Working as a Team
We had a discussion last week about the idea of working together as a team when it comes to problems in a marriage. We do agree it is important to talk out reoccurring issues in any marriage and approach them, so you are winning together and not against each other. As Ivan and I discussed this, it was pretty eye-opening for me. Also, if you ever thought we had it all together, you'll see we don't, ha!
Ivan: "At the time it's easy to say win together, but in an argument, you're pissed at your spouse for doing what they're doing, and you're not thinking, let's fight about this as a team."
Lily: "You're right, but what if the issue is approached by someone saying: 'I'm not just bringing this up because I think I'm right. I'm bringing this up because we need to address the issue together and not against each other.' Don't you think it would help people fight less about the same problem over and over again?"
Ivan: "I see what you mean, but at the time you're both all heated and upset."
Lily: "OK let's say someone doesn't help with his or her kids in the relationship. The other person may think it's nagging if they bring it up, but what if the issue is approached differently. For example, they say, 'You don't like that I nag and I don't like that you don't help, how do we fix this?'"
Ivan: "Yes, but as I said in the heat of the moment you're not going to tell someone that. I'm just being realistic."
Lily: "The point is instead of going to your spouse angry with: 'You don't help me!' You come to your spouse from a place where you ask what can I do to help this problem or what do you need from me?"
"Give me a guys perspective, is it possible? Is that realistic? Could you come back later to talk about it?"
Ivan: "It's all great in theory. However, for it to happen that way is very seldom."
Lily: "I think it happens for us sometimes after we fight. We talk about it later."
Ivan: "Yes, after but not in the heat of the fight."
Lily: "YES, of course after the fight. What I believe would work for us, and other couples is discussing and working on the problem from a team perspective versus you against me and me against you."
Ivan: "Yes. Agreed, because if you tell someone, 'You don't help,' they will get defensive. They might say, 'What the hell, I do help!' I think it works when cooler heads prevail."
Lily: "True, and what I am trying to say is don't get defensive. Because if your spouse comes to you in a way where they are not trying to fight you, or they are saying, 'I want to fix this,' why would someone get defensive?"
"Yes, I know I get defensive sometimes, ha! So do you!"
Ivan: "Hahaha! Yes, I do. Now I completely agree that it depends on how it is approached because if you word things in a certain way or speak in a certain way, the other person will be on the defense."
Lily: "I agree, I know I am guilty. Hahahaha!"
Ivan: "Yes, you put me in the defense when you come to me yelling and throwing axes, hahaha!"
Lily: "I don't do that. OK, I do! I'm trying though. At least acknowledge I'm working on it. OK, what I'm saying is don't do it in the heat of the moment. I'll keep this in mind for our next fight. Talking this out is helping. In the heat of the moment, we want to fight it out. It's all becoming so clear, ha! Actually, I want to fight it out. I want to talk about it, it pisses me off when you're like done talking. I fight for it because I know the next day if I don't bring up the problem it will never be discussed again. Oh wait, I'm on to something here, ignoring the issue is not WINNING TOGETHER. Wow, we have our own therapy session going, hahaha!"
Ivan: "Omg you're pointing at me?"
Lily: "You are not the only one, sometimes I don't want to deal either. Winning together is coming to your partner after a fight to discuss the issue."
Seriously, I get it, fighting, it's hard, but my point of this post is to not fight in the heat of the moment but to find a way to approach your partner so you could both win.
Ivan: "I would say let cooler heads prevail and come back at it at a later time, but I can also see how that would piss your partner off by electing to stop."
Ivan: "You laugh because it's true."
Lily: "No, it is because it pisses me off every time."
Ivan: "I get it because I would never bring it back up."
Lily: "EXACTLY! You see, we have our own therapy session going here."
Lily: "How do you know? If you came to me later and said, 'Lily, I want to talk about this because I hate when you do this.' You think I would be ready to fight? I would be so happy that you would say let's talk about this and work on it."
"Instead of being mad every time that happens, wouldn't it be better to say, I am going to approach this head on so that we can work on it."
Ivan: "It's just easier said than done."
Lily: "I agree. We still need to work on this. And I know in the heat of the moment it's not possible. BUT I do believe as a couple you have to come back to it if it's a reoccurring issue. You need to figure out how to fight together against the problem."
Ivan: "I get it. Can I bring up an issue now? You and your phone. HA!"
Lily: "OMG. You know I've said I'll work on it (insert eye roll here)."
And there you have it! We are not perfect. I originally was just going to write about our discussion, but when I heard the recording, I thought this worked better. Sometimes, Ivan and I are so guilty of trying to win an argument, or proving the other wrong all because we want to be right. We are learning it doesn't help our marriage to listen with the intent to argue. Have you ever been in an argument and as your partner talked, in your head, you already had the answer without really listening? THIS HELPS no one and certainly doesn't get your relationship to a better place.
Something we all should keep in mind when it comes to our relationship: We are a team, who cares who is right or wrong. The goal is to get to a solution we are both happy with.