How To Find Better Solutions To Your Arguments
“Outward circumstances do not determine the course of our lives as much as the thoughts that habitually occupy our minds.” Howard W. Hunter
We all have those issues that we seem to be gridlocked in. Those arguments that you have over and over again and can’t seem to get anywhere.
Maybe you and your spouse argue over money, sex, parenting, work, household chores, or time spent with the in-laws. Regardless of the details, We get stuck in a pattern that often leads to no solutions.
I’ve found, in my own marriage and with my clients that the first step to finding better solutions is to find neutrality.
Neutrality is the idea of seeing events in our lives, our circumstances as the really are, without judgment or personal bias. It’s taking a step away, outside of our circumstances and seeing them with more objectivity and clarity.
And it is one of the hardest things for us to do as humans, who have human brains, which are wired for judgments and bias.
Our natural default setting is to assign judgement, either positive or negative to every circumstance we encounter. Most of the time, this is really helpful. It is a very efficient way to operate in our world so that we don’t have to evaluate every circumstance extensively and make in-depth decisions constantly. We simply don’t have time to do that. So thank you brain, you are doing a really good job.
It only becomes a problem for us when we use this judgement as a weapon to fight against reality. We end up causing ourselves way more pain than is necessary and we sometimes make terrible decisions from that place and we can’t see other possible solutions that might be more helpful.
Let me give you an example.
A client fo mine recently told me that her husband doesn’t like to budget. She told me that this is really difficult for her because she wants to pay off their debt, but they can’t do that unless they create a plan and a budget, but he isn’t playing along and just spends whatever he wants to.
She really believed that her husband not wanting to budget was a terrible thing that is keeping her from reaching her goal of paying off debt. She believed that the only way to reach her goal is for him to change and he wasn’t not doing that so he was causing her so much pain.
So I asked her to try for neutrality.
What if it isn’t bad that her husband doesn’t like to budget?
How would you approach the situation if his desire to budget is totally vanilla? Not good, not bad, just neutral?
At this point, I usually get some resistance. My clients say something like, “If I agree to that, then it’s like I’m condoning his bad behavior. He would just spend all the money he wants if I’m not constantly nagging him about it.”
To which I usually point out, “He already is spending whatever he wants even when you are believing it is a really terrible thing and nagging him. The only difference is that you feel much better from a place of believing it’s neutral.”
Now I’m not saying that living without a budget is good or bad. It’s just neutral. It is an option that is available to all of us that will yield certain consequences, just like living within a budget will yield other consequences. It’s just a choice.
When you can approach this circumstance from a place of neutrality, we can begin to see new solutions.
If you believe that the circumstance is terrible, then the only solution that your human brain can see is that husband needs to change his ways and start budgeting.
But I’m here to tell you that this is just one of millions of possible solutions. A solution that has been tried, and proven to not work, because you are still nagging and he is still not budgeting. So let’s move on and try some other solutions, shall we?
When we can get past the goodness or badness of any particular circumstance, we can start to see things more clearly and objectively. It becomes a puzzle to be solved rather than a problem to be fixed.
We can work together with our spouses to find solutions that will work for both of us, rather than trying to change one person.
What issue are you having a hard time seeing as neutral? An easy way to figure it out is to look at the issue that you and your spouse are having conflict over most often.
So start to play with the idea of that issue being neutral. Neither good nor bad. Just vanilla.
If you’re having a hard time, you aren’t alone. It can be tricky to find it in the beginning. Just click the button below to schedule a free call where I can show you how you can get to neutral for your individual circumstance, and start finding new, better solutions.