Relational Conflict

Have you ever wondered why you end up fighting your partner over and over again about the same thing, a different situation, but the same topic?

Let’s take a typical example, money. It might be that in your relationship, you are the saver, and your partner is the spender. When they spend, you feel a lot of judgement; you think they are frivolous, unthoughtful, and ultimately not committed to the relationship.

Behind the financial conflict, it is often REALLY about your differing VALUES. Maybe he values expensive cars as a reward for hard work, and you value family holidays as a reward for hard work?

Then it’s really about understanding one another’s values to help you come closer together as a couple.

Questions that help interpersonally sound like:

  • I’m curious about what buying (the item) means to you.
  • I wonder where that meaning came from?
  • What does saving money mean to you?
  • I wonder where that came from?
  • What are the things that have real value to you?
  • Why?

These questions can reveal a lot about yourself and your partner and make way for much greater understanding and intimacy between you.

The discussion might sound like this:

You: I’m curious about what buying the new car means to you.

Partner: It is a symbol of my recent success and hard work. I feel like a million dollars when I’m in it, and I imagine driving us up the coast in it and going on a great holiday.

You: I wonder where that meaning came from?

Partner: Oh, when my dad got his promotion when I was 13, he got a new car, and we drove all over town in it and went to a drive-in movie from then on, every Saturday night. It changed our family life and brought us closer together.

After a discussion like this, you may discover that having the new car for your partner is really about having more family time, which is what you want too. This makes space for more understanding and intimacy moving forward.

My three relationship values are love, authenticity, and adventure.

What are the most important values for you in your relationship?

Love, Jen