One of the most common reasons couples come to see me for counseling is because they fight a lot. But perhaps the second most common reason couples come to see me is because they don’t fight at all. That’s right. Couples come to see me because they don’t fight. No, they don’t sit down on my couch and say “Aaron, we need help to start fighting because we just never fight”. Instead, they’ll usually say something like “Aaron, we’re just not close anymore” or “We get along just fine, we just don’t really have that spark anymore”.
I’ve said in a past post that fighting is good in your marriage. It’s good because it shows passion. It shows that both of you feel strongly about something and want your partner to have the same feelings you do about it. But if a couple never fights it’s usually because they don’t feel strongly about things (which is unlikely) or because they just don’t care enough about each other anymore to care about what their partner thinks.
You Get Along. Now Be Sure to Create Spark, Too
If you’re not fighting much, and you’re not feeling much spark, either, you’re probably feeling bland and bored in your relationship, too. That’s a good thing that you don’t argue much. In fact, the fact that you don’t feel you need to argue with your partner to get them to see your point of view is a good thing. It shows that you’re self-actualized enough not to seek their opinion on everything. But with this self-actualization comes another problem: If you don’t seek out their opinion, you often miss vital opportunities to connect. So perhaps the most easy tip to create connection is to get their opinion about something you feel passionately about. This creates fun, meaningful and sometimes animated conversations that will create a spark in no time.
Let’s pretend you’re not so self-actualized for just a second. If you weren’t so self-actualized, you would go to your partner more often for their approval. You would ask them things like “how do you like my new outfit” or “what do you think I should do about…”. These kinds of questions would create conversations with each other. And these conversations would help you understand what’s going on with your partner. You’d know what they’re thinking about, how they feel about certain things and what’s on their mind lately. In other words, these questions would help you two to connect. But since you’re self-actualized and don’t seek out your partner’s approval, you don’t ask these questions. And you miss out on opportunities to connect with them as a result.
Asking Questions Helps You Connect
When you’re not self-actualized, you often ask your partner of questions out of neediness. But when you’re self-actualized, you don’t need their approval so you don’t need to ask them questions so much. And when you don’t ask each other questions you’re missing out on opportunities to connect with each other.
So go ahead and ask your partner questions. Yes, you don’t need their approval but ask them because you want to know what’s going on with them. You want to know what they’re up to, what they think about certain things, and, more importantly, ask them questions because you’re interested in them. When you show partner that you’re interested in them, you’ll begin creating connection that you never knew you could have. And you won’t have to start fights to do it!
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in working with couples learn to communicate and overcome sexual difficulties.