Archives for July, 2010
“No Honey, the joke is not three ministers on a golf course – it’s a minister, a priest and a rabbi.” “Come on, you never want to visit my family.” “We weren’t stranded in the airport for days– it was more like ten hours.” The definition of correction is the act of offering an improvement to replace a mistake, to set something right. If you ask people about the advisability of correcting a partner publicly, many will advise against it – some may even suggest it could be dangerous. Most will admit to correcting and being corrected by their partner in public social situations. How do we explain this?
Why can’t I just stay on a diet? Why does he go back to those cigarettes? Why don’t we just build that porch if we want it? You may have wondered, even despaired, about you and your partner’s inability to change certain things that you really want to change. After all, if you really want it, why can’t you Just Do It? Maybe you can’t change for reasons that neither you nor your partner have considered. In their very interesting book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip and Dan Heath draw upon research and challenging situations to identify factors that make change difficult and guidelines that make change possible. Underscoring all that they offer is the validation that change is not easy! Considering some of the reasons that make change difficult might invite you and your partner to think about new steps toward change.
“I just can’t live another minute with those sports announcers screeching at me from the TV.” “I’ll drive but I’m not listening to Sinatra.” “I know you’re hot but I can’t sleep with the sound of the air conditioner.” Two recent books, The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want by Garret Keizer and George Foy’s expressed intolerance for noise in Zero Decibels: the Quest for Absolute Silence stirred my thinking about how couples negotiate noise. Notwithstanding definitions that include volume and decibels, noise is perhaps best defined as “unwanted sound.” As such the definition of noise is particularly contextual and subjective.
Be it fact or folklore, most couples argue about sex, money and kids. Less visibly, but as stressful, couples also argue about time. “Why can’t you ever be ON TIME?” “If the only thing I had to do was get myself ready- I’d be ON TIME!” “Do you know how much time you spend talking to your girlfriends?” “Tonight’s not a good time.” What is usually missed in the back and forth arguments that take off about being late, the inequity of roles, the other’s use of time and the lack of intimate time is an appreciation of the complication of time as a factor is our lives and relationships.