Ahead of our next Wisdom Podcast at 4pm UK on Saturday 24 October, Snake looks into how couples can come together during tough times and not let disagreements drive themselves apart.
Yet another side effect of the pandemic is widespread disagreement. From the governance of nations to carving out laptop space on the dining room table, contention seems always within arm’s reach.
Accustomed to freedom of movement, and abundant human interaction including at work, family or friends we suddenly find ourselves attempting to negotiate this ‘new normal’ face-to-face with a partner, in a small pod; or alone with only a mirror for company.
It’s little wonder we’re all a bit edgy.
A difference of opinion or disagreement can have a positive impact on a relationship revealing unforeseen options or creative solutions. But conflict, or the chronic inability to reconcile disagreements, can damage a relationship beyond repair.
Judging or minimising the beliefs and desires of another weakens trust. Blaming others as an exercise in avoidance or denial causes disagreements to fester, and grow into full-blown conflict.
Allowing a relationship to define the individual can disempower. Disagreements though reveal differences that define and mature that individual.
The art of disagreement requires self-examination. When uncertainty rules the moment people tend to explode, implode… or yearn for something to rely on. We enter relationships to find exactly that, only to realise it is actually ourselves we must learn to rely on order to build reliable relationships.
Power tools are available. The most popular among them is “You spot it, you got it.”
Are you able to see a part of yourself in the objectionable opinions and behaviour of another? Can you relate? Are you willing to drop your defences for a moment of considerate empathy?
Additional power tools include:
Are you in it to win, or open to generous compromise?
Do anger or defensiveness cause your ears to shut down?
You may disagree but are you able to consider an opinion other than your own?
Is control or lack of control at the heart of a disagreement?
Do you keep a ledger and insist on balancing emotional accounts?
The art of disagreement requires engagement, self-examination and a lifetime of practice. What’s love got to do with it? A second hand emotion?