Inspired Lifestyle : Three Steps to Reduce Conflict and Increase Intimacy in Your Relationship
Are you struggling to keep your relationship positive? Are you having the same argument repeatedly without resolution? Is the intimacy in your relationship waning? If you answered yes to any of these questions keep reading.
The Push Pull
Think about the last time you were in a disagreement or things got tense in your relationship, you know one of those repetitive arguments about who is doing the most around the home, whether or not the relatives are taking up too much time or why there is so little sex in your relationship. What happened?
It can go like this. I want you to talk to me and I try really hard to get you to talk. I repeat myself, I try again, I criticize, I blame, and on and on. It seems the more I do this, the more you… stop talking, distance yourself, perhaps get defensive or retaliate, then give up, and generally try to get away from anything that might worsen the situation.
Can you identify with either of these positions when things get stressful in your relationship? This is the push pull. The more I push to try and work out things and the more you distances. The result? disconnection emotionally for both. And loss of closeness, followed by loss of intimacy, physically and emotionally. The push pull pattern gets going in all relationships from time to time and most often gets worked out. When the pattern becomes entrenched and unresolved, the relationship can be heading for trouble because the underlying lack of connection grows wider.
What to do? To address the Push Pull pattern before it takes control takes three distinct steps:
1. Notice the pattern. As simple as it seems, just noticing that there is a pattern can change things for the better. It does not matter who started or finished the argument but rather that once the pattern starts it is in charge and either or both of you can take steps to alter it. The act of noticing that the pattern is one way toward counteracting the automatic control of the push pull pattern,
2. Notice my part in the pattern To notice my own part in the pattern means that I need to identify if I tend to push for connection or pull back for connection when difficult situations arise in my relationship; and
3. Do something differently than I would ordinarily do. So if I “push”, then try something different and see what happens. In the end, the pattern is the enemy in the relationship, not your partner. Move toward working together “against the enemy” to defuse its effect.
The information is based on Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) a process grounded in solid research by Dr. Sue Johnson in Ottawa, Ontario. For further reference go to her book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for Lifetime of Love.
So in the spirit of Inspired Lifestyle where we examine ways to improve our daily lives, let’s have a discussion about how to unstick the stuckness in your relationship. Let’s have a discussion on how you might begin to use the knowledge of the push pull to and the three steps to change stuck patterns in your relationships.