And no, it’s not the part about having unlimited sexcapades with non-sentient, hot as heck robots. Although, as I write this, part of me is a little curious about what kind of impact that would have on relationships. But that’s for another time…
What will save your relationship is no secret, and you’ve heard it from every expert on the market, but I think that it’s beautifully illustrated, albeit unintentionally, in the wild wild World of West. After the hosts have finished their long days’ work of being the target of anyone’s flight of fancy, they return to the sterile glass cubicles to have their inner workings picked apart and communicate their thought processes.
The hosts are programmed to do certain and expected behaviors, but sometimes they deviate, and they step out of their usual roles (even dropping their syrupy Southern accents) and can explain to the programmers why they did what they did, or said what they said. They are able to explain exactly why they deviated from what they’re programmed to do, usually because of a previous memory or experience they had that informed their behavior. That’s the magic.
The hosts seem to have immediate access to their “unconscious,” and can readily and willingly communicate their motivations and rationales behind a given behavior or line of speech. What if we could do the same? What if we could recognize when snapping at our partner had more to do with a trigger from our past than them leaving a sock on the floor? Imagine how much conflict could be avoided if we could grant our partners the access to this information, which is so often just as out of reach to ourselves as it is to them!
Relationships often struggle when there are misunderstandings about a partner’s intent or the meaning of their words. When we incorrectly interpret or assume our partner’s intentions, we may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle. What if we could give them a chance to explain why they are behaving the way they are?
Here are 4 ways to harness the power of “analysis mode” in your relationship:
When you feel upset, put yourself in “analysis mode” before reacting. Really reflect on why you are upset with your partner. Did their behavior trigger something in your past that has more to do with your own history than your relationship with them? Are you feeling more irritable than usual? Turning inward and gaining self-understanding is a great first step toward managing your reactions.
When you notice your partner seems to be upset and you’re not sure why ask and try to clarify misunderstandings that may have occurred between you. If you’re fans of the show, you could even use the word “analysis” to ask your partner what’s going on for them.
Once you have reflected on your feelings, if your partner did something that bothered you, let them know! Not sharing your grievances may work to reduce conflict in the short term, but it is likely to breed resentment in the long term if your partner keeps unknowingly doing something over and over that bothers you.
If you had a reason for doing something that made sense to you (we all usually do), share it! So often partners expect each other to read their minds. This may be possible on TV shows, but not in real life! Open, honest communication with your partner up front can save a lot of time fighting about an issue that neither of you fully understand on the back end.
If you and your partner are struggling with communication in your relationship, not to worry!
Couples therapy is a great way to strengthen communication skills. It can make interacting with your partner more effective, enjoyable, and fulfilling. It can also help increase your ability to understand yourself and your past, and how it relates to your difficulties in the present. In a way, therapy is sort of putting yourself in analysis mode so you can gain insights that decode your thoughts and feelings (under the guidance of a professional, of course). Give us a call today to take the first step toward a healthier relationship!