When the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye in the same situation, you will still listen deeply to each other’s point of view. You know that it is important to keep your partner’s needs as close to your heart as your own.
Couples who can disagree with compassion, respect, and support for the other are much more likely to find solutions that take them closer to a new truth.
They do not argue. Instead, they learn the art of debate, knowing that they must be able to feel and think as their partners do when called upon.
If you discover yourselves in an argument where you are becoming adversaries, you both agree to quiet down, give it some time, and come back in a more compromising frame of mind.
1) Do you feel you and your partner settle disagreements fairly? ____
2) When you are in conflict, do you listen openly to your partner’s point of view? ____
3) Do you feel your partner can listen and respect your desires when they are in conflict with his or hers? ____
4) Do your solutions consider both of your desires? ____
5) If asked, could you represent your partner’s position accurately? ___
What is your total score? ____
Dimension Number Six – Parenting the Child in your Partner
We are not only the age we are now but all the ages we’ve ever been. Memories are simply ways of going back in time and feeling as we did then.
As a result, there are times when you will symbolically be seen as a parent by your intimate partner. This dimension of a relationship can be the most difficult for many couples to navigate.
Your current relationship interactions may spark conscious or unconscious reactions from experiences you’ve had in childhood.
It is virtually impossible not to have those early memories affect the way we respond to the words, phrases, facial expressions, voice intonations, and touch from the partner we share our lives with in the present.
Would you want to raise a child similar to your current intimate partner? Given what you know about him or her now, would you have treated that child differently? What would you value or resent in his or her personality?
How would you make that child feel beloved but also behave in ways that you felt were beneficial and successful to both of you?
1) Do you feel that your partner’s qualities would be likable to you if he or she were your own child? ____
2) Would you feel compassion for his or her struggles? ____
3) Would you want to change his or her behaviors or personality?____
4) Would he or she feel glad to have you as a parent?____
5) Would you feel competent to do a good job raising him or her? ____
What is your total score? ____
Dimension Number Seven – Would the child in you want your partner as a parent?
This question is the complement to the one above, seen from the other side of the equation. Your partner will often symbolically parent you as he or she was parented as a child.
Looking at your partner’s parenting, you can see how that style of raising a child evolved and how it affected your partner’s behavior with you.
Responses to parental behaviors can run the gamut from satisfyingly pleasurable to deeply offensive. Those responses tend to increase with time.
What may have begun as tolerant and supportive responses can morph into more critical statements like, “You’re starting to drink too much, just like your father,” or “Your mother is incredibly cheap. Don’t pull that on me.”
If you are beginning to feel “parented” in a way that exudes resentment, hurt, or detachment, you must tell your partner how you’re feeling and why.
On the other hand, you may love the way your partner cradles you when you’re hurting or soothes you when you’re down.
It is crucial that “parental” behaviors do not re-wound you the way they did when you were small. If partners can identify them, they can replace their responses with those that help childhood sorrows heal.
1) When you need a symbolic parental caring, does your partner provide that for you in a helpful way? ____