We are human! Which also means, there’s no shortage of varying opinions, views, and thoughts on topics that we encounter every day. Politics, religion, how to raise kids, money, family – any of these topics, plus more, can have an influence on your interactions with others. But what happens when you disagree about topics with a romantic partner, or family member, or friend? Can you keep your point of view without offending or ruining the relationship?
Here are 3 strategies to disagreeing on certain issues while still maintaining a strong connection with your loved ones:
1. Ask Yourself Why
Sometimes people like to argue, for the sake of arguing. Maybe you grew up in a household where people disagreed often, or maybe you have strong opinions on most subjects. However, ask yourself, is having a strong point of view worth it in this relationship? If you feel strongly about a topic maybe it’s worth it to express your opinions in an open, assertive way. Using “I-Statements” is a healthy way to express opinions without offending or insulting those you’re conversing with.
Also, be conscious of your environment. A workplace or family gathering is not the place to have a heated debate. Sometimes taking a deep breath or two and waiting till later to express your views can help you with expressing assertively, rather than aggressively.
2. Practice Respect
It’s perfectly fine to express your thoughts and opinions, but doing so in a respectful way is a sure way to keep the peace, and keep your relationship. Sometimes, this can be difficult if you get worked up and feel heated about a particular subject, but expressing yourself assertively without name calling or bad language can be a sure way to disagree respectfully.
3. Take a Break
Sometimes, you will notice that the argument, or disagreement, keeps going around in circles. Are you disagreeing on the same thing you discussed 45-minutes ago? Agreeing on taking a break and putting the issue “aside” can help you calm down, feel more positive emotions, and gain a different perspective to help you come to common grounds with the person you’re disagreeing with. Give it a try – and don’t forget to practice deep breathing!
Disagreeing on important or tough issues can be done in a peaceful, productive way! Not every debate or argument needs to end with one person conforming to the other’s point of view. By using respectful language, keeping your emotions in check, and listening to and valuing the other person’s story, you can successfully agree to disagree. Remember, it takes two to tango!
What makes a great relationship? That’s the question many try to find the answer for, and there are numerous different answers to it. Yet, all these answers narrow down to just s few basic things, one of them being “feeling appreciated”. Dr. Gottman suggests that the happiest couples are the ones that share at least five positive things with their partner with every negative one. We talked about the 5:1 rule it in our article “Why Being Kind is Important”, so take a look.
However, here is one interesting founding about relationships. The NMP study recently indicated that sex in a relationship is even more important than being kind to your partner. That, of course, doesn’t make kindness any less important for a good relationship. But these results emphasize how important sex in a relationship is for being happy and staying together, which many couples seem to forget.
Sex and feeling of appreciation are inevitably connected for both partners, especially for women. Thus, what happens outside of bedroom affects the things bedroom on a large scale. So, here is a suggestion: why don’t you tell your partner some kind words, including how sexy they are to you? Try to keep doing it for a couple of days and see what happens.
If you want to read more about the importance of kindness and sex in a relationship, here’s a nice article: “Be Kind And Have Sex ‘Till Death Do You Part”. Enjoy!
How much space should we have in our relationships? How close is too close? And how much space is too much?
Murray Bowen, the creator of “Family Systems Theory”, highlights that, in relationships, there is a desire for closeness and intimacy, but also the need for space in order to save our individuality. These two forces are in constant conflict, creating tension. On one hand, the warmth of closeness brings us safety and comfort. On the other hand, too much of it can be drowning, feeling like you’re losing your sense of self. In order to cultivate a healthy relationship with your partner, it’s necessary that you both learn to balance these two forces.
Balancing Closeness and Space in Relationship
It’s important to grow together but you need to also tend to yourself. Think of it as your relationship garden that both of you need to take care of. In your garden, there is a space of togetherness, where you invest your time and emotions, you work on it to make it nice, clean, and beautiful. But there are also two other parts – your and your partner’s individuality. Those are parts of the garden that each of you has for themselves. In order to make your part of the garden bloom, you have to focus on growing different aspects of your life – mental, physical, spiritual, cultural, financial, career. If you forget to water any part of your garden, whether it be togetherness or individuality, the other part dries and slowly dies. In a healthy relationship, these two parts are equally important and can’t live one without other.
So, keep balancing. Don’t do everything possible with your partner and don’t forget your own needs and dreams. You need some time for yourself; you need to grow and develop. But also, don’t get too preoccupied with your own life that you forget about your partner. Grow your garden together. If you balance it right, it will bloom.