Is there a switch in roles? Where does it come from, and is it okay? A Studio 5 panel weighs in, and gets relationship advice from Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend.
How to Cure this Relationship Imbalance:
1. Own Your Role in How You See Others
The most powerful person in every conversation is YOU! Yes I’m talking to you! Because you are the one who interprets what the other person meant. You are the one who chooses carefully your words or not. You are the one who either initiates the conversation or not or because you are the one who decides how the whole thing went down. You are the one who has to get in the game! So if you are tired of how the relationship is going then you have to get your game together.
The simple truth is that how one person views another is much more about the one viewing than the one being viewed. Every thought you have about your partner, every word you speak, every complaint you make is really more of a reflection of you and how you think, than it is a reflection of who your partner really is.
So is your partner spineless or sensitive? Remember because none of us have all of the data or understanding about our partner we have to guess why they do what they do and our guesses are more a reflection of who we are. The mere fact that we see our partner as too weak or too controlling is probably more of a reflection of what we want and feel we need in our partner. You’re not just complaining that your partner is spineless; you’re really saying that you want him to be stronger. He’s not just saying you’re a nag, he’s really saying can’t you find another way to talk to him that might be more positive. Remember all of our interpretations come down to us; what we’re thinking, what we want, and what we hope to get out of our relationships. Start noticing how you’re interpreting what your partner is doing.
2. See the Whole, not just the Parts
Nobody is just one thing. All of us are highly complex humans with skills gifts and talents in a variety of fields and areas. As humans we tend to simplify our thought process. We like to use labels and words to make our world seem even easier and more simplistic than it really is. This, at times, can serve a purpose of making a point or teaching a specific way of dealing with something. However, the ability to understand that our partners are complex can be incredibly liberating. For example, simple does not mean stupid and complex does not mean controlling. Your husband may have very simple needs and at the same time can be incredibly brilliant. Just like your wife could have very complex needs and at the same time be trying to get those needs met the best way she knows how. People are more than just one label, one idea or one concept. We are complex!
One of the best tools to help you deal the “whole” being you’re in a relationship with is to use the word “and”. Your husband may be spineless and aggressive and hardworking and a wonderful father and brave and afraid at times. One of the greatest human traits is the ability to deal with all of this complexity in our lives and not get overwhelmed.
3. Look To the Future as Well As the Past
“When you live out of the past, you are bound to that which is finite. When you live out of the future you are bound to that which is infinite.” Many people who are judging and negatively interpreting their partner have formulated their judgments based on past behaviors. “My husband hasn’t cared for me in the past so I know he’s uncaring.” “My wife is always telling me what to do so my wife is a nag!” Now that we have branded and labeled are partners based on their past actions, we now can easily predict all of their future activity with the same viewpoint and we can also see how miserable our life will be in the future. How promising is that? I have found as long as you keep thinking that your partner is who they have been in the past, then you will keep projecting that on them and that is how you interpret everything they do. Even if your partner really has changed it won’t matter because you’ll never see it. Instead of looking only to the past, instead try directing your focus to the future and how you want your relationship to be with your partner. Instead of fixating on their need to change, focus on the way you’ll need to respond to them differently in order to help them be the partner you need in the future. If you want a more responsive, loving, adoring, attentive husband in the future, then start noticing every moment, no matter how insignificant it may seem that he is portraying these traits, instead of focusing on the things that he does and has done wrong in the past. Knowing where you’re going increases the odds you’ll actually get there.
4. Choose to Take the High Road
When it comes to conflict resolution, is your partner spineless or sensitive? Is he just a weak chicken, afraid of talking or is he a confident doer, who withdraws in order to search for an answer and who remembers what happened the last 5 times you wanted to “talk”! Is she controlling? Or just incredibly aware of what she feels is going on?
Taking the High Road means making choices to see your partner more completely. It means choosing to make a positive interpretation rather than a negative one. On the High Road you choose to gather data and put aside the negative emotion. Then based on the data, you make a positive interpretation.
Making the more positive interpretation means you’ll tend to feel more positive about your partner which also means you’ll be more likely to act on things with your partner more positively. At some point in time you’re going to realize that your partner is much more inclined to give you want you want when you are positive, uplifting and edifying than when you are a cold, difficult person. Those decisions are all up to you.
Date Night with Matt Townsend
Friday, May 14
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
$35 per couple
Location: Noah’s in South Jordan
To register call 801-747-2121