Relationships often ride on waves of pure emotion. Today we’re going to look at one of these emotions in particular – anger.
Because anger is by far the most serious threat to a lasting love.
Most failed relationships die by degrees, slowly beaten down by criticism and contempt, the evil enemies of compassion. You see, once compassion has gone, so has your relationship.
All couples fight about the same things – sex, money, bringing up the kids – but they don’t all fight in the same way. Those who argue compassionately live to love another day. Those whose arguments are vicious and disrespectful inevitably kill the thing they love.
If you find yourself starting sentences with “You always…’ or ‘You never…’ it is time to stop and learn how to ‘complain with compassion’. Before criticism escalates into contempt or descends into violence.
Complaint begins with a gentle request – ‘I need your help’. It then observes what’s going on – ‘you know those socks on the bathroom floor’. It then states the impact on you – ‘the mess makes me irritated and resentful’. And finally it asks for input – ‘how can we make this better, together?’
It is gentle, generous and compassionate. It doesn’t blame. It feels like you care. It feels like love.
Thus freed from the barriers of resistance and resentment, your lover can listen, learn and respond to your needs. Which means that you feel loved as well.
Contempt kills love
If you find yourself arguing violently – with insults and name calling, it’s time to find a counsellor. Now.
Complaint is healthy
To protect your passion, complain with compassion. Don’t let contempt cut you off from your deeper values and don’t become someone you’re not.
Manage your anger
Repressed anger leads to depression, while poorly expressed anger leads to divorce. Yet managed in a healthy, positive way anger can help lead the way to a happier ever after.
Next week: F is for Forgiveness
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