Did you know that there is an ancient battlefield principle that you can use to fortify and strengthen your relationships? This principle is particularly powerful when used in a significant other type relationship. It is simple, yet tremendously effective. Warriors have used this principle for centuries in real battles, conflicts and wars.
The ultimate principle is this: The ability to not take things personally. Let me explain ...
As a commander on a battlefield, you will be taking in lots of information. The survival of your troops depends on your ability to make the best judgments and lead them in the right course of action. This can only be done if you remain as impartial as possible, take in all the information and make the best choice based on that information.
As a commander, many soldiers will be communicating with you about what you should do, or how they feel about this or that course of action. Those troops may not like the commander's choice, and that could hurt the commander if he/she takes that personally. The commander must remain impartial and make the best choice, but most importantly, listen to ALL THE INFORMATION and not discount something because it is uncomfortable. The same goes for your relationship.
Your spouse or significant other will often times present you with a piece of information. It could be that they feel badly about they way you said this or did that or that they would like it better if you did X or Y. Instead of immediately taking things personally and saying something like "Oh, so it sounds like you don't value anything I do/say at all!" Take a moment, draw a deep breath, and really listen to what your spouse/partner is saying. Very often, they are not attacking you, but instead are unhappy with a behavior or A THING THAT YOU DID. A good commander can divorce themselves from the things they said or did in a given moment. If you do the same, your relationships will be far more rewarding in the form of deeper and more meaningful communication.
A good rule of thumb is to always assume that what your spouse/partner is saying to is NOT PERSONAL unless they specifically declare it to be so. Listen to what they are saying. Usually it is something like "I don't like when you DO this," or "I don't like when you SAY that," not that they don't like YOU. We tend to hear the word 'you' and tune the rest out. Don't. Listen to the whole thing and realize they often simply want a behavior corrected or a misspoken word apologized for. Don't take it personally. Remain impartial. Assume they still love you but are upset with the action or word and it often times may turn out to be just that. Keep taking things personally and assume they don't love you, and it may quickly become exactly as you predict.
Living in the Battleground,
The Warrior Speaker
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.