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How to Work Out Solutions for Differing Needs in Your Relationship

Two girls working things outThe other day we sat down to restart a conversation about planning for the future and financial issues. In the past, when approaching this topic, we had discovered what looked like differences in how we wanted to handle things. So there was a bit of an overtone that this might be a hot topic, and we decided to very consciously apply our process for making decisions and finding mutual solutions.

We found a time when we had no other outside pressures to attend to, met in a comfortable setting and sat shoulder to shoulder leaning into each other. We weren’t in a hurry and had no time constraints. Once we decided to use our process (something that usually happens without our awareness by now), we had a clear path forward. We affirmed out loud to each other that we know we are on the same side, that we want the best for each other and for us together.

This was said with warmth and assurance, and we can say this so easily because the thing about this process is that we both have complete trust that we will find a solution. This belief is because that has been the case every time before and also because of the sense of being a partnership, of being on the same side, of the “we” that we wrote about last week.

We started out by reprising the situation, then each talked about what we wanted, how we felt and what had changed since we last talked. During this exchange, we just listened to each other without interruption, except for an occasional question of clarification, and listened to ourselves. One of the things we have found doing this is that we learn as much from hearing ourselves really delve into what it is we want as we do in hearing what the other person wants.

This back and forth continued for a while as we both got a feeling for the parameters of the issues. During this time of sharing, many surprising and unpredictable things happened. As we listened to each other and ourselves, new pictures arose of ways to include each other’s vision, and from each other’s images and desires our own wants and needs began to alter. We didn’t give up what we envisioned; it flowed into something bigger, with new and often exciting possibilities. We moved from the separate views that we entered the exchange with into a mutual place, a pool we are both swimming in.

We are not at the end of this topic and do not yet have final decisions, yet we have already journeyed together to a new place with so many more possibilities. It is a fascinating experience of discovering our own feelings and attachments. We could describe here the path of our conversation, even though it is still a work in progress; it covers family, the environment and what the future might hold, but the point isn’t the details of the discussion, but the way we carry it out.

We sit defenseless as there is no need for defenses. There is no risk involved. This trust allows each of us to explore what we want and feel without any fear. It occurs because we are both fully prepared to be completely open, genuine, authentic and calm. It is effortless because we both approach this experience eagerly. We want to come together for the highest outcome for both of us. We want to swim in that pool of togetherness when making life’s decisions together. We know we are on the same side.

The sense is that we are exploring and creating together. It always feels like magic, and perhaps it is. This process is so rich and engenders such living peace. We invite you all to try it and apply it.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Two girls working things out

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about how to work out solutions for differing needs in your relationship. Here are some other authors who have a variety of things to say on this subject.

What To Do If You and Your Partner Want Different Things "Even in the strongest relationships, getting on the same page about big questions can feel impossible at times. For instance, it’s common for partners to have different wishes, beliefs, or ideas about where to live, whether (and how!) to get married, how to balance work and personal commitments, whether to have children or not and how many, how to navigate other relationships with friends and family, and how to manage finances."

How to Improve Your Relationships With Effective Communication Skills "Healthy communication is crucial for sustaining long-term relationships. One study found that effective communication increased relationship satisfaction for couples. Healthy communication can increase intimacy in relationships as well. The way you and your partner communicate with each other often determines how you resolve conflicts. If you use healthy methods of communicating, you are likely to find common ground even during a disagreement."

How to Identify & Express Needs to Revive Connection in Your Relationship "We know that effective communication in relationships is essential for satisfaction and long-term connection, but you may feel like something is missing in your relationship. Communication in relationships is key, but to communicate effectively, you need to know what you need. By identifying, expressing and meeting each other’s relationship needs you foster friendship and intimacy."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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