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Taming Relationship Discord

Relationships provide us with an awesome opportunity for expanding our awareness and evolving beyond where we are currently. All thanks to our loving partner.

Our partner has the wonderful capacity of being able to provoke us, push our buttons and make us question our worth.

For example, have you ever had your sweetheart tell you that you are number one in his life, but he won't agree to marriage or a more committed relationship because of some other reason? Maybe he's choosing to appease a parent or a business partner because he's afraid that by bringing you into his life more fully you will rock the boat and affect his financial position. In essence he's choosing money over love. Isn't that like a slap in the face? Or a put down and devaluation of your self worth? These situations create strong feelings. So what do you do? Your heart's broken, you're upset and you're angry. Well, first of all, don't let him have it with both barrels just yet. Take some time to cool down and get some perspective. It may take a day and some time alone to yourself to sift through your feelings and discern what's really going on and why this situation is affecting you so much.

Ask yourself: What is making you hurt? What is underlying the situation that is causing you so much pain? What is the message for you?

Your partner is like Spirit's divine instrument or Spirit's spokesperson. Though when you're upset with him, you might be calling him other things! He or she provokes you in such a way that causes you, albeit unwillingly, to think about things differently.

So when you're in the heat of the situation, dealing with your emotions is challenging. Make a concerted effort to stop and breathe. Ask yourself: What else could be true about the situation? Try to understand your partner’s perspective. What would you do if you were in a similar situation? But this is still being pretty superficial. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty of why this thing triggered such an emotional response.

What does this relationship means to you? What do you expect to get out of it? In the case of marriage, is it for security? Is it for status and authority? Or is it even deeper than that? Is it feeling the need to belong and that you have a purpose and a role? Is it about needing to be acknowledged and recognized for who you really are and not what someone thinks that you are supposed to be? Is it being validated and honored for your skills and the talents in the way you apply them in the relationship? There are many factors that go into triggering your powerful response. Usually it comes from some deep seated, invisible fear and a build-up of unspoken resentments caused by not being valued and validated. A difference of opinion over the question of marriage or what to have for dinner can act as a trigger, unleashing festering feelings. A big part of a relationship dynamic has to do with acknowledging, accepting and appreciating the other person. When you're doing a lot for your partner and you're not receiving the appreciation that you feel you are due, you could feel resentment and bitterness. This is not healthy for you or the relationship and has to be dealt with. Sifting through your feelings is much quicker when you know your native design. If you are highly sensitive and empathetic, you pick up your partner's energies. You will tend to bend over backwards to please him or her to keep peace and harmony in your house. But the problem with this strategy is that when you ultra-serve, you sacrifice a part of yourself. You devalue yourself when you continually declare another person's needs are more important than yours. So a whole new way of looking at the situation is needed.

It gets down to seeing yourself and your life from a different perspective. When you're in the middle of an unsatisfactory situation with your partner, take a look at your options:

  • If you didn't have this relationship what would you be free to do?

  • What kind of job would you do?

  • Is money keeping you in the relationship?

  • Is your need for safety and security overriding your desires to express all of who you are?

  • Are you afraid of being abandoned?

  • Do you trust that you will be provided for and that you are safe?

  • Do you believe in yourself?

  • Can you survive just fine without your partner?

These are funny questions to ask since your heart wants to stay in the relationship. However, the more you feel like you need the relationship, the more power your partner has over you. If your relationship is something where you can take it or leave it and you can walk away or you can stay, it becomes your choice. You are in a position of power. You're not motivated by some hidden need that is causing you to sacrifice the best part of yourself to keep the peace in your household and a partner in your life. From this position of inner power, you have the courage to speak up and share what is really in your heart and what this whole situation means to you, in an open and honest way. You'll have the confidence that you can handle it, if he gets upset. You reclaim your power and right to choose. So after a substantial period of releasing emotions and tapping into what the underlying core reasons are for why you are upset, synthesize this all down into two or three statements. Find a time to talk to your partner and express to him what you feel, as calmly as possible. For example, you can say you are grieving the loss of a dream. You wanted to be married for the commitment and connection with him and also because you want to feel like you belong, feel useful and have a purpose and a role in life. And leave it at that. If he has nothing to say, turn and walk away. Soothe your quaking heart by breathing deeply and doing something you enjoy like listening to music or going for a walk. So here's the steps to gaining clarity during a relationship roadblock:

  1. Stop and breathe. Allow yourself to calm down.

  2. Evaluate the situation. Ask what else is possible? Are the accusations you made against your partner really true? What if you were in his/her situation? What would you do?

  3. Review your options. If you were to walk away from the relationship, what would you do? If someone else treated you this way, what would you do?

  4. What does your heart say?

  5. Do something that totally distracts you, such as watching a favorite movie, go out with friends or engage in your favorite hobby, listen or play music and so forth.

  6. Take a bath, get a massage or do some form of self nurturing.

  7. Review your feelings to see your level of emotional charge and if what you want to say is still valid.

  8. Wait for the right timing to share your feelings. Don't discuss the situation unless he/she is willing to 'hear' you.

  9. Enter into the discussion with an open heart.

  10. Take the chance and be real and vulnerable.

My experience with getting really clear with what is bothering me and then expressing my feelings in very simple terms has been that my partner shifts out of defensiveness, opens up and is much more responsive to me. When you truly love each other, your hearts will guide you.

Now here's the interesting part. Your relationship with your partner is the external representation of your relationship with yourself and the Divine. Truth be known, the real relationship, the one that is the most important relationship, is with yourself and the Divine. So the longing for a sense of belonging and purpose is actually your soul crying out to you. You think it's what you want from your partner. In a way it is, but it's the invisible, sacred partner. Your soul urges you to connect to the higher part of yourself, to look inside yourself for your purpose and the love and appreciation that you want from others. When these things come from within, your energy changes and others will notice. They will reflect back the appreciation, love and worthiness you feel about yourself, to you. It will seem like your partner has changed, but really, it's YOU who have changed your outlook on yourself. Each time a situation comes up, you get an opportunity to practice and hone your emotional wisdom and communication skills and get to know yourself even better. Pretty soon you'll be able to work through situations much more quickly and you will be able to sift through your deepest motivations and get to the core of what was triggered by your partner. You'll be able to discern what you want and why. The 'why' is very important. Then you can speak clearly and not waste a lot of energy trying to defend your position. You can let it unfold the way it is supposed to be. You are being guided. Even challenging situations with your partner are a form of guidance. Believe in yourself, believe in your partner and be thankful for the opportunity for the personal growth you offer each other.


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