It is common in our Western culture to get caught up in dualistic thinking: black or white, right or wrong, you or me. We take a position that is in opposition with another position–and then feel “right and justified” in our position and go into judgment about those on the “other side” of our polarity.
But this either/or thinking can get us into trouble in relationships, especially intimate ones. The desire to be right, rather than the desire to hear and be heard, can lead to emotional separation. Since each partner cannot be “right” the relationship can become a tug of war about “right” rather than about connection.
We have discussed the tendency to listen in order to respond, rather than to hear and understand. There are several exercises a couple can use in order to begin to see the shades of gray, and let go of the need to be right.
- Active listening, in which the partner who wishes to speak stays focused on a particular issue, after which the partner who listens restates what he or she heard.
- Using positive wording, avoiding negative, blaming or accusatory terms.
- Using feeling words such as “I feel sad because …”
Soul Wisdom Therapy excels in helping couples stay “in the gray” when dealing with communication issues. Contact us at 916-389-2800 for more information or to schedule an appointment.