Is Your Partner Your Enemy Or Your Friend?

There is one important distinction in our mindset during an argument with a significant other. This mindset will often set the tone of our thoughts, our words, and the movies in our head as the argument develops and it will often determine the path of the argument and the long term course of the relationship.

Here it is: 

Do you view your partner as the enemy or as a friend?

If you genuinely view your partner as an enemy, you should really consider getting out of the relationship. 

If you view your partner as a friend that cares about you, then this mindset should be carried through any arguments as well, not only during positive times.

When we disagree in a relationship, we have 2 options: 

Option 1 is to view the partner as the enemy, to assign him or her intentions to purposefully hurt us and to solely focus on their negative traits (or those perceived as different than ours). 

If we do that (consciously or not), those negative thoughts will add up, snowball and turn into negative feelings and negative words. If those occur on a consistent basis, there is a high probability we will not be playing on the same team for too long. 

By being on different teams, we’ll find ourselves keeping score while we try to consistently prove ourselves right. It’s a self-preservation game of the last one standing. This will only end with one team losing and that, of course, is a recipe for divorce or for a very long, miserable life together. 

Option 2 is to commit to assuming a neutral stance, taking a curious approach to try to understand your partner's position, working on a balanced awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and to adjust each other’s roles accordingly, in order to complement each other and help the team (family unit) win the game of life. 

That implies a willingness for self-introspection and the ability to admit your own vulnerabilities as well as to rely on each other’s strengths. It also involves a willingness to step up your own game and to improve your skills necessary to be the best player in your particular team position. 

Did you notice I said, “commit to working on a balanced awareness”? Because it’s truly ongoing work. 

It involves a lot of: slowing down (taking a time out-my favorite intervention for adults in couple’s therapy), not engaging in a storm, not starting a storm, coming back to the issue a little later with some cooler and calmer heads, having a growth mindset, failing and apologizing, and trying again next time. 

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