Lion or Lamb in Your Relationship

We generally speak about March “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb.” As a relationship expert, I was wondering if this phrase applies to you?

We know the way couples manage their conflicts as a real indicator of how well their relationships will go. Dr. John Gottman can predict with 85% accuracy which couples will end up divorcing by how the two manage their conflicts. Even more startling is that he can do this within 15 minutes!

Let’s “unpack” this a bit. For most people, when upset, emotions run high. There’s stress felt in the body. So, as a result when whatever is expressed is spoken, it doesn’t come out calmly or reasonably. Sometimes, some folks (often women) attempt to not react immediately and hold things in for the sake of the partnership. As a consequence, rather than the emotions going away, they build up. The lion roars!

In response to the lion roaring, the mate roars back either loudly or silently by shutting down. Either is equally nonproductive.

Understand that there is no blame here … merely an explanation of what happens. Just in the last two days two different clients told me situations where this very same process occurred. Both admitted they were frustrated, upset, and feeling negative. Emotions took over and boom: explosive comments and actions. Emotions will cloud clear thinking.

In the calmness of my office they were both able to see that though they were trying to “be heard,” they were, in fact, working against themselves.

I truly believe that the problem lies in the reality that we are human with emotions. Therefore, we’re afraid to get hurt and don’t want our partner to see our weakness. However, when you can come from a place of vulnerability, of authenticity, then you are more likely to be heard and get what you truly desire … connection.

To show your true self is not a weakness. Rather, it allows your mate to be compassionate and available to you. It may require that you ask for what you need. But in my book if you ask and your partner is willing to give it, that means caring.

So … you can be the lion and keep protecting yourself or you can choose to be the lamb and have what you want. It’s your decision!