Welcome to our Friday series for couples, filled with mouth-watering food pictures and insightful relationship tips, because we all know that after a while, it’s all about the food when it comes to long-term relationships.
When we disagree in a relationship, we have 2 options:
Option 1 is to solely focus on our partner’s negative traits (or those perceived as different than ours). If we do that (consciously or not), those negative thoughts will add up, snowball and turn into negative feelings and negative words. If those occur on a consistent basis, there is a high probability we will not be playing on the same team for too long. Being on different teams, we’ll find ourselves keeping score while we try to consistently prove ourselves right. It’s a self-preservation game of the last one standing. This will only end with one team losing and that, of course, is a recipe for divorce or for a very long, miserable life together.
Option 2 is to commit to working on a balanced awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and to adjust each other’s roles accordingly, in order to complement each other and help the team (family unit) win the game of life. That implies a willingness for self-introspection and the ability to admit your own vulnerabilities as well as to rely on each other’s strengths. It also involves a willingness to step up your own game and to improve your skills necessary to be the best player in your particular team position.
Did you notice I said, “commit to working on a balanced awareness”? Because it’s truly ongoing work. It involves a lot of slowing down (taking a time out-my favorite intervention for adults in couple’s therapy), not engaging in a storm, not starting a storm, coming back to the issue a little later with some cooler and calmer heads, having a growth mindset, failing and apologizing, and trying again next time.
What option do you CHOOSE in your day to day interaction? How is it working out for you?
If you are looking for more relationship resources, go to my Free Marriage and Relationship Resource Center. You’ll find mini-courses, workbooks, and tangible advice. Are you ready to start improving your relationships?
ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, and stress and anxiety management. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier Marriage. Sign up to her free Wellness Library HERE for more resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or visit www.ruxandralemay.com for monthly blogs posts.