When couples don’t understand that the other person cannot see the world the same as they do, they assume the other is being difficult, mean or uncaring.
Below is a story that depicts a lot of the frustration many couples feel. This story is, one type of dynamic there are of course many.
So below may not be your dynamic, but it illustrates the gap in understanding that everyone is having.
When the warrior first meets and falls for the princess, he marvels at her beauty.
He stands by her side, looking after her, protecting her and loving her.
Full of his Love, the princess connects with his powerful presence, honesty and strength.
She looks into his eyes and sees the future clearly, a wonderful life is possible with a warrior like this, she feels.
She knows this man loves her, and she can see he will become a great man, so her future looks complete and secure.
So the princess gives herself to the warrior, and they agree to spend their life together.
Every day the warrior goes into battle, his mission is to protect his family.
She loves and nurtures her new family, she is absorbed in her new role.
She is no longer just a princess, she is now a mother and lover too.
Her time is busy with loving her children, and he is out fighting battles to keep them safe, but an important change has happened, and they have not noticed.
He comes home exhausted from another battle, she too is exhausted from caring for her family on her own.
As he sits to relax and gets rid of his day he looks for food and desires her.
Today she rejects him.
The warrior and the princess have started to change, she keeps feeling unsettled, and she feels he is not present for her even when he is there.
So she feels disconnected from him, which scares her, so she goes to him as she is craving a connection with him.
The way she does this is she shares all her worries even those about him.
To the warrior, these matters are small and irrelevant, especially when compared to the battles he faces every day.
So he tells her to forget her woes, and he tries to desire her again; she is now furious as he dismisses her feelings.
Full of anger, she rejects him again.
She now looks at how she used to feel when they first met and how she feels today, she prods him and provokes him to notice her and connect with her.
She wants him to see how she feels, and the pain she is in due to the growing disconnect. Can he not see what’s happening to her?
The warrior becomes tired of her attacks and negativity, his patience is wearing thin.
He starts to become aware that another war is starting, but this one is in his own home, all he wants is a simple life, and he wants peace.
In this war, he feels powerless because no matter what he does, he struggles to win the battle, and in a rage, he pulls his sword on his princess to shut her down.
This sends shock waves through her, and now she has a new feeling, she is now scared of the warrior she loves.
This was a feeling she never expected, and now in extreme pain, she moves to protect herself from him.
The cycle continues, and eventually, she copes by emotionally numbing herself and putting up a wall of protection to keep herself safe.
Now her focus has changed, she can no longer go to the warrior she loves, in fact, now he has stopped being the warrior for her. She sees him as selfish, weak and a bully.
He sees her as mean negative always complaining, he can do nothing right!
So she feels alone and scared, and from time to time her fears show up to test the warrior.
She hopes he will wake up to her pain, but he never does.
He’s growing tired of all the emotion as he looks at a past that used to be full of fun.
He starts to see that pulling his sword on her does make her quiet, but it’s not the way he wants it to be.
He seems happy now she is calm, but he doesn’t see her truth.
She may now be quiet, but she is becoming detached, getting Love from her children.
He feels successful in battle, so he spends more of his time where he feels good, and that’s not with her anymore.
In fact, now he rarely comes home.
This is a common story I see every day.
Couples don’t understand each other, so they pick up their weapons and shields to solve their problems, and it never works.
What works is changing the couple’s thinking to one that understands the reality of what they are dealing with.
Attacking, and defending – none of these are relationship-building models.
Couples need solid foundations for growing their connection, but the knowledge they need will never just descend because relationships are highly complex with many moving parts.
My clients want simple ways to deal with complex problems so both people can win.