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How to Find Peace and Harmony in Your Relationships Through Mutual Solutions

Statue of two people talkingPHIL: When we started looking at how we get along so well, we saw that we used a method that we named Our Process. It’s a way of exchanging positions and feelings that allow us to find a mutual solution – one that works for both of us. In talking about that today, we realized that we barely use it any more – it is as if we leapfrog the process and go right to the solution. We can do this for a number of reasons.

  • We know much more about each other and don’t push for solutions that would not work for the other person.
  • We each know more about ourselves and what we want. The exploration in our process involves looking deeper and deeper into what we really want and need, and this self knowledge helps us be clear about what is important and not remain attached to surface wants.
  • Through practice we know what mutual solutions look and feel like, and can find them more easily.
  • Most important is that we have the intention for a peaceful relationship. It is something we actively seek. This doesn’t come at the expense of the other person—there is no comfort when your partner is discomfited.

So how can you act this way? Unless you’re ready to pack a suitcase and walk out of the door forever, you’re eventually going to reach a solution that works for both of you; if you don’t, you haven’t resolved the argument. You can use your experience and self knowledge to act differently. You can’t change your partner, but you can change yourself. Seek a place where mutual solutions can be found.

MAUDE: Most of us start out a relationship wanting it to be full of peace and harmony rather than conflict and arguments. Others are in longer relationships where that peace, even if once there, is no longer the prevailing energy and they seek a way to change that. The question becomes how do we implement these intentions.

Phil and I have a dear friend who is in the earlier stages of creating such a desired relationship. They are at the point of making many decisions: should they move in together, if so, where – in his house or a place new to both of them; how will they spend their time – how much together and how much apart and all those type of choices one faces as a relationship grows.

In thinking about this very common point in the development of a partnership, I realized that there is something a bit backwards about how this often occurs. Instead of making these larger mutual decisions without a developed process for finding mutuality, wouldn’t it yield better results to first apply a process and way to communicate and find resolutions that truly work for both concerned?

We have often shared a process that we use that does just that. It not only helps to actually find out what decision and solution will work for both of you, but it creates a loving intimacy instead of what can be a time fraught with tension. Through this process you learn more about yourself, what underlies your wants and needs and simultaneously those of your partner. You each begin to truly know each other and start to find where that place of mutuality lies. Here are three of our past blogs that cover different aspects of the topic:
How to Work Through Disagreements to Reach a Mutual Solution
How to Reach Mutual Solutions in Your Relationship
How to Find Mutual Solutions With Your Partner

Phil and I have worked with this process for so long that we do it naturally now, and often arrive at the solution without ever visiting any problem. The more often you do this, the more that resolution that fits both of you becomes clear and a part of how you make plans and decisions together. You can go straight to the solution/decision together because it is such familiar territory, you know what if feels like.

This same can be said for long term relationships where distance and discord have entered the togetherness. Back up a bit and start fresh. Use the tools of a process to guide you through, set the goal of finding solutions of mutuality, learn where they lie and get reacquainted with each of your true wants and needs.

The intention of having a peaceful and harmonious relationship is attainable. As you start making all those large and formative decisions, learn how to make decisions that work for both of you. With that as a goal, so many conflicts melt away before they come into existence. You are learning how to be together and act together for your own and each other’s well-being.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Statues by George Segal in Christopher Park, across from Stonewall Inn, NYC.

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, our blog was about how to find peace and harmony in your relationships through mutual solutions. Here are some other authors sharing their ideas on the topic.

14 Ways to Resolve Conflicts and Solve Relationship Problems "When problem-solving everyday issues becomes a tug-of-war over who’s right and who’s wrong, then settling even the smallest of discussions becomes a battle. 'A better alternative is what I call the win-win waltz,' says marriage expert Susan Heitler, Ph.D., author of The Power of Two. 'We toss information back and forth, we have an ‘aha!’ moment, and we come up with solutions that work very well for both of us.'" (We're big fans of Susan Heitler and her books.)

Solve Your Relationship Problems Once and for All "Does it seem like you have the same fights, over and over? You’re not alone.  Learning to rethink how you view conflict can help couples grow closer. Then, the next step is having the right strategies in place for dealing with your problems. Here are three different ways of solving your relationship problems:"

How to Fix a Relationship in 5 Steps "'Can this relationship be fixed?' Troubled couples often ask this question in relationship or marriage counseling. Having exhausted all the tools in their toolbox, partners come to therapy as their last resort, feeling rather hopeless. Fixing a relationship doesn’t require a personality makeover, but it does take effort and energy to hone your communication skills and create deeper intimacy and connection. These five steps will start you on your way to repair:"

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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