Marriage Counselor in Portland, Oregon Reflects on Bickering

June 28, 2010 by

Even a marriage counselor in Portland, Oregon can be guilty of too much bickering, one of the most unpleasant of relationship habits. Recently on a vacation with my spouse we reflected on how we no longer bicker. (Actually he said we do so bicker, and I said we do not.)

It got us to talking about why couples bicker so much, in particular why we used to bicker so frequently in the first years or decades of our marriage. In our 3 mile long conversation (we were hiking), we concluded that the source of bickering lies in two areas: the need to be in control and the need to be right, or at least not to be wrong.

Marriage Counselor in Portland, Oreon Learns New Tricks

We thought back on the little power struggles to convince the other that our way was THE WAY. Being married to a marriage counselor can make this worse, because my way is backed by research, right?

So why is it that my spouse and I have eliminated our bickering? One obvious reason is that the training I received in Imago marriage counseling helped us both to understand our roles in the power struggle.  Attending the Imago marriage education workshop gave us tools that we have continued to use.

Another reason we have graduated from bickering could be that because we now treat our relationship with INTENTION and CONSCIOUSNESS versus being UNCONSCIOUS and REACTIVE. We less often feel the urge to be right; instead we want to be kind. Therapist Virginia Satire once said, “Exchange judgments for curiosity and exchange being right for being kind.” Good relationship advice.

Mature love can be defined as feeling affection and respect for your partner. The word respect comes from a Greek word that means “gazing at the other”.  When we respect someone, we are really looking at them, not who we want or need them to be.

Marriage education and marriage counseling can help you to move from unconscious and reactive to being intentional in your thoughts and behavior. When you are bickering the little kid in you just wants to be in control. Or you just don’t want to be wrong. Marriage education can help you both understand that little kid in yourself and in your partner, and teach you tools to practice new behaviors.

For a good marriage counselor in Portland, Oregon or information on marriage counseling visit our website. To find out more or to sign up for marriage education, please visit our couples workshop page.