If you are looking to be perfect…..forget it. No individual can be perfect and I am not sure there is such a thing as “the perfect relationship”, as each relationship is unique.
No one person can prevent us from feeling anger, disappointment or hurt. We cannot be satisified all of the time, disappointment is part of life. Even with years of personal therapy behind me, I still get ‘triggered’ by my partner, I catch it quicker these days and know it is a reaction in me, not that he has hurt me or done something wrong to me. My awareness of this saves us from hours of wasted arguments or days of a ‘cold war’ between us. My partner is also able to recognize and own what is his reaction and not always find me the cause of it.
In couples counselling or marriage counselling there is always a large component of psycho-education, especially around difference. In our western culture and in the dominant model of marriage, difference is seen as bad, a threat and something to try and decrease. Conflict is often a means of trying to get rid of difference, “if he just does it this way, then there will be no arguing” or “If she just sees it my way, which makes more sense, then there is no problem”.
Does this sound or feel familiar to you? Holding on to our way, “being right” is a very common cause of conflict…. For you to be right, the other must be wrong…. And if both people feel like this, and hang on to their way of viewing the issue, you can have entrenched conflict with no room for compromise and certainly no room for difference. Escalation, explosion then withdrawal is what usually happens.
Most couple issues are to do with how they deal with difference, rather than a specific issue or issues. For this reason psycho-education is a big component of couples work. You can’t be in a relationship without your own childhood issues coming up, it’s impossible for this not to happen. Your choice is to try and push them away or deal with them.
Couples work is hard and rewarding, it is personally challenging and offers exciting room for personal growth and relationship passion.
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