It’s one of the biggest struggles in every relationship: How do you get your partner to see sense and realize you’re right?
Back when you were single, you didn’t have to think about convincing anyone else to do what you wanted to do. You just did it.
If you wanted to go camping, or decorate your apartment a certain way, or have take-out for dinner, you didn’t have to ask anyone else’s permission. You were sovereign.
Then you got into a relationship.
At first, it was easy. You wanted to do the things your partner wanted to do. It was exciting, fun, and new. Both of you bent over backwards to accommodate each other.
But you still each had your own lives. You didn’t have to do the same things all the time. You kept some of your freedom.
No wonder you were so much in love. You had the best of both worlds.
As you may have noticed … a lot of relationships collapse when two people move in together or get married.
Suddenly, they have to share control all the time. They have to share the same living space. They have to coordinate mealtimes. They have to deal with each other’s bedtime routines.
And conflict springs up like flowers after rain.
No wonder so many of us wish there was some Rod of Righteousness we could use to knock some sense into our partner’s head.
Because your partner is so clearly wrong. You’ve spent a lifetime developing your preferences and tastes. You know how things should be done. Your beliefs and opinions are indisputably the correct ones.
How can your partner—who’s supposed to be your soulmate, your twin flame—not agree with you? You two are like peas in a pod! You think the same about everything!
That shock breaks apart immature relationships. You picked this person because they were so much like you. If you’d known you’d fight so much, you’d have never agreed to the relationship. The power struggle destroys the love.
How you fight defines your relationship just as much as how you love.
So how do you make your partner do what you want? Do you hypnotize them? Bat your eyelashes and say, “Pretty please”? Make them feel guilty for saying no? Say, “If you do this for me, I’ll do that for you?” Pull out the silent treatment? Paint a clear picture of what their life will be like living with you, if they continue to do things their way?
These are all control tactics, and a lot of the time they do work. Manipulation, threats, bullying, and guilt trips are all part of the common relationship. No different from high school.
But those tactics just exacerbate the power struggle. They make it worse.
You may win this fight, but next time both of you will be savvier opponents. You’ll learn each other’s weaknesses. You’ll find more ingenious and deadly weapons to use against each other.
In a loving relationship, the only way to get your partner to do what you want is not to fight. It’s to listen.
Really listen. Understand their point of view. Find out what they want. Find out why they’re so attached to having things a certain way.
Only then, once you both really, really understand each other, can you find something that works for both of you.
Understanding clears up so many disagreements. Your partner doesn’t disagree with you because they’re an idiot. They disagree because, from their perspective, that’s the only position that makes sense.
No wonder you can’t convince your partner to see things your way. You don’t get why your partner sees things the way they do. So you have to rely on manipulation or control tactics. You’re trying to make your partner do something they believe in their heart is wrong.
If you’re sick and tired of fighting in your relationship, then try this 1-Week No-Argument Challenge.
For the next 7 days, every time you open your mouth to argue, say this instead: “Help me understand why you feel that way.”
If you still don’t get it, then ask a few more questions.
Keep asking until you finally, truly get why your partner believes what they believe.
That’s how you create a safe relationship. One where disagreeing doesn’t risk losing each other’s love.