In Step 2 of Anatomy of an Argument, we look at avoiding a judgmental attitude when fighting with your partner. Step 2 is integral to Step 5 - offering assurance.
When you offer up assurance, the goal is to communicate to your partner that you are doing your best to keep an open mind. For lots of folks out there, this is insanely difficult because they think their way is just fine, no problem. The other person feels strongly about their position. You each have to figure out how to come to terms with the other’s place when neither of you are wrong but you still have a hard time tolerating the other’s perspective.
For example, my husband and I are polar opposites when it comes to privacy vs sharing on certain issues. I like to get counsel from friends and colleagues, he’s not into me doing this. He actually has a brilliant mind. But to my dissatisfaction, his mind instantly jumps to all the potential risks involved. I don’t mind risk, he craves certainty. This is an ongoing struggle. We typically come out of these arguments ok and with a better understanding of the other person and usually with a lot of sympathy going back and forth between us. But man it’s like clawing my way out of a hole sometimes.
When all's said and done and I have regained my emotional balance, I actually do see his point of view. I don’t like it, I don’t think like he does, but I accept that this is the way he is / has always been / most likely won’t ever change. Neither will I. Our task is to continually strive to let the other person just be and to learn to cope with our differences in more meaningful ways. It’s a never ending journey. Make it count.