Monday, September 15, 2014

Drop 'my way or highway' attitude

Some of my clients come to me with relationship issues. Perhaps it's a marriage relationship. Or it might be a friendship—or even a workplace relationship that is totally dysfunctional. Getting along in this world challenges each of us from time to time. It's not easy, and it definitely requires attention and intention.

I like what John M. Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman say in their book 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage. These ideas can apply to any relationship, not just marriage:

"To keep a perpetual issue from becoming gridlocked, you can
• make dialogue your goal rather than finding the perfect solution
• see the problem as a third party outside your relationship; the problem is not your partner
• recognize that there are no 'right' and 'wrong' solutions
• accept that the conflict may never go away, but you can live together peacefully anyway
• look for humor in conflict."

Don't those suggestions sound practical and helpful? I especially like the one about there not being "right" and "wrong" solutions. So often you and I become married to our way of thinking and acting, feeling it's absolutely the only correct way. Hardly a helpful position to take, right? Often, when one partner says one way and another partner says something different, there is at least a third way that's possible. Perhaps there are even several options that are workable, and you can do some brainstorming together to come up with possibilities—then select one that seems to hold the best chance for success. And always, always, remember to keep and employ your sense of humor.

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