Some of you know that I have just celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary with my husband. We had a great weekend of celebrations ending with a night in a lovely hotel on the beach.
Marriage is a huge challenge when you think about what it really is. Two individuals coming together from completely different cultures and by culture I mean primarily their families, then there are all of the other differences outside of that. How anyone with a strong personality makes it work is amazing.
Behind our 10 years of love, fun and friendship, there has been a lot of work, tension and tears. Good relationships do not happen by accident and we often have to endure some level of hurt and misery before we figure out how to do them well. Our relationship was made even more complicated in that I moved from my home country, leaving behind family, friends and a good job. Were there days when we have struggled? absolutely! Do we still have arguments and disagreements? of course, but they are less common and we can usually stop them before they get out of hand.
In NLP we talk about mind reading and that is a huge danger in relationships. We filter information that comes to us by deleting, distorting or generalizing, often when we are faced with communication problems it is because we are distorting the meaning of the communication. For example if you believe that your loved one is being quiet because they are annoyed with you , you may react in a way that escalates this into an argument. The reality might be that they have had a stressful day and left alone will feel better later. Can you think of a time when you have been absolutely sure that you knew why someone was behaving in a certain way only to discover later that you were completely wrong? The remedy to the danger of mind reading is clearly good communication, but that is easier said than done in the blur of anger we often experience in the midst of a disagreement. If we decide that our pride is more important than settling things, then we are setting ourselves up for a miserable life. It is wise indeed to choose our battles and let things go if we can.
One of the hardest things when faced with difficulties in relationships is to say sorry, it is also the simplest way to end an argument. Saying those few little words can regain trust and build a better relationship moving forward. In a healthy relationship there is usually two sides to every story and responsibility by both parties.
In the NLP Communication Model, we talk about people’s personal ‘model of the world’, the way we see things is based on our beliefs, background and experiences and all of that becomes our reality. This is true for all types of relationships. Another person has a completely different reality and that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Hopefully as we grow together in a relationship we question some of the things we have learned and are able to create new realities as a couple, while still having our own beliefs.
It’s all about respect if we accept that we are not always right or our way is not necessarily the best, we have a better chance of experiencing happy and fulfilling relationships.