Following my own advice…
Why did I handle it that way? Because I followed my own advice. I didn’t take it personally and asked myself the simple question, “What do I know about him that would explain his behavior that has nothing to do with me?”
He was immersed in an activity he was thoroughly enjoying; not only was he not thinking about me or my panic, it would never occur to him I would get panicked in a darn greenhouse. He knows I don’t do big box stores very well, but in a large covered outdoor surrounded by beautiful greenery? He wouldn’t have given it a thought.
It’s amazing how in small situations like this, things can escalate and huge fights can take place.
I know. I’ve had them.
It takes remembering and practicing…
So, next time you feel yourself getting irritated, you can practice. Let’s say you’ve asked your partner to call you when he reaches his destination. And it’s two hours past the time he’s supposed to get there. You start to feel abandoned, begin to doubt your importance to them, and mentally begin to compose a scathing text to them.
Stop and ask yourself the question, “What do I know about my partner that would explain her/his behavior that has nothing to do with me?”
“Well, he’s forgetful. He forgets to charge his cell phone, and it’s probably dead. Or he gets really involved in whatever is going on around him. You are always the one who remembers to call, and have had to remind him to make calls. He’ll remember when he is going to bed.”
Anything but taking it personally.
Or the next time your partner overdraws her checking account. Instead of immediately saying that she’s doing that to piss you off, that she has no respect for how hard you work and is being selfish, stop. Ask the question. Remember that she grew up in a home where she was not taught anything about finances and that she’s said more than once that she struggles with money and needs help. (Probably not from you, by the way, but a more objective teacher.)
You don’t wake up and hope you can make your partner miserable…
Most of us want to get along and have the best assumed of us, to be given the benefit of the doubt. Offer the same to your partner. It’s an easy question to ask yourself, so give it a try.
It might just make a world of difference.
Written By Dr. Margaret Rutherford Originally Appeared In Dr. Margaret Rutherford
This one simple question has the power to help you stop fighting with your partner, by giving you a different perspective. So, the next time you feel yourself getting upset because of something your partner did, ask yourself this question and see how it feels.