential remark by a rude waitress or a lousy boss. It doesn’t take much to get hurt, frustrated or angry, especially in these times when we are pulled in so many directions.
Following, are four ways to right your ship and set your love boat back on course.
1. Be Present
Your mate comes home from work and clearly he is not happy. He barely nods hello. Grabbing a beer, he slams the refrigerator shut. The bottle opener is buried deep in a drawer and he makes a lot of noise searching for it. Not finding a clean glass, he is forced to drink from the bottle. Unable to find chips, he swears under his breath. You ask, “Honey, what’s the matter?” Curt, he answers, “Nothing.” Clearly, something is brewing. Far out at sea, lightening strikes. What does this mean? Does he want a divorce? Or did he lose the football game pool at the office?
All human beings are fragile and tender creatures. We rarely know what we are honestly feeling at any given time. We are conditioned to bear the pain and keep marching. The slightest comment or perceived disrespect can easily cause us great pain, which naturally decays into ugly resentment. Touchy, we may attack when provoked.
In our fast paced lives, there is little time for meditation or to be present to the present moment and what we are feeling in that moment. Rather than jump into the fray, aspire to quiet meditation and aim for tranquility and quiet. Do your best to listen to yourself and your mate. Identify the feelings, allow them to exist and seek out their source.
What is the cause of the current storm or threat to your relationship? Are you lucky, actualized and self-aware enough to know? If your answer is yes, then the next step is to prioritize the threat. Is this something to be worried about? Or not?
Create a scale. This can help you find a very clear and objective view to your situation. Zero is love and eternal happiness. Ten is divorce. Where does your current dilemma fall? Are you overreacting? Put things in perspective. More often than not, problems seem overblown at first.
3. Pause. Take a step back.
Arguing is dangerous if emotions run high and suddenly issues are invited to join the party that have been lying dormant. Perhaps those thoughts were best unsaid. When Humans are reactive and arguments tend to escalate.
A hurt animal needs time to lick its wounds. There are many times when your mate needs to be left alone. Give him time to sort it out and ponder. Hopefully he will do the same for you. It is a gesture of courtesy.
If an issue needs to be discussed, bring it up when you are both calm and can listen to each other without blaming or criticizing.
4. Seek a diplomat.
We need each other and fighting can signal a cry for help. If you are able to step away, a trusted confidante, particularly a neutral or positive one, can often be of great help in lending advice, comfort and counsel.
If you can remain objective, without reacting, you can be your own best mediator. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Put your own frustrations aside briefly to understand your mate’s perspective. Listen closely.
5. Give Something Up.
To heal an argument, always be prepared to sacrifice something. You and your mate are a team and together you are making a place for yourselves in this world. What can you give to find a solution? Ignore what you desire for his contribution, or lack thereof. Focus on your efforts. Yield to what’s best for “we” instead of focusing on the “me”. That’s the key to a long-lasting love affair.
Relationships are tricky business. Like managing a business, the job should not be taken lightly. Approach a problem, large or small, with great seriousness. It takes both of you to cross these worthwhile seas.