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In these strange days, where prejudices of all kinds are showing their ugly underbelly in the political and legal world we live in, it is time to re-examine one of the basic principles of the process for successful relationships that we teach. This is the understanding that differences are a thing to celebrate in a relationship, and that they enlarge our world and do not threaten it. Learning to expand and grow from the diversity around us is just as important to each of us as individuals as it is to our basic relationships.

When we refer to celebrating the differences between ourselves and our partner, we are speaking in very specific terms. We are not referring to divergent core values. We firmly believe that a process of examining ourselves and knowing what is of true meaning to us is critically important for having a conflict-free relationship.

Book Excerpt
Here's a short excerpt from our latest book "How Two: Have a Successful Relationship" relating to this week's blog topic.

"The kind of calm and relaxation that emerges when you do not feel the need to defend or protect your person is filled with joy and creative power.

"The same is true when you truly honor the individuality of your partner. It is surprising and very revealing to see how much of a challenge it can be to recognize that, no matter how much you and your partner share core values, you are still distinctly different and completely unique individuals. When you treat your partner’s views and feelings as having as much validity as your own, you offer a place where they can exist in comfort: they do not have to bend down because the ceiling is too low; they need not avoid the side of the couch where the springs stick out; they don’t need to step outside to stretch. There is no need to find a more comfortable abode.

"It requires a secure sense of your own individuality to take the leap of accepting your partner as a separate individual, and to understand that this strengthens your union and doesn’t challenge it. When you not only recognize this, but also value and rejoice in this separateness and difference, you are creating that free and undefended state in both yourself and your partner that is so necessary for peace to exist."

Successful Relationship Reading Corner
In this week's blog we wrote about celebrating the differences in your relationship. This week's link cover various aspects of that.

How Differences With Your Spouse Can Make Your Marriage Stronger "When I first met Gail, I was attracted to her precisely because she was different. Sadly, after a few years, these same differences started to annoy me. In fact, I began to think that my approach to live was right and hers wrong."

Differences "People say that “opposites attract.” We can be captivated by finding in others what seems foreign. An introvert may be attracted to the outreaching energy of an extrovert – who, in turn, may be fascinated by the inner focus of the introvert. Similarly, a dreamer and a practical person – or an intellectual and an emotional type – may be drawn to one another. Yet often the very differences that are initially attractive end up being a big source of conflict."

Celebrating our differences "Nations, tribes, cities, villages, churches, and families have often learned the hard way that the manner in which we deal with our differences determines the quality the peace, prosperity, and progress of life in community. This is especially true of the intimate relationship of marriage."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time,
Phil and Maude
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