Whose Side Are You On?

Life is fraught with challenges and obstacles. When you’re in a love relationship you should have an ally, a partner and team member who will stand with you in the tough times. Unfortunately that’s not always reality. When push comes to shove, are you really there for your partner? Does your partner stand with you or do you find yourself standing alone wondering where the unity and teamwork are? What happens when you have a disagreement that escalates into a full blown argument/fight? Whose side are you on?

When things get hard, or we feel put upon, in the moment we tend to protect ourselves, we get defensive, sometimes even going on the attack, get them before they get us. Not realizing that we’re tearing our bond apart from the inside out.

Some couples fight fair, they never make it about the other person, they focus on the issue and the circumstance and they work together to find a solution that they can both get behind. They are unified in their choices, values and goals. They know that they are stronger together.

Some fight dirty; accusing, blaming, insulting making it personal, bringing up the past and using their partner’s own words and actions to hurt them with. Not only is this unproductive, it’s also destructive. Anytime you are not in unity with your partner you’re working against your relationship and diminishing your partner’s trust and belief in you. 

Your partner needs to know that you are going to back them up, support them and help them. They should never have cause to doubt this. When things get tough you need to pull together not oppose each other. Even if you don’t agree, you need to be able to work together to find common ground, and a place where you can feel unified. Working towards a common solution benefits you both and benefits your relationship as a whole.  

One of the best analogies I’ve heard is that you and your partner are both separate individual people. When you come together and form a partnership, you create something together, a relationship a united front. This relationship can be thought of almost like a third person. There’s you, there’s your partner, and then there’s the relationship. If you take care of your relationship as a third entity in your life you will be unified. You’ll consider how every chance you take, every decision you make and every choice affects not only you, or your partner, but your relationship as well. 

This may drastically change your outlook and certainly your decision making processes. You want to love, feed and nurture your relationship the same way you want to nurture one another as you would one of your children. We don’t criticize we build up. If you begin to view your relationship this way, you’ll change your mindset from “every person for themselves” to a more loving and unifying mindset that looks at how your decisions will affect your relationship and you partner. 

When things get hard, come together.  Work on your problems with an eye towards how your choices will affect not only you and your partner but your relationship in the long run. Do what you can to assure each other that you are on the same team, that you are your partner’s number one supporter, and that every decision you make will be made with your best interest in mind. This is the path to a solid bond of trust between you. You know that each of you is working together for the common good of you both.


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.