Posts tagged partner

To understand each other (Part 4)

life coaching, colouryourdream, life, purpose, marriage

How do we achieve understanding? Paul Tournier writes in his book*: „One who feels understood feels loved, and one who feels loved feels sure of being understood.

(…) Deep sharing is overwhelming, and very rare. A thousand fears keep us in check. First of all there is the fear of breaking down, of crying. There is especially the fear that the other will not sense the tremendous importance with which this memory or feeling is charged. How painful it is when such a difficult sharing falls flat, upon ears either preoccupied or mocking, ears in any case that do not sense the significance of what we’re saying.“ (P.28+29).

So what can happen next? Tournier points out that a partner who has spoken in a very personal way „without being understood falls back into terrible emotional solitude. He may become sick because of it. In such circumstances some will go to see their pastor or priest, others their doctor. They are simply seeking someone who can understand. In certain cases of therapy, the help of a doctor or of a man of God may be necessary. Often, however, a wife can bring the same help to her husband, or he to her, if the same painstaking care is exercised in listening as would be done by a pastor, priest, psychologist, or doctor. How beautiful, how grand and liberating this experience is when couples learn so to help each other. It is impossible to overemphasize the immense need men have to be really listened to, to be taken seriously, to be understood.“ (P.29)

I think we can all learn to listen better! Some are better than others already. But each one of us can improve!

He says that a man, if he is alone „marks his time and becomes very set in his ways. In the demanding confrontation which marriage constitutes, he must ever go beyond himself, develop, grow up into maturity. When marriage is reduced to mere symbiosis of two persons essentially hidden from one another, peaceful though such life may sometimes be, it has completely missed its goal. Then it is not solely the marriage which has failed, but both husband and wife. They have failed in their calling as a man and a woman. To fail to understand one’s spouse is to fail to understand oneself. It is also a failure to grow and to fulfull one’s possibilities.“ (P.31)

What Tournier points out as very important is to face problems and not to avoid them.

What? Problems? Some couples might say: We never argue. But like Tournier says, there are „problems in every marriage“ and those „who make a success of their marriage are those who tackle their problems together and who overcome them. Those who lack the courage to do this are the ones whose marriage is a failure.“

It is the „differences in our characters, tastes, habits, prejudices, and convictions which oblige us to a greater effort to understand each other. These in turn lead to further growth in both of us.“ (P.33+34)

It takes courage he says to „face up to all the problems created by a complete adaptation of two personalities. People are very different one from another.“

And „to come to understand that one’s partner is very different – this already presupposes a great deal of personal growth.“ (P.35)

??? Can you relate to what the author is saying? Do you share his opinion? What do you experience in your marriage? Do you have any good tips for understanding the other better???

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*Book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier
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Handling differences and disagreements

A long time ago I heard from a book: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus (John Gray).

I never read this book, even if it was very popular at this time. But the last 6 years I lived in a house with 3 other people and one of them had this book, so I started to read it and was very surprised . It describes men and women in general – and in many described examples I could find myself.

I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but once in a while I read a few pages.

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A few weeks ago I read a bit further where I left off the other day. It was chapter 9: How to avoid arguments.

I don’t know if you ever have arguments in your relationship? If not, you don’t need to read it, if yes it could help you =) – to understand yourself better and also your partner. Reading it can also help your general understanding about men and women.

A challenge in relationships is handling differences and disagreements. Often the couple stops talking in a loving manner and begin:

  • hurting
  • blaming
  • complaining
  • accusing
  • demanding
  • resenting
  • doubting

each other.

Communication is very important in a relationship and „arguments can be the most destructive element.“ The „closer we are to someone, the easier it is to bruise or to be bruised.“

John Gray recommends: never argue! „Instead discuss the pros and cons of something. It is possible to be honest, open and even express negative feelings without arguing or fighting.“

What happens when we argue? When we don’t understand that men and women are different it is easy to get into „arguments that hurt not only our partner but also ourselves.“

 „The secret to avoiding arguments is loving and respectful communication. The differences and disagreements don’t hurt as much as the ways in which we communicate them. Ideally an argument does not have to be hurtful; instead it can simply be an engaging conversation that expresses our differences and disagreements (…). But practically speaking most couples start out arguing about one thing and, within five minutes, are arguing about the way they are arguing.

Unknowingly they begin hurting each other, what could have been an innocent argument, easily resolved with mutual understanding and an acceptance of differences, escalates into a battle. They refuse to accept or understand the content of their partner’s point of view because of the way they are being approached.

Resolving an argument requires extending or stretching our point of view to include and integrate another point of view. To make this stretch we need to feel appreciated and respected. If our partner’s attitude is unloving, our self-esteem can actually be wounded by taking on their point of view.”

??? What is your experience with this topic???

(Kindle e-book: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, John Gray, Loc 2644-2673)

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