Monday, June 30, 2008

About Differences In Relationships

It’s the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but it’s the little differences that make them interesting.

"How Differences Can Help Your Relationship"

Have you ever wondered why you are in a relationship with someone who is so different from you?

Most people when they get into relationships have an unspoken andeven unconscious agenda that they want to make the other person justlike them. The thought is--"Everything would be okay if you're justlike me, if you like what I like and if you do things the way I likethem to be done."It may seem obvious--but we have to say it anyway--no two peoplealike. No matter how similar you think you are when you get into arelationship and how well matched, you are two radically different people.

What we have seen over and over--and we're sure you have too--opposites do attract.Many people come into relationship with someone who may appear to bethe same but sooner or later they discover just how different theyare and they end up being irritated about it.The truth is that we all come into relationships to grow and if weare with someone who is very different from us, we have the choice asto how we react to those differences.

We can either come from aplace of fear, righteousness and judgment or from a place of love andgrowth.What we have discovered is when differences come up, instead ofmaking that person wrong, you have to embrace the differences betweenthe two of you and use them to create a better relationship.Sound impossible? It isn't and here's why.

The two of us have very similar interests and values when it comes to learning about love, relationships and spirituality. At the very core of us, there is a strong "glue" that holds us together. We are also very different people with very different ways of looking at life. This fact often makes being married business partners a challenge!Through the years, we have learned and are still learning how to usethese differences as growth opportunities.

Here are some tips that we've discovered as we've worked with these differences daily to create powerfully together instead of being atodds and critical of one another:

1. Open to possibilities

When you are closed to the ways of other people and only focus on how you've always done things, there's no growth. Begin by opening tohearing that someone else may have a different way of doing somethingand a different opinion. Being open means breathing, sitting, facingone another in an open way and making eye contact. Be open tochanging a viewpoint, a way of doing something or even a value if it no longer serves you. It doesn't mean giving up being who you are but it means expanding who you are. Shift into an attitude of wonder.

2. Let go of needing to be right

All of us like to be right but when there are differences, we suggest you put that "rightness" aside. When we have hung onto being right, it's been helpful for us to go back to the thought--"Will this attitude move me closer to what I want or further away." Since what we want is a closer connection, we usually can let go of being right pretty quickly.

3. Listen without judging

This is a hard one but really necessary. Take turns talking and don't interrupt each other. Listen to each other and make an attemptto use "yes and" instead of "but" whenever possible. When you bothfeel heard, you will come up with a better solution to yourdifferences than you could have if you had stayed in your "rightness."

4. Ask "What Can I learn from you?"

This is truly the secret that we've found to dealing with our differences. Ask yourself "What can I learn from you that will helpme to grow?" and then listen to what comes up inside you.Shifting your attitude from blame to an openness to learning hastransformed our relationship and we know it can yours too.This week, whenever you are "hit" with someone's differences, changethe way you normally look at those situations. Shift from annoyance,anger or judgment to openness, wonder and love. We think you'll seea positive change in your relationships and life.

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