Kate Holmquest | September 22, 2015

How to Get
the Love You Deserve

We always get the love we deserve. The real question is: Are we doing what we need to do to earn the love we WANT?

The word “deserve” brings up feelings of entitlement or inadequacy. We either feel we deserve more love than our partner is giving us or that we’re not deserving of the love we actually want. Instead, reframe your analysis of the term “deserve” to think of it as “earning” the love you want.

When we’re talking about partnerships and relationships, the question of engagement always comes up. It applies to all our interactions, whether it’s in business or in our personal lives. Are you fully engaging with those around you? Are you using conflict as a way to get the most out of your relationships?

We often think of conflict as a negative thing, but really, it’s conflict that causes changes and growth. You cannot change or get stronger without resistance. If you’re smoothly sailing along and going through life “conflict free” then you’re either fooling yourself, lying to yourself, or you have your head in the sand. By the very nature of being human, we face conflicting wants, desires and yearnings. Getting to the heart of these is what helps us connect and find ways to fulfill the needs and desires we have.

Following the Rules

Behind every “ugly fight”—where the couple gets stuck in a cycle of blaming and defending or stuck in the drama triangle—is an underlying truth. There’s something that isn’t being fulfilled. It may be an unanswered yearning or built up resentment.

Growing and transforming within your relationship is about fighting fair. Not avoiding the fight all together, but engaging in a productive and respectful discussion in which you express your issue and open up the heart of the conflict. There are a few rules of engagement that can help you ensure fights are productive and fair. Rooted in personal responsibility, these rules are for both sides of the partnership, but even if only one side follows, there will be a vast improvement in communication and engagement.

  1. Minimize the Negative: Avoid passive aggressive behaviors like disengagement (stonewalling, withholding, and secretive behavior). Avoid tiptoeing around conflict, focusing on soft addictions and extreme fighting with blame, shame, whining and justification.
  2. Accentuate the Positive: This means sincere engagement, where you approach each other openly, with a sense of humor, honesty and responsiveness. This means being truthful about your yearnings, talking, sharing affection and being “real.”
  3. No One Gets or Gives More Than 50% of the Blame: It’s a no-fault relationship. No matter who instigated the argument or discussion or who did what, you and your partner are part of a system, and as they say, “It takes two to tango.”
  4. You Must Take 100% Responsibility for your own Happiness: If you hurt, you are 100% responsible for those feelings, and on the flipside, you are 100% responsible for your own feelings of happiness. It isn’t your partner’s job to “make” you happy. No one can control your emotions but you. Support is one thing, but personal responsibility is at the foundation of transformational conflict and engagement.
  5. Express and Agree with the Truth: ALWAYS be truthful in your engagement. Always. So often there’s a great deal of truth in an argument, but neither side wants to “give in” or acknowledge that truth. It’s okay to say, “You’re right, but I don’t like it.” Acknowledge that there’s truth in the argument and it can often turn the tide.
  6. Always Fight FOR Something, Not Against: What is it you yearn for? Rather than arguing that your partner never helps out, consider arguing FOR your partner to help you out. This ability to reframe the conflict turns it into a positive, growth-focused interaction that meets an underlying yearning. Ask yourself in every conflict, what is it that you’re really fighting FOR?
  7. Assume Goodwill: Time and time again, this is a hard one for couples to accept. In the majority of cases, your partner isn’t out to get you. In fact, they WANT to work things out with you. That doesn’t mean that they won’t say anything cruel or that you’ll always get along, but it does mean that for the most part, they’re trying, too. Stop looking at each other as the enemy.

No matter if you’re single, married, or trying to apply the rules of engagement at work or with friends, you’ll find that if you follow the rules, your conflicts will become more productive. Your personal responsibility will be realized and you will approach things in a way that will help meet your yearnings and foster growth and deeper engagement.

If you follow the rules and both sides of the couple are learning and growing together and sharing their yearnings with each other, they’ll both get the love they want.

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s new book coming out in February 2016: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available for preorder now!)

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About the Author

Kate Holmquest

Kate Holmquest is a coach, curriculum developer, and campus director for Wright and the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential who believes that dating is one of the best possible playgrounds for discovering and transforming yourself! Potential movie titles that describe her quest for satisfaction in single life are “40 First Dates” (a.k.a. dating with velocity), “Ten Things I Hate About You” (a.k.a. telling the truth on dates), and “The Thing About My Folks” (a.k.a. noticing and breaking the relationship rules I learned at home).

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Blog post image courtesy Flickr user 50732422@N06.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.