Couples And Trench Warfare

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The problem unhealthy couples have is not the lack of any desire to improve the situation but rather an inherently flawed strategy to get there. They hope to go about improving things with the very same underlying mentality that caused problems to begin with.

This mentality can best be called adversarial. It pits partners against each other. They vie for privileged ownership of the ‘truth’, they hope that by being proven ‘right’ in this or that area of conflict the conflict will disappear. So what’s front and center is actually being right, with a hoped for secondary effect that the relationship will improve once the offending partner has finally seen the error of his or her ways.

What we’re talking about here is not any movement towards loving community and the health and happiness that result from it but rather continuous trench warfare. The battle lines were drawn long ago and now the positions of both armies are firmly entrenched. Gaining a little ground by winning this or that argument doesn’t change the fact that the relationship is a war not an alliance. And the partner who loses ground will wait for opportunities to pounce in other areas of conflict in order to try to regain that lost ground.

There’s little room for understanding and acceptance in this sort of paradigm, little room for patience and forgiveness, little room for seeing the best in the other, little room for seeing the potential in the other, little room for seeing the light in the other. It’s mostly darkness, mostly frustration, mostly hostility, mostly a closed off attitude, mostly the secret desire to get even.

If couples really do want to improve things they’ve got to decide that being right or wrong on this or that issue is utterly useless as long as the underlying attitude is adversarial. The intention has got to be to actively trade trench warfare for loving community, to form an alliance where the primary reason for being there is to support the happiness and growth of the other, period.