A change in your relationship begins with a single step…

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In their book, 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, John and Julie Gottman say “Happily married couples handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways.  They recognize that conflict is inevitable in any marriage, and that some problems never get solved, never go away.  But these couples don’t get gridlocked in their separate positions.  Instead, they keep talking with each other about conflicts. They listen respectfully to their  partner’s perspectives and they find compromises that work for both sides.”  (p. 4) 

Conflict is inevitable in an intimate relationship. Yet conflict is not a sign of a bad relationship. In fact, Imago theory says that conflict is growth trying to happen. Our partner is calling for us to grow into some part of ourselves that has been denied or disowned as part of our growing up years. And some conflict areas will only shift in very small steps over a very long period of time.

The first step towards change is to understand.  Rather than fight endlessly or give up on the relationship, we can choose to get outside of our own automatic preferences. We can listen to and understand our partners. And the best way to do that? Invite them for an Imago dialogue of course!

We have to remember that you are two different people who have different perspectives. Listen carefully to your partner’s point of view. Seek to understand. Mirror frequently in order to check your understanding of your partner. This effort will open the door to new solutions.

Dare ya– think of 3 things that you and your partner feel differently about (keep them on the lower scale of differences i.e. Canucks vs Leafs or music genres) and just for fun and practice… Have an Imago dialogue about whatever the topic is where differences exist . See if you can have some fun with it and make sure you validate. It will help you both to walk in each other’s shoes!

Let us know how it goes!

‘Til the next time! Xo

– Maureen

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