Sometimes fights are simply about the issue at hand. You know because it’s a one-up and you quickly get to the heart of the matter, resolve it, and move on.
But often times recurring fights are rooted in something deeper. When this is the case, consider the possibility of allowing each other space to feel anger in the relationship. You might be thinking, why would I allow my partner space to be angry?
Dr. F Emilia Sam sums it up perfectly in her recent blog, 5 Signs You’re In A Highly Sacred Relationship “The art of holding space for another is rooted in love and respect. It means listening to them wholeheartedly and letting them know by your complete presence that they are seen and valued. It’s not a space where you try to fix the other person. It’s about being witness to the totality of your beloved.”
The greatest gift you can give your partner is the space to feel their anger and move through it without you injecting your “stuff” into it. What do I mean by your “stuff?” Defending, nurturing, going into fix-it mode is more about your need to do so and less about your partner.
Let’s face it, when you really get down to it your partner’s anger is not about you. Your actions only served as a trigger for an unresolved belief adopted in the formative years. An unresolved event or issue that you are now triggering.
Triggering your partner is actually a beautiful thing because you are giving your partner the opportunity to heal. Creating space for healing in a relationship can be a deeply profound experience that strengthens your bond and deepens your love for each other.
On the other hand, getting entangled in the topic of the moment by defending, nurturing, or attempting to “fix-it” only serves to drive a wedge between the two of you and ultimately weakens your bond. It may seem the issue at hand has been addressed but the underlying belief lives on and will resurface until resolved.
The most critical thing you can do to hold space for your partner is outlined by Don Migual Ruiz in his book, The Four Agreements:
Not taking it personally is like a new muscle that you will want to build. And building strong muscles takes time and consistency. As you practice you will get better at it.
Don’t feel discouraged if you fall out of step and take things personally. With some conscious effort, this will come easier and your partner will see your efforts and love you more for your commitment to the relationship.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I offer actionable steps to help your partner move through his/her anger.