Couple Relationship

From Election to Relationship — After Election # 1

I actually wrote this one on the day of the election, right after I cast the vote. I didn’t realize or foreseen there will be so many “situations” happening in my therapy room after the election.


The voting is done and this election can be finally put to rest for another 4 years.
What I want to share with you here is my observation about the election and the relationship. With all the craziness going on in this election, I would like to have some positive learning coming out from this election to our daily life.

Everyday, my Facebook page were filled with my friends’ different opinions about different news for different candidate. It was very clear that a lot of people have picked their candidate from early on. So, in the same news, this friend might agree with it and the other one might totally disagree with it. However, what’s clear is: once this person’s mind is made up, we pick the evidence to support our conviction.
It made me think about this thing in the couple’s relationship called “negative sentiment override,” a term from Dr. John Gottman. It made sound very academic. The way I saw it was like collecting the stamps on the reward card. When we started to come up with a “conviction” about “this is the way you were,” we started to collect evidence in the daily life to prove this.
Therefore, pretty soon, before your partner finishes his/her sentence, you rolls your eyes and in the back of your head, you say: “here we go again!” Next thing you know, you are searching the loopholes in your partner’s words to defend yourself or to criticize him/her.
There is nothing more detrimental to the relationship by giving a “conviction” and “collecting the evidence to prove it.” It is so detrimental to the relationship because we stop listening to each other.
However, have you ever step back and think: “Is this really what he/she is thinking at this moment?” Have you ever step back and really think from your partner’s perspective and said: “well, I may not agree with his/her perspective, but I do see some valid points in there. Or, I can see why he/she saw things that way.”

So, the voting is done. No matter what’s the outcome of today, I hope we all know this: we are connected not by the party or the president but LOVE and Compassion.
This is the same as any relationship. Next time, before you convicted your partner, think about this: “We are connected with LOVE.” So, as you hear yourself saying: “here we go again,” stop yourself and give your partner a benefit of the doubt. Asking your partner: “Can you tell me more about that? Explain to me where are you coming from and your rationale.” You might be surprised.

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