I recently worked with a client who had grown resentful of his wife, because he saw her as controlling the way the household was run: the kids’ schedules, the way things were organized, the rules they lived by.
When he tried to talk about his complaints, she felt attacked, and they just wound up in a fight. So he gave up trying, and resigned to spending time on the computer or TV when he was home. He was feeling trapped and stuck!
I’d like to offer a mindset shift: When you shift your focus to both of your needs, instead of who’s right and who’s wrong, you can collaborate to get both of your needs met.
I helped him see that when he talked to her about being controlling, he was making her wrong, so she was more likely to get defensive.
Instead we looked at her needs: to have order, efficiency, and to have the kids feel safe and taken care of.
Then we looked at his needs: to have mutuality, more spontaneity and play, and less rigidity.
On the surface these needs seem to conflict, but when I coached him to have a conversation with a collaborative attitude, she actually listened!
He said, “Hey I know you care about having the kids schedule be structured so they experience being taken care of. I feel constrained and I know I’ve been distant lately. Can we talk about collaborating on the schedule and household tasks, so that I feel more comfortable at home? That way I’ll want to spend more time with you and the kids again.”
I guided them to use a simple process so they could talk about both of their needs, until they found a way to have structure AND spontaneity (think: Saturday morning cartoons for the kids, and romantic date nights for the parents!) Now she feels more relaxed, since he’s engaged again!!
When you get on the same team again, instead of making each other wrong, true creativity is possible!
How do you get on the same team? That’s exactly what I taught about in my 2 hour webinar “From Fighting to Fulfillment.”
WHAT YOU’LL GET IN THIS 2-HR. WEBINAR REPLAY:
- We’ll bust two really popular myths that, if you believe these, your relationship is destined to fail
- You’ll learn your “fighting style” which means, what you do that keeps you and your partner caught in a never-ending cycle of fighting or feeling distant (or what’s sabotaged your relationships in the past)
- You’ll learn how to speak about your feelings and needs in a way that draws your man closer instead of pushing him away
- You’ll learn the rest of the full formula to fix your relationship
To see the replay, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccMm9yFolII