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Differences – Strength or Weakness in a Relationship?

From the toilet seat and toothpaste to finances and child-rearing, what our partner does affects us. Some of these are vitally important to both people, so you both have to find mutual solutions for these decisions. That’s what core values are about – we wrote about these recently here and here.

But many differences simply reflect what we are used to. We recently read about a couple redoing their kitchen who clashed over whether pans lived to the left or right of the sink. Turned out that their choice reflected the organization in their respective childhood kitchens.

Then there are behaviors of your partner that don’t affect you at all, like how a purse is organized, or which route to take when driving. These are differences which have no direct bearing on you, and the sooner you are able to recognize your partner as a separate individual with different ways of doing things, the more peaceful and happy your relationship will be. Putting effort into making every aspect of the world match your expectations is a tremendous waste of energy that could go towards creative endeavors.

To read the rest of this scintillating blog 😊 click here.
Here's a video (an oldie but a goodie) on how differences bring joy into your relationship.


Successful Relationship Reading Corner

In this week's blog we wrote about whether differences are a strength or a weakness in a relationship, and concluded that, except for major differences, they are a positive. This week's links write about that, including one that is about the benefits of diversity in groups.

The Myth of Irreconcilable Differences "In a court of law, if both partners of a married couple claim they have irreconcilable differences, the court will grant them a legal divorce – without even asking what the differences are! Joyce and I, on the other hand, having worked with thousands of couples over the last 37 years, challenge that there is no such thing as irreconcilable differences. We have seen that ANY difference can be not only tolerated, but even appreciated. But that takes real understanding and a commitment to love."

How the Differences in Your Relationship Can Be Gifts "It’s in our nature as humans to gravitate towards those who have interests similar to our own. And in many ways, this serves us well. On the other hand, it doesn’t leave much room for experiencing all that life has to offer. By opening ourselves up to another way of living and being, we can make more educated decisions about what we want our own lives to look like. These varied life experiences allow us to express ourselves more fully and be more authentically present in the world."

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter is about differences in organizations, not between two people, but it offers an interesting different perspective on the same issue. "Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. It seems obvious that a group of people with diverse individual expertise would be better than a homogeneous group at solving complex, nonroutine problems. It is less obvious that social diversity should work in the same way—yet the science shows that it does. This is not only because people with different backgrounds bring new information. Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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