When you’re in love, everything’s perfect. Feels like a match made in heaven. The happily ever after you’ve always dreamed of. You wish it would stay that way.
Reality check. Things won’t always be going smoothly. There’s bound to be bumps down that road. There’ll be snags along the way.
Squabbles and misunderstandings will arise however much you guard against them. While they’re a menace to relationships, they somehow serve a purpose. They help couples get to know themselves and understand each other better.
Having had my share of tiffs, I’m beginning to have a better understanding of this aspect of relationships. Here’s a rundown of things I’ve learned thus far. There’s more I need to know for sure but this is a good start.
You are not perfect. Neither is your partner. Both of you have shortcomings. Be more accepting and forgiving of each other. Don’t get into the habit of faultfinding.
Pointing fingers at each other doesn’t help. Remember, when you point a finger 3 more are pointing back at you. Stop thinking you’re right and your partner is wrong. Swinging to the other extreme and acting like the aggrieved party doesn’t help either.
You’ll never be exactly the same. Sometimes your views or choices will differ. That’s normal because you’re two separate individuals. Remember this is not a contest or a power struggle. Compromise or agree to disagree.
Don’t try to change your partner. No one wants to be controlled or manipulated. If there’s something you want to change, start with yourself. Once you’ve changed, your partner may respond accordingly.
Your partner is not a mind reader. Express your thoughts and feelings. This includes even those small issues that bother you. Don’t trivialize them. Don’t sweep them under the rug lest they fester and cause a major and oftentimes misplaced emotional outburst.
Don’t keep scores of each other’s faults. In that kind of competition, no one wins.
It’s easier to settle issues when you discuss and not argue. In bringing up a concern, remember that your timing, approach & tone make a lot of difference. Going on the offensive puts your partner on the defensive. You will have better chances of getting answers if you calmly ask the right questions.
Never take your partner’s feelings for granted. Always appreciate each other. Don’t get tired of saying “I love you. Please. Thank you.” The little things count a lot.
Let love be a constant. When in a tiff, make a distinction that the issue is about not liking what was said or done. Hate the sin but love the sinner.
Don’t meet fire with fire. If one is fuming mad then it is not a good time to discuss. Don’t engage. Let it pass. But if you must speak, choose your words wisely. Keep it short. No need to shout and swear. A flair for the dramatics will just aggravate the situation.
Remember that there are two sides to every situation. When having a misunderstanding, clearly explain yourself then listen with an open mind to your partner’s side of the story. You’re not the only one getting hurt, you know. You both have a point.
Never let pride get in the way. Saying “I’m sorry” (even when you know you’re right) and admitting your mistakes make a big difference.
Don’t let squabbles drag on. Settle them and move on. Get on with the loving.
Finally, once tiffs are settled, stop bringing them up again. This is one situation where sequels won’t do you any good.
With every dispute, life is trying to teach us lessons. Learn them. Once we know better, we do better.