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The Truth of the “We” at the Core of Relationships


Couple kissingA core aspect of our relationship is the “We”. And yet we are each separate individuals.

Herein lies a paradox we referred to in last week’s blog about seeing differences as an asset. As well as making the “we” central in our relationship, to be an unquestioned baseline, it is also necessary for us to have the knowledge and experience that we are honored, respected and supported unique individuals. This allows us to be free of the need to defend ourselves or our position when discussing things or coming to solutions.

When we can relax in the knowledge that we are seen and heard, and even celebrated for our difference, then we do not experience me against you, but rather us. This is not just an idea or an intellectual understanding. It is a visceral reality that permeates our relationship with a sense of connection to each other, of the palpable love we live with each other.

This sense of loving connection and peaceful goodwill toward one another comes from our basic matching core values. We are both motivated toward fairness and desire for the good of each other, as well as a deep desire to grow as individuals.

Sometimes differences are of no consequence. One of us may want to go to a dance recital and the other is totally uninterested. If one person wants to play golf, but the other doesn’t know how and has no interest in learning, no problem: tell them to tee off. Such freedoms are fine with both of us. We are both happy to be separate and different.

It’s when a problem involves two people – how to make the mortgage payment or handle a recalcitrant child – that it becomes challenging.

Our experience has consistently been that by exploring how we feel about the problem and by hearing the other’s feelings and ideas, we are not only telling each other what is of meaning to us, but we hear ourselves and come to understand our own voice better as well.

This can happen because of the safe arena of communication created by our joint understanding of the “we”. As a result, we know there is always a possibility where we can both agree, and it is our mutual goal to find that together.

Like Rubik’s Cube or a crossword or a corn maze, there will be frustrations en route to the solution, but as long as we are not attached to the idea of being right, these become a challenge, rather than a problem.

Magically, we always find our way to a solution that both of us feel good about because our core values match. It’s always new, something that neither of us was able to imagine at the beginning; we have created it together through our sharing.

The point we want to make here is that throughout this process, we have retained the sense of us, and so resolving the difference has been a puzzle, not a struggle.

You may have a different way of finding this “we” and defining it for each other. The important thing is to find it and to make it an unquestioned given in your relationship. This underlying understanding of that mutuality will lead you to find harmony together and will support you through all of life’s challenges. This is a key to living love. This is a key to peace.

We would love to hear your questions and feedback. Click here and leave them on the blog directly. You can hear Phil reading this out loud by clicking here.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

BookshelfThis week we blogged on the truth of the "we" at the core of relationships. Here are some fascinating articles sharing studies about the use of "we" versus "I" in relationships.

How to Improve Your Relationship With One Simple Word "... check this out: Researcher Robert Levenson and colleagues at University of California, Berkeley, have been eavesdropping on our relationships and found couples who use the word "we" when talking, especially about difficult things, are happier, calmer, exhibit more positive emotional behavior, have less negative automatic arousal (i.e. heart pumping adrenaline and anxiety) and in general are more satisfied with their relationships (think: affection, respect, intimacy) than couples whose communication is more populated by the pronouns you, me and I. "

"We" vs. "Me" Couples "The 'we' couples take themselves less seriously. They don't imagine they can be perfect and are unsurprised when things don't go swimmingly. Rather than a 'here we go again, the universe hates me,' when the car is stolen, a 'we' couple will quickly bemoan the fact that this happened to 'us' and move on. Of course cars get stolen, it happens every day. He files the police report, she arranges a rental. They get to work on time and the flow of life continues. 'Me' couples blame each other (I told you we shouldn't have parked here. Why did you open an account in a bank here? It's a crummy neighborhood). They storm off, they don't resolve the issue quickly, they don't get to work and they have more problems as the newest spiral downward commences."

Love's Language: Couples who say 'we' happier "Previous studies have indicated that use of inclusive pronouns that include 'we,' 'our' and 'us' — versus 'I,' 'me' and 'you' — are evidence of marital satisfaction in younger couples like Sievwright and hubby Dane, both of whom are 27. The latest work, in the September issue of the journal Psychology and Aging, carries the link forward to more established pairs when conflict bubbles, and reports evidence of more relaxed heart rates and blood pressure among those with the highest 'we-ness' quotients. 'We found more 'we' language in older couples and in happier couples,' said Robert Levenson, the study's senior researcher at the University of California, Berkeley."


Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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