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Principles for Handling Couple Misunderstandings

Misunderstanding in Relationship

Misunderstandings are a common occurrence in most couple relationships, my life being no different. When I look back and when I look around, I see a lot of times fights erupt because of different or mismatching perspectives of looking at the same issue. Yes, these are some of the commonly heard grievances that couples voice out against each other.

“I wish you had understood me better.”

“You made a decision and did not even think once about me?”

“You always have your own ways in our relationship, never thinking once about me.”

A lot of times, these small misunderstandings get blown out of proportion when the accused person refuses to take up supposed responsibility. I am saying “supposed” because it is not yet confirmed that one person is indeed right. Relationships, after all, are a “subjective” affair with no clear right or wrong. It is on the basis of our belief systems, core values, past experiences, upbringing background that we decide the right or wrong in a given situation. The thing to be noted is in a relationship, we are dealing with two different people who can have two different school of thoughts.

How do you arrive at a consensus or a mutual ground when a misunderstanding emerges between you and your partner?  I am sharing following best practices/ principles to solve the misunderstandings that happen unexpectedly in your relationship.

PRINCIPLE 1: Misunderstandings are Natural and Unavoidable

PRINCIPLE 2: Cultural Differences are a Breeding Ground for Misunderstandings

PRINCIPLE 3: Connect-the-Dot Understanding Usually Replaces Real Understanding

PRINCIPLE 4: Move from Being Right to Being Curious

PRINCIPLE 5: Ask questions—Lots of Them!

PRINCIPLE 6: Recognize that We All Speak a Different Language

PRINCIPLE 7: Be Responsible for making Sure You Understand and are Understood

PRINCIPLE 8: Don’t Assume Others Will Connect the Dots Accurately

PRINCIPLE 9: Leave the Assumption Warehouse. Speak Your Experience—Not Your Conclusions.

PRINCIPLE 10: Tone and Body Language Matter

PRINCIPLE 11: Don’t Confuse Feelings and Judgements

PRINCIPLE 12: Stay in Your Green Zone—If You Assume, Assume Benevolence

There’s no way around it: being misunderstood sucks. It can make you feel frustrated, upset, and hopeless. It can feel even worse in times of conflict. I faced this once when my mother in law nagged as usual about my cooked food. I reacted in that situation and it pained me intensely to see that my husband found no reason in my distress! Yes, I was misunderstood and was not taken seriously. I suffered greatly from that lack of attunement.

This is because one of our deepest needs is for others to understand or tune into us. This desire to be “seen” begins right since our childhood. Take kids, for example: when they play hide-and-seek, they love to be found. Yes, misunderstandings are unavoidable but approaching this situation with the right tools and understanding, you have a great leeway to turn this conflict into a catalyst for connection.

Intimacy is a skill.

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