It’s All in the Definition…

One of the little things that easily turns into a big thing for couples is the definition of a word. Each person uses the same word, but means something very different.

For example, “time together” is a pretty loaded concept that frequently gets couples into trouble with each other. One person may define “time together” to mean, “We live together. We see each other every day. We have time together every week.” This statement is objectively 100% true. However, the other person defines “time together” as meaning, “Time we have set-aside from daily life during which we put down our phones, make eye contact, and connect. We had no time together last week.” This statement is also 100% true.

You can see how tempers may flare and feelings are hurt when both members of the couple say (and believe) their statement about the same week.

When your partner says to you, “We haven’t spent any time together in weeks!” and you know you saw that person every day for the last three weeks, things can get really confusing. However, if you can find some curiosity about the discrepancy, rather than giving into your feelings of being attacked, you can ask the question, “What do you mean by that?” This gives your partner a chance to say, “it’s been ages since we had dinner together or did something fun.”

Ah! Now it all makes sense. Different definitions of “time together” are clashing and causing confusion.

Next time you hear your partner say something that sounds blatantly untrue, unfair, or critical, find your curiosity and see if you can figure out what they actually mean.