This is something I hear from almost every woman or couple I work with. They think “we’re just so different” is the reason they argue about so many things. And wonder “how do we make this work when we can’t agree on anything”.
Frequent arguments about the same things play out day after day, month after month, year after year. You begin to wonder if you married the right person.
Earlier in my own marriage this is exactly how things played out.
My husband and I are different is so many ways.
He’s more private and I’m more open, he’s quiet, I’m loud and outgoing. Those are the obvious differences.
Then there’s the differences that you discover as situations arise in your day to day life.
For example, I’d be frustrated and annoyed when we had poor service at a restaurant. I’d complain about it and then ask my husband, what do you think? Aren’t you pissed that the service was so awful?
He was not bothered by it, didn’t notice or didn’t really care.
What? What do you mean you’re not bothered by it? How can you not be bothered by it? We get bad service and you’re not even upset about it. And on and on.
Do you ever get mad at your partner because they don’t share the same emotion about something?
When I was outraged about something I expected him to be outraged, when I was happy about something I expected him to be happy, when I was worried about something I expected him to be worried. When he wasn’t, I thought it was crazy that he didn’t feel the same way I did.
Here’s what I learned that has changed my marriage.
It’s not your differences that are the problem, it’s the judgment you have about your partner’s perspective being different than yours.
You believe there’s a right way and a wrong way and your partner’s way is wrong.
What are those arguments REALLY about? Your attempts to convince, correct or control your partner. You want them to see things the way you do and you judge them when they don’t.
When you continue to judge and criticize your partner for who they are and what they think and believe you won’t actually know who they are.
You’ll be too busy telling them how wrong they are to even know or understand what they think and believe.
Judgment can be quite damaging to a relationship. When you’re in judgment, thinking negative thoughts and having negative emotions about your partner, it’s impossible to feel loving towards them. It creates resentment and lack of connection.
The truth is you will have differences in any relationship. They will be a different set of differences in another relationship but you’ll still have to figure out how to deal with them.
Letting go of judgment and accepting people for who they are may not be easy but is critical for the success of any relationship you have. Whether with your partner, your children, parents, co workers, etc.
And yourself! Because judging others doesn’t feel good to the person judging either.
Remember the example from above I shared about getting angry with my husband for not sharing the same emotion?
I was judging him and feeling triggered and frustrated, which led to a night of not talking to him. That certainly didn’t feel good for me.
Want a more loving relationship with your partner?
Learn to accept your differences. Accept that differences are a part of all relationships. You don’t have to make your differences go away. You just have to learn a better way of dealing with them.
When you can let go of judgment and let your partner be who they are you can feel more loving because you are no longer trying to control another person.
So how did I change this? How can you change this?
First recognize that you are judging. Question your own beliefs.
Beliefs that your partner “should” see things the same way you do.
Or that there’s a right way and a wrong way.
That’s what I did.
Whenever I was triggered by something my husband said or did that I didn’t agree with, I asked myself “why am I getting angry right now”? I reminded myself, he can think and feel any way he wants.
The more I was able to do that the less I reacted in anger and judgment. We stopped having arguments about right and wrong.
I started to actually listen to my husband’s thoughts instead of criticizing them. I made a genuine effort to understand his perspective by being curious and asking questions.
We stopped arguing over poor service at a restaurant.
If I was annoyed or frustrated I would still share that with my husband but with no expectation that he should feel the same way.
This was a relief for both of us. And relieved so much tension in our marriage. I felt more loving and accepting when I let go of judgment and stopped trying to change him.
If your differences are taking a toll on your relationship and you want to figure out how to let go of judgment and reconnect with love so you can be happy in your marriage, send me a private message.