If you look back on the fights you and your partner have had, many of them were probably easily preventable. Regardless of whose fault it is, both sides have control of the situation. It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle it, whether it’s feeding the flame or being the bigger person. How many of your arguments have been over something ridiculously trivial? And how many weren’t worth the stress? Chances are that it was a majority. Constant bickering can damage your relationship in the long run, and if you don’t make it a habit to catch yourself in the heat of the moment, you’ll only continue to cause strain.
We spoke with K-Y’s resident sex expert and relationship therapist, Dr. Laura Berman, to find out how couples can relieve the tension in a situation, and turns out it’s a lot easier than you’d expect. If you’ve ever gotten mad at your SO because it seems like they just “don’t get it,” it’s probably because they don’t. But that also doesn’t mean they shouldn’t attempt to better understand you on their end.
“Often the partner is like, ‘What’s the big deal?’, and that feels like a slap in the face,” Dr. Berman told OurStyle. “So, even if they don’t know why every candle in the house has to match, if they facilitate and assist, that is an act of real love and romance because it shows that even if they don’t understand it or think it’s important, it’s important to you, so they’re engaging and investing in it.”
Dr. Berman continued to say how your initial reaction may be to try to talk your partner out of it — like stressing over matching candles, in this instance — or to respond to their irritation with anger. But as you probably already know, reacting in those ways rarely ends well. Real love, as she mentioned, is demonstrated by small acts of appreciation. The fact that you have zero interest in candles is not the point here. By putting aside your own opinions (or lack thereof) on something your partner clearly does care about, you’re showing how much you value them and your relationship.
“It’s really important that each of you take responsibility for the bar that you’re setting and the unnecessary stress that you’re creating,” Dr. Berman said.
So the next time you catch yourself rolling your eyes or questioning your SO, pitch in instead. Don’t get annoyed that they want to watch sports or bad reality TV — take it as an opportunity to spend time together. Seeing things from a different perspective will greatly benefit your relationship!