The essential strategies that promote peaceful living between partners under normal circumstances are beautifully summarized in this morning’s NYTimes – in the context of coping with the stresses of the current pandemic.
So many of the struggles of the couples I work with revolve around one or the other’s need to always be right, to hold on tight to ideas, beliefs or perceptions as if their lives depend upon it.
While possibly protecting us from our own self-doubt and uncertainty, this need to always be right “calcifies” our ability to listen well, to be flexible and open-minded, and makes us a lot less fun to be around to boot…. And by regularly dismissing our partner’s ideas and feelings, we are also inadvertently poisoning our relationship.
California couples therapist Dr. Robert Solley writes about the need to be right as a significant single predictor of relationship failure.
When differences become contests of right and wrong, he writes, the essential feelings of safety and comfort that we seek in relationship get replaced with feelings of helplessness, mistrust, inadequacy and pain.