The Three Hardest Words to Say

All couples argue. It's normal and even healthy to disagree, to take a stand or stick up for your ideas. The trouble is, many couples get stuck in round-robin arguments, tussling about the same issues over and over again. When we're in the thick of it, stubbornly sticking to our point, the three hardest words to say are "Maybe you're right."

Some couples fight like there's no tomorrow, accusing, blaming, putting our partner down and defending ourselves  tooth and nail even though we may have this sinking feeling we're wrong. We are determined to win, struggling to destroy the enemy. And who's this enemy? The dearly beloved, of course! No one can trigger so much hurt and outrage. Our earliest and deepest vulnerabilities surface in our closest relationships. 

Why is so hard to admit you made a mistake, that you didn't get it right? Why do we stubbornly resist and make things worse? Why is so tough to apologize? Here are some of our thoughts and feelings: 

  1. My partner isn't apologizing, so why should I?
  2. If I do apologize, will my partner use it against me?
  3. If I cop to my part in the argument and my partner doesn't cop to theirs, I'll feel even more angry and vulnerable.
  4. I  feel guilty about hurting my partner. Better to avoid discussing it.
  5. I feel too wounded and hurt about not being heard; it's impossible for me to even consider apologizing.

Even if we feel wounded and not listened to, is there anything we CAN admit to? Any part of the argument we can claim responsibility for?
Facing these mixed feelings and ADMITTING your part in the argument is KEY to reducing tension and clearing the air. Taking responsibility and coping is the single most healing move you can make. Why? Because it signals to your partner that the relationship means MORE than your ego, more than being right.  It also indicates that you are willing to shoulder some of the blame in order to get a fresh start, that you really want to re-establish goodwill. It radiates COURAGE and helps your partner do the same, to drop the weapons and relax.

The root of the word courage is "heart", to be full of heart, to speak one's heart. It takes courage and a loving heart to take a good, hard look at yourself and admit your part.  It's a GIFT to your loved one and a big relief for you both. You can develop a deeper capacity to reflect on your role in the fights and take heart to admit you're wrong. The relief can be immensely freeing. Couples counseling can help you develop the capacity to muster your courage and go for honesty and love.

Call us at (707) 544-9000 and let us show you how you can heal the resentments from the past and create a more loving, close, healthy relationship that will last a lifetime.

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