Unpacking Emotional Baggage in Your Relationship

“My boyfriend pisses me off. I swear he purposely tries to get under my skin!” Courtney exclaimed as she started the process of unpacking emotional baggage in my office.

A couple cuddle as they take in the view. Unpacking emotional baggage in your relationship brings us closer to the ones we love.


“It’s like he does all he can to annoy me with little things. Even the way he slurps his cereal bugs me sometimes. He’s always paying attention to his phone over me…I swear it’s like we’re strangers. I’m starting to wonder if we’re even right together. Maybe I’m missing out on ‘the one.’”

It’s a common complaint. Your relationship feels like it’s going along fine, but there are little actions your partner takes that irritate the heck out of you. You start to wonder if there’s not a fairytale out there waiting for you to find. You wonder why your significant other doesn’t make you feel as happy as they once did.

These feelings are totally normal and common to most relationships. The truth is, we all come into relationships carrying emotional baggage—or unfinished business—with us.

Emotional Baggage: Why We Carry in Unfinished Business

Whether you’re in a new relationship or you’ve been with the same partner for the last twenty years, there is still emotional baggage you each bring into the relationship. Each and every person has unfinished business stemming from as far back as your childhood. Even if you think you’re not consciously carrying it into your relationship, it’s there. (Don’t believe me? Just ask your partner!)

If you want to build a deeper connection with your partner, roll up your sleeves and unpack your emotional baggage. But first, it helps to understand why we all carry this unfinished business with us.

Our unfinished business is made up of limiting beliefs about ourselves, the attachments we formed with our parents and others growing up (our attachment schemas), our implicit memories set in our early childhood, projections, transferences, and more. Sounds like a lot to unpack, doesn’t it?

Deep within your neural pathways is embedded a foundational web of beliefs, ideas, and experiences. We refer to this as your “matrix” and it’s made up of those limiting attitudes, personal biases, and mistaken beliefs. Your matrix comes from your early relationship programming—typically your relationship with your mother, father, and siblings. This is often set early, even before you’ve established and understand the language or pinpoint specific memories.


As you learn about yourself and examine who you are, you may start to discover things about yourself you hadn’t realized before.


You may also notice things about your partner and relationship. You may notice common themes in your fights. You may notice patterns in the little actions that annoy you. These themes give you a strong clue where your unfinished business lies. As you acknowledge, understand, and accept yourself, you will start to complete your unfinished business.

Now, this isn’t easy. Most of us have hidden much of our unfinished business away. We carefully curate the image we want to show to others—the pieces we want others to validate. These are the parts of ourselves we were taught were “okay” or acceptable.

When we start in a romantic relationship, we often put our best foot forward. Think of setting up an online dating profile. You don’t mention all the details that are less appealing to a partner. You choose the most flattering pictures and paint yourself in the best light.

As you start to connect with someone romantically, you may experience a honeymoon period. You’re very excited about your new lover and hanging on their every word. Their every move seems charming, sweet, and attractive. Even the way they slurp cereal might seem cute when you’re in the haze of a crush.

But after a while, the satisfaction and excitement wanes. Reality sets in and your unconscious mind takes over. Suddenly all that subconscious programming, unfinished business, and emotional baggage comes back to the surface. Those irritations and annoyances get under your skin. Strong emotions surface and arguments erupt.

So, does this mean your relationship is doomed? No! Not at all. In fact, choosing a partner that pricks all your unfinished business is actually a good sign. It means your unconscious mind is selecting someone who compliments you and your matrix.


You’re predisposed to choose someone who is most likely to trigger your mistaken beliefs about yourself and the world, poke at old emotional wounds, or even rub metaphorical salt in them. They will bring to the surface any aspects of yourself that you haven’t integrated or haven’t discovered. No, this isn’t some bad cosmic joke— instead of being destined to fall in love with a fairytale prince or princess, you’re destined to spend your life with a great sparring partner. If you want a full, engaged life, then you need that partner. The unconscious purpose of relationships is to complete or continue our development and provoke us to learn, grow, and even transform ourselves.

Remember, attraction isn’t just about chemistry. You wouldn’t have been attracted to someone or “fallen in love” unless she or he fit your unconscious template of what love “feels” like— the good and the bad. We all have a conscious stated reason for getting into relationships: we fell in love; we want to share our life with a special someone; we can’t imagine living without him or her. But there is also an unconscious purpose of relationships: to complete our unfinished developmental business and become the person we can become. Fights often occur because unfinished business is rising to the surface. This serves a purpose: it helps you become conscious of what needs to be faced, understood, and shared for you to learn, grow, and complete yourself.

The Heart of the Fight


Who’s Responsible for Your Happiness? YOU!

A common comment I hear from couples is, “he/she doesn’t make me happy anymore.” Many of us have this idea that our partner is somehow responsible for our happiness. When we feel dissatisfied or unfulfilled with ourselves, we resent that our partner is slighting us or not resolving all of our emotional baggage for us. The idea of what true relationship happiness looks like is as mystical as any Disney fairytale.


The truth is—YOU are responsible for your own happiness. Relationships are meant to serve as both a womb and a crucible: A place where we grow and a place where we become stronger. But growth isn’t comfortable.


In fact, growing pains are common but necessary. A crucible is a situation or place where elements are forged together under pressure and hot temperatures to create something new.  Both are places of creation and both exist in discomfort.

It’s only natural that discomfort and conflict extends into your relationship. Many people worry there’s something wrong with their relationship if they argue with their partner, if they don’t always get along, or if they find themselves attracted to other people. The narrative no longer lives up to the fairytale they’d imagined.

In reality, arguments, conflict, and challenges are a normal part of life and growth. They’re necessary for the development of a successful relationship.


The Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods illustrates this point perfectly. The first act of the musical creatively intertwines fairytales: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk. In the first act, the fairytales play out according to our expectations— Jack finds great wealth after climbing the beanstalk, Cinderella marries her prince, Rapunzel is rescued from her tower, Red Riding Hood is saved from the wolf, and their wishes are all fulfilled. The stage is set for them all to live happily ever after.

The second act opens with the audience in a dreamy state, lulled by the happily- ever- after outcomes in the first act. Surprisingly, we find each character discontent and wishing for something else. Cinderella feels empty and seeks meaning by planning a festival. Her Prince Charming is disillusioned and bored with her and her desires, wishing he had quested after Sleeping Beauty instead. Henpecked, Rapunzel’s prince is likewise distancing himself from the emotional, distraught Rapunzel, a new mother with a little baby evoking memory of the cruelties experienced at the hands of her evil witch mother. Little Red Riding Hood despairs over the death of her grandmother, and they all wander aimlessly into the woods where terrifying primal forces lurk. Chaos reigns, and the narrator is killed, meaning that they are no longer in the prewritten fairytale and they have to write their own story. This is the critical turning point in the play as they are left in the unknown, dependent on their own and each other’s resources.

More to the point, this is the critical moment for couples. This is when they leave the myths of relationships behind and are free to go into the dark woods of their feelings, their beliefs, and their unconscious minds. It is at this point that they can find themselves and each other. Free of the myths, they don’t have to pretend that everything is great and can engage in growth-producing conflict. Unburdened by the need to maintain a perfect relationship, they can express their true feelings and argue for their beliefs. This is the point where they begin to write their own love story, letting go of idyllic relationship misconceptions and creating meaning, purpose, and genuine connected intimacy in their relationship.

The Heart of the Fight


Letting go of the belief that our partner is responsible for our happiness puts the responsibility and the ABILITY back on us. When we realize we’re 100% responsible for our own happiness, we stop looking at our relationship as a panacea to cure us of our woes. While being with someone else may make us feel happy for a while, true happiness comes from discovering our own strength and working on our personal fulfillment.

Develop Yourself for a Stronger Relationship

Those who study the brain have discovered it’s equipped with amazing neuroplasticity. The brain is constantly building and rebuilding new pathways and circuits. As we acquire new beliefs and engage in new experiences, our brains adapt and grow.

We’re drawn to novelty and excitement. New situations help us feel upbeat and happy. When we’re in a relationship for a while, that excitement wanes and we return to the status quo. That doesn’t mean the relationship is failing.

We get the same feelings of excitement and novelty as we stretch our skills and work on ourselves. When we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, dig in, and examine our beliefs we feel fulfilled and satisfied (like we do in the honeymoon of a new relationship). We’re essentially our own hero, our own “prince charming,” and our own adventure. As we get-to-know and build a relationship with ourselves we become enlivened and energized.


While we may wish our relationship was the answer to our fulfillment, the answer is really within us. We may long for a partnership that’s smooth sailing all the time, but it’s those bumps in the road that bring us closer together and helps us learn about ourselves.


So, the next time your partner annoys you, ask yourself why. Unpack your emotional baggage—where are your beliefs coming from? What do your feelings say about you? What do they remind you of? Can you draw other parallels in your life?

Consider involving your partner on your road to personal growth. What would you both gain by exploring together? Working on growth together will deepen your intimacy and draw you closer to each other as you learn more about yourself.

For more ways to connect with your partner and grow please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you can meet and connect with other individuals on their journey. Learn more about yourself and others as you go forth to ignite your world.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


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

Passive Aggressive Silent
Treatment: How To Break
the Cycle & Free
Your Relationship

Ever been so pissed off at your partner you put up a wall and enforce “the silent treatment”? (…who hasn’t?!) Or, are you sick of being on the receiving end of the cold shoulder?



Or maybe the two of you are BOTH guilty of this type of passive aggressive behavior. It’s time to break the cycle.

You know the drill. Your partner does something that annoys you, so you think to yourself, “I’m so irritated right now. I’ll show him! I’m not going to speak to him until he notices just how wrong he is—and how frustrated I am.” Then you skulk around, huffing and making just enough noise so he notices you’re there and hopefully realizes you’re ticked off.

Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of the silent treatment. Half the time, do you even know what you did wrong? Nope! You can usually sense your partner is mad. While they say they don’t want to talk about it, you’re definitely aware they’re upset. So you tiptoe around passive aggressively and wait until one of you finally snaps and says what’s bothering you.

When this type of silent treatment standoff happens, it goes nowhere. The two of you sit there battling it out, unsatisfied and unproductive. The silent treatment is useless. It satisfies neither of you, and it doesn’t result in any positive outcomes.

The silent treatment is like creating a field of landmines. You’re not waging a war. You’re tiptoeing around trying not to trigger any major explosions. It’s like walking on eggshells—and it can really take a toll on your relationship. In fact, it can be even more damaging than cleaning up the aftermath of a healthy fight and productive confrontation.

Navigating on a silent battlefield leads to paranoia, indifference and frustration. It creates greater distance and pushes the two of you further and further apart. You’re never quite sure how to step or where to go, and so eventually you either become anxious or you just stop caring. Neither one is a great outcome. While no relationship is perfect, the silent treatment can damage even the best relationships beyond repair.

Why We Give Each Other the Silent Treatment

So if it’s so bad, why do we do it?! Even more, why have we done it since we were in grade school and why did we see our mothers and fathers give each other the silent middle finger so many times growing up?

Many of us are raised to believe that passive aggressive silent treatment behavior is just part of being a couple.

The root of our propensity toward the passive aggressive silent treatment begins in childhood during the terrible twos. We’re just learning how to exercise our own will and to establish boundaries. We want things and we’re demanding. When we demanded something from our parents, our siblings or a friend, chances are we were probably shot down. We didn’t always get what we wanted. As children, when we don’t get what we want, we establish the belief that people don’t want to please us—a belief that lasts into adulthood.


Looking for more tips and tools for ending passive-aggresive cycles in your relationship?

Get a FREE 15-minute Relationship Coaching Consultation!


What did we do when we didn’t get what we wanted as a two-year-old? We threw a raging temper tantrum, of course! We probably yelled and cried and stomped our feet. Maybe it worked and maybe it didn’t, but we definitely got someone’s attention. We learned that we could stomp our feet to clue someone in to our displeasure. They might not give in, but in a way, we could punish them. It gave us a sense of control.

So with this belief that people didn’t want to give us our way, we learned to give and accept punishment. Flash forward to adulthood and we’re still engaged in the same self-fulfilling prophecy. When our partner doesn’t give us our way, we’re going to punish them by being silent. Then, our partner gets mad that we’re silent, so they punish us—and round and round we go.

It’s an endless cycle:

  1. My partner doesn’t want to please me,
  2. So I act in a displeasing way,
  3. Which causes my partner to believe I’m a jerk,
  4. So my partner acts in a way that doesn’t please me,
  5. Which confirms my belief that my partner doesn’t want to please me.

Sound familiar?

Recognizing the Limiting Beliefs Behind the Silent Punishment

Unfortunately, none of us were blessed with psychic abilities (and if we were, we’d all be lottery winners). Our partners aren’t mind readers, but yet, we hold out and wait for them to do the things we want them to do. We’re afraid to tell them what we want. Then when they don’t do what we want, we punish them for not reading our minds.

Why? It goes back to our limiting beliefs established well before we were even aware. People that come from mind-reading families tend to believe: If you really love me, you would do X. If I have to ask for X, X becomes less worthwhile. It sounds so adolescent and outlandish, but think back to the last time you or your partner gave each other the cold shoulder. It felt pretty juvenile, didn’t it?

Giving your significant other the silent treatment is really a reflection of your own limiting belief that you’re not strong enough to just ask for what you really want without fear of rejection. When you punish your partner, you’re really diminishing yourself. You’re saying you aren’t equal, you’re weak, and you have to resort to passive aggression over confrontation and conflict. Instead of engaging, you’re disengaging and your relationship is paying the price.


Stuck in a passive-aggressive silent-treatment cycle?
Break the silence and rebuild your relationship.

Reach out to our experienced relationship coaches to learn how to bring out the best in your relationship.


Coming to a Win-Win Outcome: Overcoming the Silent Treatment

So how do we fix this silent minefield we’re battling on? Is it about just letting go of your frustration and irritation?

NO! It’s about embracing what you want, not diminishing it! You need to be able to ask for what you want freely so your partner knows what you want, and then you can make decisions together that make BOTH sides happy! Get to the heart of the fight and embrace the conflict.

When you bristle at something your partner does, like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, teasing you at a party, or not holding your hand in public, get down to the real heart of the issue. What is it you want from your partner? It’s not clean dishes, a better sense of humor, or even a warm hand. It’s respect! It’s appreciation! It’s affection! Those deeper yearnings that counter those limiting beliefs and say, “Yes, I am worthy of respect and I deserve it!”

Articulate your feelings to your partner and let them know what you really want! It takes skills and time to learn how to fully listen to each other and to have productive fights with win-win outcomes, but it can definitely happen! Rather than shutting down, speak up and put it out there on the table. Talk about the situations rather than glossing over them.

Stop Giving Each Other the Silent Treatment – Go For What You Want!

Judith still remembers a moment early on in our relationship when I told her, “I want you to go for everything you want in this relationship—but that doesn’t mean there won’t be times when I’ll want to stop you. So I’m not promising to meet all your wants and needs, but I am saying that, as a ground rule of this relationship, both of us should seek out the fullest satisfaction from each other.”

Many people are more aware of what they don’t want, rather than what they do want. Stop giving each other the silent treatment, and start pleasing each other and going for what you really want in your relationship. Soon, you’ll be battling toward bliss, rather than walking on eggshells.

Learn more by visiting Wright Living. Discover how you can engage, strengthen your relationships, and get more out of your interactions today and every day. You can also join us for our next More Life Training, where you’ll jumpstart your social and emotional intelligence skills and learn how to be your best self!

About the Author

Bob-300x250-1

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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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.

A Couple’s Guide to
15 Common Fights,
What They Really Mean
& How They Can
Bring You Closer

We’re so pleased to announce the release of our new book, “The Heart of the Fight.” In the book, Judith Wright and I draw on our many years of experience, both in our own relationship (which I can tell you has quite a bit of conflict once in a while) and in the relationships of many of the couples we’ve worked with over the years.


We’ll talk about the beauty and the messiness of love. Believe me when I say: love is a lot of both. Many people have these notions that love is always going to be like it is in the movies. The reality is sometimes love is more about the knock-down, drag-out, emotional upheaval that ultimately serves as a platform for growth.

Love is both a womb that nourishes and a crucible that forges us into what we can become. It’s nourishing, but it’s also intense and deep, and the best love puts you through a lot of tests so you can come out stronger.

Conflict is Good…Really!

We’ve been raised with this idea that conflict is bad. Arguing and fighting must mean something is wrong, as in: “We’re always fighting. We just don’t get along.”

We hear it time and time again. Truth is, couples who are engaged with each other (those who go “all in”) will experience conflict. It’s inevitable. It’s a struggle over your yearnings and meeting the yearnings of the other person. It’s a struggle to be seen openly and honestly for who you are and to have the other person know you, accept you, challenge you, and bring out your best.

I worry much more about the couples who say they never fight.

If a couple cares for one another and cares about working toward common goals, they will experience conflict. Conflict means you feel. As for those couples that “never fight”? Chances are they’re just going through the motions. They’re “over” engaging with each other and working together. Maybe they’ve even given up.

It’s time to get back in the fight. By learning the rules of engagement, couples can learn to fight fairly and productively. They can learn how to work toward (and fight for) the relationship.

The 7 Rules of Engagement: Fight, Don’t War


the heart of the fight rules of engagement


The first two rules: Accentuate the positive and Minimize the negative. This doesn’t mean just blowing smoke or trying to pretend everything’s fine when it’s not. Often when we’re really angry at our partner, we get in this mode of believing that absolutely everything has gone to hell. If we step back and look at the positive aspects of our relationship (the way our partner nurtures us, the good parts, and the fun times) and minimize the negative things (the way your partner balls his socks up on the bedroom floor), we can gain a little perspective.

Next rule: No one gets more than 50% of the blame. How easy is it to blame everything on the other person? For example: “Well, I tried to say how I felt, but she didn’t listen, and now it’s all her fault…” Nope. It’s so easy to become the victim of our partner’s behavior, which causes us to fall into the drama triangle. Just like EVERYTHING isn’t entirely your fault, everything isn’t your partner’s fault either.

On the same note, the next rule is another one we’ve mentioned a few times: You are 100% responsible for your own happiness and satisfaction. It isn’t your partner’s job to rescue you or make you happy. It’s your responsibility to work toward your own happiness and it’s your partner’s responsibility to work toward theirs.

Rule #5: Express and agree with the truth, always. The truth might not be what you want to hear. In fact, the truth might be, “You’re really pissing me off right now.” This rule is about expressing the truth and being honest about what you’re feeling. When something is wrong, it’s so easy to say, “It’s fine,” and then spend the rest of the day shutting down and withholding. It’s much more difficult to express what you’re feeling. The truth is hard. The truth makes us vulnerable, and we don’t always like to be vulnerable. You must be trustworthy in your relationship.

Likewise, always Fight FOR (not against) the relationship. When a couple is working toward the relationship, it shifts the approach. You’re fighting to get on the same page. You’re fighting to make the relationship work. You’re fighting to be with each other.

The last rule: Assume good will. In all my years of meeting with couples, I’ve met very few who are actually “out to get” each other. Chances are very likely your partner doesn’t exist just to make you mad and they don’t go through their day scheming ways to make you miserable. Often in the tit-for-tat war couples engage in, a feeling of paranoia starts to build. Assuming good will helps you realize that, at heart, your partner probably wants what you want: to make things work and to learn, engage, and grow together.

As we explore these rules of engagement and get to The Heart of the Fight, we’ll also look at key skills for transformational change and consciously engaging in your transformation. You’ll start to invest in your heart and soul and in the heart and soul of your partner to keep your relationship going strong.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.
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About the Author

Bob-300x250-1

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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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.

7 Real Habits of
Happy Couples

While there’s no such thing as a perfect couple, some do seem happier than others.

Why is it that every single relationship seems so amazing while you feel as though you and your partner are constantly at war? It turns out it has a lot to do with our preconceived notions of what relationships ought to be and not what they really are.

The Problem with Preconceived Beliefs and Expectations

The American picture of what relationships “should be” often looks like a fairytale—but reality shows like The Bachelor aren’t exactly real. In fact, studies have shown that around 78% of people are looking for some sort of Cinderella-esque element in their relationships. To find these Mr. and Mrs. Rights, we often tend to seek out those who are compatible and spark chemistry.


“Compatibility” and “chemistry” alone don’t guide us toward happy relationships.


It turns out compatibility actually isn’t the best basis for a relationship. Sure, you and your new girlfriend may both like mini-golf but there’s no way you’ll agree on everything. People’s interests and hobbies grow and change throughout life, so while you and your date may seem to be fairly compatible now, things may be different in the future. Chemistry is also surprisingly not as important in the happiest couples. Yes, there are many studies on brain reactions as they relate to feelings of love and affection, but it turns out this can lead people astray as those powerful “love chemicals” can (and do) wear off.

The belief that “the one” is somewhere out there actually gets in the way of finding true love. When we go into relationships with fairytale expectations and expect that hot chemistry to last forever, it can distract us from really discovering each other. It takes open and honest communication, self-awareness and hard work to make love last.

Ask Yourself: “What Do I Yearn For?”

The most satisfied couples really focus on what they yearn for, not just what they want. You may want your husband to drop off the dry cleaning or remember to lock the back door, but focusing on what you yearn for is what really makes a relationship deep. Dig within yourself to discover what you yearn for—usually it has something to do with yearning to be seen, to be affirmed, to be heard, to be respected, and/or to matter. Searching for what you truly yearn for will help to better understand your wants as well.

Work on YOU—Not Just Your Relationship

Satisfied couples not only work on “the relationship” itself through counseling, coaching and communicating, but they both work on themselves in the process. By recognizing our reactions and triggers and understanding the underlying reasons behind them, we can learn to deal with them appropriately. Have you ever asked yourself why you get so angry when your wife leaves the bathroom lights on? It seems trivial, but perhaps that deep yearning to be heard is being disrespected and therefore causing you to react so strongly.

Will Getting into a Relationship Make Me Happier?

Many people also have the belief that getting into a long-term relationship will make them happier. But your happiness belongs to you and cannot be dependent on your relationship. Maybe finding a fun new partner makes you feel energized and attractive, but many people revert to their old happiness-seeking ways after about 18 months. To make these relationships effective, focus on what makes you happy—aside from your partner.

How Do the Happiest Couples Stay that Way?

It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make a relationship work but the overall happiness that comes from those experiences is more than worth it. So how do couples become and stay happy? The bottom line is follow these seven rules of engagement and to stick to them!

1. Accentuate the positives

Remember why you love one another, and focus on the foundation you have. Affirm each other’s skills and what you appreciate about one another. With this strong focus on the relationship’s foundation, you can weather any storm.

2. Diminish the negatives

This is about getting rid of any snarky or sarcastic attitudes when conflict arises. When you’re upset about something your partner did, calmly explain why. Rolling your eyes or saying something disrespectful will never help.

3. Each person owns 100% of the responsibility for their own satisfaction

As mentioned earlier, you (and only you) own your happiness and personal satisfaction. Being around your partner may make you feel good, but it’s on you to keep it that way. Determine what your goals and dreams are and work toward your own happiness.

4. No one gets more than 50% of the blame in any situation

No matter what you and your partner may be arguing about, you each own part of the blame. You may be mad that your wife bought a new juicer without asking, but perhaps you have concerns about financial goals that have not been expressed openly enough. Understand your place in the conflict and own it.

5. Express and agree with the truth, always

This is very important and very difficult, especially in heated moments. It’s vital in every relationship to always tell the truth, but listening and agreeing with the truth is not as easy. Even if you know your husband is right about something, you may want to fight it just to “win.” But the truth is real and must be acknowledged, no matter how much you don’t want to admit it at the time.

6. Fight for something rather than just against

During a conflict with your significant other, it’s easy for emotions to change rapidly. In an argument, focus on what you’re fighting for—this goes back to what you yearn for. The fight with your partner may be about something trivial, such as what type of car to buy, so dig deeper and unpack what you want out of the situation. This may be the desire to be more eco-friendly and at the same time the yearning to be taken seriously.

7. Assume goodwill with your partner

This last one is also tough, because when going through intense conflict, it can be hard to turn the other cheek. But no matter what the conflict is about, your foundation and love for each other is deeper than anything of that. Keep in mind that whatever your opinions are, you both have each other’s best interests at heart.

The Foundations for Relationship Happiness

Couples deeply entrenched in their relationships and those who are willing to put in the work tend to be the happiest. These couples focus on communication, openness, honesty, intimacy and dealing with problems head-on. By putting the focus on the relationship, and not all of the nice “fluff” associated with it, people can gain a greater appreciation for their partner and therefore the relationship itself.

For more ideas on embracing emotions and healthy relationships, visit Wright Now and explore our selection of courses and webinars. We offer resources to help you discover more about yourself, your relationships, and your career. So start living a life of MORE today!

 

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Image courtesy: Flickr user damienphotograhy


About the Author
Dr. Judith Wright
Dr. Judith Wright

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Judith has appeared as a featured lifestyle expert and coach on ABC’s 20/20, Oprah, Good Morning America, the Today show and hundreds of radio and television shows. Called the “world’s ultimate expert,” her work has appeared in Marie Claire, Fitness Magazine, Health, Better Homes and Gardens, Shape, The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Herald, and The San Francisco Chronicle who calls Judith “one of the most sought after self-help gurus” in the country.


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

Couples: 4 Reasons Why Arguing Makes Your Relationship Healthier

When you’re in a romantic relationship, it’s important for you and your partner to make decisions that make you both happy so you can enter the realm of fulfillment. When you are both fulfilled, you will enjoy the relationship more and challenge and engage each other more.  Interestingly, having disagreements is crucial to reaching that place of fulfillment in your relationship.

1. Little arguments matter in your relationship

Back in the ‘70s, Judith and I were moving into a new apartment and the two of us had knock-out, dragged-out level fights over where to place her pictures on the wall. I had an opinion; she had an opinion; other people had opinions. We went at it left and right until we eventually settled on something that satisfied both of us. It was a minor issue, but this idea of resolving your disagreements and coming to a common conclusion is key to a healthy relationship.

2. Resolving big relationship fights: “the highest denominator.”

When Judith and I bought the Wisconsin campus to build the graduate school, we had only set aside so much money to fix it up. I wanted to put the money into the main building, while Judith wanted to put the money into fixing up our residence. She thought it was more important that we were comfortable. When we disagree, we have a system called “the highest denominator” where we see which of us has better judgment in an area. In this realm, I felt Judith’s value was higher so we put the money into building a comfortable residence hall. Looking back, she was spot on about where we should put our financial resources. And more importantly, our relationship survived.

3. Deal with your differences at the relationship’s start

Disagreements are a way to really get to know each other. When you’re dating someone, you should deal with your differences up front. If you can’t deal with your differences up front, what makes you think you’ll be able to deal with them later? Don’t let little landmines build up in your relationship. If you don’t like the way he picks his nose or the way she talks on and on for hours, you need to handle those issues right away.

4. Stay true to your values in your relationship

This decision-making begins with your values, with the matters you think are important. I had heard that when you marry someone, you marry his or her family. It’s interesting – when I first met Judith, I was certainly taken with her but it wasn’t until I visited her family over Christmas that really did it for me. I met her family. I learned more about them. I saw her parents fight in the kitchen. After the holidays, I realized that I felt towards Judith the way my dad felt towards my mom.

Making decisions that fulfill both partners in the relationship is imperative to finding happiness as a couple. You shouldn’t be afraid to disagree – though you may argue and fight, these disagreements will only make your relationship stronger in the end, and lead to happiness for both of you.

Image courtesy Flickr user psycho-pics

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.