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In other words, when you and your partner disagree on an issue, you need to decide what is more important, the relationship or being right and making the other person wrong.My belief is that if the couple can learn to become a team, us versus the problem, instead of me versus her/him, then a solution that works for both parties can be found, both people win, and the relationship is strengthened.Therefore, put your focus where it belongs, on the problem, not your partner.Judith Wallerstein, in her new book: The Good Marriage: How And Why Love Lasts, talks about the importance of couples building togetherness while creating autonomy.In exasperation I would finally say: “You’re right!” Of course, this did neither of one of us any good, as I did not believe that he was right, and he knew that, but the argument would die down; no real resolution, no winners.Let’s say, for example, that you were raised in a family where it was the man’s responsibility to take care of the yard and all indoor chores were considered woman’s work. As the Relationship Specialists, we support putting the relationship first.What happens then, when you marry and your partner expects equal participation with all the chores? What this means is that when differences arise remember, you are in a relationship.
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Unfortunately, our partner also formed their beliefs through their family, a different family than the one in which we grew up. Could there be more than one “right way” to do something?
Only after we get older and experience other couples and how they relate, or we begin to work on ourselves, can we even imagine the possibility that there might be something different than what we grew up accepting.
I developed a strong belief from this experience that you can keep your need to be right, or you can soften a bit and be happy.
One of the things that inevitably comes up in counseling couples is the decision to put the relationship first if you want it to last.
In my mind, many times now, it has become more important for Marilyn and I to remain happy rather than my being right.