Combating the Four Horsemen in a Relationship
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. We all struggle with love from time to time, you are not alone. Do you find yourself withdrawing from your partner? Do you resent them or their lack of something? Do you wish you could discuss an issue and it go away? We have all felt this at one time or another.
Let’s explore something we refer to as the Four Horseman of a relationship, this will be a five part series. We all picture a fairy-tale romance with a lot of love and respect and never prepare for the inevitable conflicts. Sometimes in life when things are frustrating or harder than we were prepared for, we slide into a less than ideal version of ourselves. Communication is key to all relationships whether they are love interests or not.
The Four horseman in a relationship, are communication techniques we use when we feel attacked or are experiencing pain and are used as a form of self-projection and self-protection. We know that withdrawing into ourselves as a form of protection creates even more issues that will need to be resolves.
Let’s take a deep dive into the four horsemen, and ways to avoid allowing them into your relationships. Ultimately, replacing them with healthier communication habits.
Horseman 1 – Criticism
Criticism has no place in a loving relationship. When we are experiencing conflict and looking for a way to ease that strife and pain, criticism is an easy road. It is so much easier to find fault in others than ourselves. You can identify criticism easily in your relationship, it is those statements that include words like “you always” or “you never.” When you have an issue with your partner, or their behaviour is less than ideal it is extremely easy to attack their character flaws and ignore the actual issue. Using criticism as a communication technique is actually a response to unmet needs in your relationship. In fact, criticism is a gateway to letting the other three horseman into your relationship.
Let’s look at an example: You are exhausted from a long day at work, and you come home to find your partner on the couch watching their favourite show, meanwhile the kitchen looks like a bomb went off. You are at your wits end and lash out with “You never clean up around here, you always worry about relaxing and never stop to think I might be tired too”
A healthier way to deal with that same scenario would be “I had a very long day and am exhausted would you mind cleaning up the kitchen tonight and I will do it tomorrow.” (Pro tip – show your appreciation, thank them, tell them how much this little thing meant to you, remind them of your love.)
This statement focuses on the situation, the dirty kitchen, and explains why you are asking if they can clean it and ends with reciprocation. This is a more respectful and diplomatic way to communicate and will get a better response. Contrary to what you may feel, your partner is not intentionally trying to drive you crazy, even though most days it feels like they are.
Everyone has their shortcomings both you and your partner can do better together. Join us at our next Save my Marriage & Relationship in 2 days WORKSHOP and you will come out a stronger couple.
The relationship is not a walk in the park, but if you love your partner and work together at the end you will reap the fruits of your labour.