Human Stories

It is never about the tie

A while ago, I heard a teacher of mine say: “I never repeat the same conflict twice”.
I was amazed, because in my close relationships, I see myself repeating the same conflicts over and over again…
So, how can I learn not to repeat the same conflict twice? where is the magic?
Here is a little story about ‘Connecting in Conflict’.

‘It is never about the tie’:
A while ago I was mediating a couple. They had a very painful conflict about the way she was folding his tie. Yes, about the way she was folding his tie! 
Does this sound stupid? Well, not at all:
in 99% of the cases, conflicts are REALLY NOT about what they seem to be about !
We fight about the dishes, about who will put the child to bed, about where we go to in our next vacation…
In all these examples: this is not what the conflict really is about.
I call it: ‘It is never about the tie’.

Coming back to our couple: exploring a bit deeper the ‘it is not about the tie’, here is what we have found:
The husband wanted autonomy in regard to how he deals with his stuff. And deeper: he wanted to be reassured that though being married, he can still be himself while being in the connection!     [has this ever happened to you?]
The wife wanted to be accepted in the the ways how she expresses love. It was painful for her that her love and care were rejected.   [has this ever happened to you?]
Whenever we clash, we just need to go one layer deeper into ‘what the conflict really is about’.

Meeting each other on this level, it was very easy for them to ‘solve the conflict’: 
The husband could then express heartedly how much he loves that she cares and loves him, and they quickly could find other ways how she could fully express her love, and these were ways he could even more receive and enjoy !
And the tie… could rest in peace in the wardrobe.

The conflict was gone. And many other future conflicts were dissolving.