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Negotiating your wants

managing wants together

Disagreements can lead to break-ups for couples. It is not significant issues that are causing the most problems. It is the everyday disagreement over competing wants – you want one thing; he wants something else- that slowly tears a couple apart. Often, the small stuff will destroy your relationship, not the big, huge things! You have often had different opinions than your partner and made a big deal about it. You insisted on getting your way and then lived with resentment eating at your contentment. Acting this way destroys trust, erodes safety in your relationship, and begins to plant seeds of discontentment.

You must be willing to do something different to stop this negative cycle.

Too often, you may find yourself standing firmly on your belief or desire to do something instead of looking for ways to bring unity to your relationship. You already know that stubbornly insisting on your way will end up costing you harmony in your relationship, but you keep doing it anyway. The cycle of pride and self-centered action is a hard one to break. You must be willing to do something different to stop this negative cycle. Healthy ways to navigate through conflict will help you build a healthy relationship.

Making decisions together as a couple in a healthy way will leave both of you feeling satisfied, secure, and understood. Positive interactions will cause you to feel closer and more bonded to each other- more loved. If you have found that you are defiantly standing your ground when your partner disagrees with your opinion, your schedule, or your plans, then it is time to take a hard look at your logic. If you do not begin to change how you respond when there is resistance, you will destroy the trust in your relationship. Your relationship will flounder without trust, and eventually, it will crumble. Fear not! It is not too late to change what you are doing.

preventing a toxic relationship

"Something about being human causes us to feel most happy when we feel like we have gotten what we wanted."

Before I share how to stop the ugly bickering over the small stuff, I acknowledge that it is never fun not to get your way. Something about being human causes us to feel most happy when we feel like we have gotten what we wanted. So, when someone stands in the way, gets between us and what we want, our first instinct is to attack that person. You will find a way to go around them, convince them, or ignore them to get what you want. Those are perfectly natural feelings and reactions. You will start getting defensive if you do not get what you want. Defensiveness leads to frustration that results in arguing. 

You likely begin to dislike your partner for wanting something you do not desire. At this moment, you are choosing something else over your relationship. You may withdraw or become spiteful or angry with your partner because you feel they have blocked your want. Perhaps you think they have disrespected you or thrown an obstacle between you and what you know or believe to be the best solution for a problem. This is a very natural behavior. But just because something is a natural response does not mean it is healthy, beneficial, or mature. 

happy couple together

Your relationship will only grow as strong, healthy, and solid as you are willing to allow it to grow. If you are ready to enable your relationship to grow, you must put in the effort and hard work to become more mature. Self-regulation comes with maturity. As you self-regulate and focus on the most important things, you will learn to navigate life’s challenges with your spouse. The two of you will be partners working together to create a fantastic adventure that you both enjoy.

"Something about being human causes us to feel most happy when we feel like we have gotten what we wanted."

You must practice something new to navigate through disagreements and come out to the other side stronger and more committed to your partner. You cannot afford to continue to see life only through your lens. It would help if you learned to see the other person’s perspective to build a successful, happy, lasting relationship. There are a few tips that I’m going to share with you that will help you take your connection to the next level. Disagreements and negative interactions that are causing dissatisfaction or frustration between you will take your relationship out. As a couple, you can learn to apply the tips and tools to help you love your relationship.  

1. First, you must become aware of what is most important to you. Your relationship should be first or second on the top of the list. If it’s not, you have a lot of work to do in readjusting your priorities to ensure that your relationship is among your top two priorities. Once you have made your relationship a top priority in your life, the rest will be much easier to do. 

2. See your partner’s opinions as equal to yours. Your partner will have a different vantage point, perspective, and life experiences that allow them to see each situation from another. Just because their vantage point is different from yours does not make it less valuable. Once you realize their view equals yours, mutual respect will show up. Respecting each other’s opinions will help you to self-regulate and hear the other’s perspective. Then, together, you can make a decision that honors both of you. 

3. Write down the top three issues you and your partner disagree about most. Maybe it is last-minute events, hanging out with friends, or specific places that you go to eat, etc. Identifying the issues that trip you up the most will help you manage your reactions when they come up again.

4. Prepare for your next encounter with one of the issues that you listed above. This means to think about why you get so upset and then make time to talk with your partner to discuss why these minor issues keep creating conflict in your relationship and focus on understanding each other’s perspectives. This will help you prepare to discuss it the next time it pops up. It will not catch you off guard because now you are both ready to navigate through it and honor each other. 

5. Schedule time to do things together that you already know you both enjoy. Filling your “together bank” full of positive interactions will make navigating through common disagreements easier. 

Remember, you are building a life together, which means you must invest in each other regularly, honor each other, and help each other achieve your dreams!

I am rooting for you!