If you are constantly fighting about unwashed dishes, says Dr. Harville Hendrix, "It's not about the dishes. There's a symbolic connection that triggers a deeper feeling."

Dr. Hendrix says that intense and reoccurring arguments are a good indicator that one or both partners have unresolved childhood pain such as abandonment, rejection, smothering, shame or helplessness.

Couples Exercise
When you are in the midst of an argument, try asking yourself these four questions to get at the root of your pain. Have your partner do the same.
  • How do I feel when my partner acts this way?
  • What thoughts do I have when my partner acts this way?
  • What deeper feelings might underlie these thoughts and feelings?
  • Did I ever have these same thoughts and feelings when I was a child?

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