via swirlster : Relationships may be made in heaven, but they are negotiated and managed on earth, and therefore, relationships need a rulebook to ensure fair play and fulfillment for both partners.
In Couples Counselling both partners are sensitized towards mutual fairness, and helped to devise rules they would both adhere to, in order to relate in a mutually respectful way. Both of them are required to shift from the need for dominance to the need for creating a mutually fulfilling space in the relationship.
Firstly they are taught the rules of communication, i.e. removing all forms of toxicity and yet being genuine in conveying thoughts and concerns constructively. They are taught the art of listening with empathy, i.e. not only listening to the words but also the heart of the other, without judging or interrupting the other.
Then are taught various ways of problem-solving and evolving a decision, especially in areas that affect both.
Of course, it means mutual respect for individual preferences in some areas which do not affect each other, with neither mocking or judging the other harshly for having a certain preference or for doing things in a certain way.
Given below are the advised ways of decision-making if both are affected by the decision. Of course, dialogue is imperative for this since there shouldn’t be any unilateral decisions if both partners are affected.
1. Through dialogue, evolve a win-win solution
An imperfect scenario for each of them, but which is relatively comfortable for both, and which both graciously agree to.
2. Through dialogue, allow each to put forth their logic
Do this without any dominance need, genuinely consider the logic of each other from the perspective of ‘what’s best for the relationship’ in the short-term and long-term. Then both need to agree on the superior logic, irrespective of where it originated, and adopt it as ‘our’ logic and ‘our’ decision.
3. Through dialogue, compartmentalise domains or demarcate roles
Where the demarcation is not based on gender, but on skill-sets, or time availability or division of chores, with neither one interfering, judging or commenting on the methodology adopted by the other in their domain.
4. Through dialogue, identify areas that do affect both but are not significant enough
And therefore you can agree to disagree. In such cases, sometimes doing it his way and sometimes her way without begrudging each other, is how the decision is reached. The above method ensures mutual respect and fairness, and also eliminate the space for a blame-game going forward, and ensures that the relationship remains a healthy and mutually fulfilling one.
Dr. Minnu Bhonsle Ph.D. is a Senior Consulting Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor at the Heart to Heart Counselling Centre, Mumbai, and has been working with couples for the last three decades.