Two people. Two views. One argument. One direction. One relationship.
Whose view works best when both partners have opposing views? Why is it difficult to see the view of our partner? Can two partners have very opposing views and still come together with a resolution that works for both?
“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” –Joseph Joubert Pensees (1842)
Absolutely! You only need a variety of certain characteristics and skills.
Balance: The ability to take in both views objectively while considering how aligning with your partner’s view could bring more harmony and strength in the relationship.
Selflessness: Thinking outside of yourself and the possibility that your partner’s view just may be a higher priority right now. Your priority is still a priority, only secondary.
Flexibility: Devoid of stubbornness, and knowing that your way is not always best for the relationship. If you see your way as THE way, and without the buttress of fact or truth, then there is a flaw in your way of thinking.
Good Judgment: To discern and differentiate which view of the two is most functional and cost effective, regardless of whose view it is.
Empathy: The ability to put yourself in your partner’s shoes in order to understand the reasoning of his/her position.
Ownership: Strong enough to accept one’s responsibility for creating the problem that both of you are trying to solve, if applicable. Accepting the fact that your judgment was originally skewed which caused the problem in the first place. It is not smart to have any form of resistance to your partner’s views to solution, because the relationship will be made to suffer at your hand.
Character: The strength to know and process how much your partner may have been impacted and hurt from your actions or contribution to the problem at hand.
Heart: Big enough to give a little, sometimes.
Foresight: Seeing and knowing that what you yield to now will provide bigger rewards down the line.
Lack of resistance: The willingness to accept a different point of view, especially when yours is not working. Any idea may be better than the results you are experiencing now.
Wisdom: To be able to identify a good suggestion, whether it is yours or not.
Lack of Pride: Having enough emotional stability to accept the possibility that your partner may be right, and you not having an incessant need of having to be right all of the time.
Perspective: The mental capacity to think about your partner’s perspective, and even devise another one, if necessary, that satisfies both positions. The mental strength to see the bigger picture outside of yourself.
Strategic: The know-how of when to execute either one or all of these skills. Create the win-win for both sides. (Note: There is a big difference between a win-win and a compromise.)
Relational failure occurs in the relationship when someone is not listening, and most likely caught up in believing that the only right way is his/her way.
When your partner stops pushing back or stops fighting to be heard, listened to and understood, this falsely validates that your position is correct. When your partner stops responding in these ways, it is not that they are giving in to your delusion, he/she is giving up and fed up with your delusion!
If a couple can shift from the concept of “who is right and who is wrong” and embrace the concept of “let’s get it right”, this will result in more problem resolution and less defensiveness.
Communication is far from conversation domination. Communication is a multifarious tool, and when used skillfully, allows you in the mind of your partner, provides empathy, and puts you in touch of your partner’s silent plea, pain, and insecurity. Even what your partner is not saying should be heard, if you are attuned and not so self engaged.
If your partner expresses a concern, or asks a question, it is not wise, nor progressive to answer without intuitiveness or any emotional connection as to why the question was raised. When you miss the subtlety of a concern, and are oblivious, or too self-centered one too many times, he/she stops communicating. Before long you will feel the distance.
Your partner’s thoughts and opinions of who you are is critical to the success of the relationship. Perception makes up 99% of his/her reality.
Sometimes your partner may not want to hurt your feelings about something you have done or the person you are becoming. He/She may provide clues, a comment here or there, or a question. Rather than identifying there is something more, you obliviously express yourself with a conviction that bears no relevance to the success of the relationship; nor do you take the time to see the negativity in the perception you have given to your partner.
Operating and directing the relationship based on your feelings, or a belief system without rational and logical thought is useless.
It is necessary to challenge your belief system frequently. This will keep you honest and on point. Becoming inundated with a faulty self belief system can be relationally destructive, just as anyone who would strap a bomb to themselves in public for a cause or a mission. When any form of destruction can potentially occur at your hand, you must ensure that your cause is true and for the good of the whole. More intimately, for the good of the relationship.
Rather than being resistant, perhaps the best way to seeing from the mind’s eye of of your partner is to ask questions for your understanding like: “What do I do that causes you to see me that way? “Can you provide an example of what happened in a situation that resulted in your opinion of me”? Or you can be more progressive and ask, “What could I do to fix this problem or to change your perception of me”?
The answers to these questions will help you to analyze whether your position needs to be removed or modified.
The best answer is always the one that provides a broader spectrum of the solutions. Whose view it belongs to is not as important as solving the problem. The more we are open to the views, and opinions of each other, the more togetherness we create.