This is by far, one of the single most effective tools at resolving conflict in a way that keeps the both of you wondering how the hell you just had a heated argument and are now naked and in love again.
It's true that you should be kind to your partner. AND......you should also study them like you would your enemy.
For those who don’t know, I served in the army for 11 years. In the military, we learned the importance of “Intelligence.”
Intelligence, is the gathering of data about your enemy.
Here’s why it’s so important, in case you don’t know.
We would gather intelligence by doing reconnaissance.
We would learn what weapons they had and how many soldiers they had.
We would learn their routes for transportation of supplies and personnel.
We would determine their schedule and other logistical details like that.
But aside from, and more important than all that, is the understanding of their why. Why are they fighting? What’s their morale like? What’s their motivation? What’s their objective/end game?
How do they recruit people?
How do they interact with others, and why?
Are they religious?
What’s their average educational level?
What’s their community and culture like?
Do they have cultural support? If yes, who are they and why?
We wanted to be in their heads. We wanted to understand them better than they understood themselves (if possible).
Why is this information important?
Because when you understand your enemy, you know how to adjust your strategy to defeat them. Not only that, aside from guns and bombing, we wanted to win in ways that were less destructive (ideally). Like winning over the hearts and minds of the people who aren’t fighting, or those who are fighting, but are questioning their choices.
By understanding the non-fighters we could win them to our side. And by understanding our enemy soldiers, we could provide them alternatives to war.
We could provide solutions.
At least, that’s the greater “idea” behind it all. When it comes to war, it’s often sold as the idea of “tearing down the tyranny, and rebuilding something better.”
Often, though, war is fought because governments and large corporations want more power, and often the rebuilding stages after war can be neglected. But that’s a topic for another discussion.
How does this relate to your relationship?
This idea of intelligence gathering and reconnaissance is incredibly powerful when it comes to your partner.
If your partner is currently your enemy (because you’re arguing a lot, and there’s too much resentment), treat them like we treated our enemies in the military.
While being kind and with genuine curiosity to understand, do your reconnaissance. Gather “intel.” Do everything you can to understand why they’re mad.
Why do they feel hurt?
Why do they feel distant from you?
Why are they “running away”?
What’s their motivation for their words and/or actions?
"Is it your intent to hurt me? Because what you did/said really hurt."
Ask them If it seems like their motivation is to hurt you, what would they have to gain, from doing so?
What is their personal history that could make them think in such a different way from you?
What do they love and cherish the most?
What do they love about you the most?
What do they find the most irritating and infuriating about you?
How do you make things worse/better?
What is your partner motivated by, in life and your relationship?
Are you having enough sex?
Helping enough around the house?
Enough intimate time with one another? Money stress? Communication issues?
Let go of any idea that you already know what they want. Let go of any idea that you already understand them. Because here’s a newsflash: If they don’t feel like you understand them, chances are you don’t.
So shut up, and start listening. Start communicating with the full intent of understanding them.
From here, you can use this information to destroy your enemy…..I mean your partner. Here’s how:
What to do with this new found understanding
Now that you understand what makes them tick, you can do one of 2 things:
Use this information to make their life a living hell. Be passive aggressive, speak to them with contempt, gaslight them and ignore their pleas for help, love and support. Most importantly, be completely ignorant to the fact that you were/are also contributing 50% to the bullshit in your relationship, and ultimately create more pain, regardless of your justification. OR
Use this information to make changes to how you’re treating your partner, and start giving your partner what they need. Evaluate, truly what you're able to give. And if you can’t give to them what they need, you tell them, and re-discuss if you want to continue being in a relationship.
Pretty complicated, right?
Photo from website http://www.s2analyticalsolutions. com/capabilities/intelligence-surveillance-and-reconnaissance/
All the aerial surveillance, planes, satellites, intelligence officers, human intelligence operatives, GIS technology, operational costs, lost lives, collateral damage, fuel, vehicle and weapons costs, and the conversation of “can you just do some fucking housework with me?”
Here’s the interesting thing. When you have all that information about them, and you’re having an argument, or a challenging discussion, and they feel like you understand their perspective, they will stop talking. Because they won’t have any need to continue, because you understand what they’re asking/talking about.
At that point, they will be more open to hearing your perspective. They will be more interested in understanding you. Boom! Now YOU can be understood.
Not only that, when you truly understand your partner, you can determine where the misunderstandings are, and clarify them.
Here's an important point to remember
You can still disagree with your partner. Understanding does not mean agreeing with. It’s just means understanding them.
It's also not unlikely that they may still get upset that you don't agree with them. I have had this specific interaction a few times with my partner, or friend:
Me: "So, you mean 'this' and 'this' because 'this', right?"
Them: *sigh of relief* "Yes! You finally understand."
Me: "K, perfect. So I understand you correctly? I'm not missing anything?"
Them: "Nope, you got it."
Me: "K. I understand. AND, I disagree with 'this' and 'this'."
Them: *Nuclear explosion*
In this instance, it's your job to make a choice to either a) accept this is who they are in conflict, and sit through and be patient with their emotional outburst, or b) you can exit the interaction and relationship due to their reactivity. How to make this choice is a different discussion entirely.
When they're reactive, be grounded. Let them have their emotions, and bring it back to the points they made and make sure you understand them.
Any emotional addition you bring to the discussion will make things worse. Just remember, it is okay to understand and disagree. It's NOT okay, to get into a yelling match when you don't even know what the other person needs/cares about/wants.
Chances are, if your partner knows that you understand them, they are much more open to a disagreement and hearing your perspective.
THIS, is how you "win" an argument.
So, do your recon soldier. When they feel understood, and you feel understood, regardless if there's a disagreement, you will undoubtedly feel more trust and respect for each other. And likely....you'll also feel more turned on.