I see couples in my office every day who fight.  They come in complaining that they are not as close or as intimate as they would like to be and then they fight.  They say they want to be Connected and yet they fight.  They say they want peace and yet they fight.  It doesn’t make sense.

When they come to my office, they each want to tell me why one is right and the other is wrong.  They each want me to take a side.  I don’t.

Even when I’m thinking “Well, that makes sense” or “I agree with that,” I know it’s a trap, because “that” is not what they are fighting about. 

So why are they fighting?  It’s simple.  Fighting puts distance between us.  It allows us to get so close and no closer.  While the Enlightened Brain (prefrontal cortex) is saying “I want to be close to you, I want to be Connected,” the Caveman Brain (limbic system) is saying “Whoa! Not that close, that’s not comfortable, I’m not in control getting this close.” 

The Enlightened Brain brings couples into counseling and the Caveman Brain sabotages their progress. 

So what’s going on with the Caveman Brain?  It learned long ago that it’s not safe to get too close to someone.  When we are vulnerable, we can be hurt, rejected and abandoned.  If someone gets too close, we will be seen as not good enough, not worthy, and not important.  This is what each person needs to face in order to make the decision to risk intimacy. 

The next time something doesn’t make sense, put it aside and ask “What is really going on here?”  Make a decision about what you want and then choose the path that takes you there, not away from it.  Don’t engage in the fight, step out of it.