Principles for Handling Couple Misunderstandings

Misunderstandings are a common occurrence in most relationships, and my own love life is

no different. When I look around, I see that fights often 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 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 based on 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 that, in a relationship, we are dealing with two different people who can have two

different schools of thought.

So how do you arrive at a consensus or a mutual ground when a misunderstanding emerges

between you and your partner? I am sharing the following best practices/ principles that will

help you view and respond to the misunderstandings in your relationship more effectively:

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


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. 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. 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.

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