“What part did I play in this?” This question will very likely reduce the time it will take to resolve your disagreements with your partner. Moreover, think of any relationship you have. It might not just be with your intimate partner, but it can change the way you resolve conflict with your parents, children, friends, even at work.
You can’t argue alone, it takes two. Relationships take two. So unless you’re having a personal conflict and usually this is a question of inner turmoil, every other interaction is with someone external to you. In the case your intimate partner, it’s when, not if, something will go wrong or goes continuously unresolved. The first instinct is to look at the issue with hurt and apprehension and ask the why from his perspective. Simply, to blame!
But there is a part of your process and dynamic with each other that has built up over time. There’s a certain way things are done. From the way you communicate, your personality traits that give the union variety, and the silent roles you settle into as the relationship matures. One is the talker, the other is the quiet one. You’re feisty, he’s calm and so on.
Because of these repeating patterns, it takes effort to introspect as well as become a spectator to your own quarrel. Take a minute to look at it from your vantage point. It’s really the only one you have full grasp of and control over. We are our hardest critics because it’s tough to look at our own faults as being downright petty or malicious.
When we see the traits we shun in others showing up in ourselves, we want to explain them away as moments of weakness. Truth is, we want to see them as bad and ourselves as good or righteous. The unfortunate truth is, it’s impossible to always be good. It’s better to sit in the knowledge of all our inequities and the shame that may surround them.
That’s when shining a light on your part in any issue becomes beneficial. Even if the other person instigated a fight, did wrong or was overtly hurtful, zoom out and look at the story in its entirety. It could be you came into the room at the wrong time and took the wrath of a failure to digest bad news. Or your ego was bruised and you spat back attacking words. Any number of scenarios play out between two people experiencing an issue in their own unique way.
Figure out at which point your participation fueled the fire. It’s a difficult thing to admit you were wrong, however, it’s a very powerful process in healing from a conflict. The burden you release from yourself alone is worth the process of self-reflection.
To take it a step further, reach out and discuss this with your partner. Better yet, ask for forgiveness for your part. I believe that whenever you forgive someone, and humble yourself enough to ask for forgiveness from someone you’ve wronged, your path in growing a happy and fulfilled relationship is made that much better.
It takes a selfless stance to be vulnerable to possible judgment because you walk out and face the jury with eyes wide open, feeling as if they are chastising you for your wrong-doing, pointing fingers, laughing at your nakedness when you dare to expose your inequities.
It’s very likely, the blame will be placed entirely on you but the closer you are, the more it’s pertinent to take the chance. I’m not saying you take responsibility for the whole issue but do own your part. That’s a start, that’s enough. Whether he does the same is up to him. If he doesn’t though, this then begs the question of the health of the whole relationship.
When you communicate in a way that is reciprocal and positively influence each other in different ways (conversation, decisions, time together), you will very likely offer an apology and receive one back.
Taking responsibility is a big step in having the love you deserve. It’s a commitment to yourself and to the relationship to become a self-less partner who wants the best outcome for the whole. It is learning to see beyond the pain and discomfort of a couples fight. At the least, you gain respect of self through the process.
Own your part in each problem that comes your way and see the amazing freedom and positive changes overflowing in your love life.