It’s not surprising that the number one issue that most couples fight about is money. Of course, it’s not really money that is activating the intense emotional reactions that fuel these conflicts. It’s all of the things that money represents that ignites these strong emotions. Among other things, money symbolizes power, security, worth, trust, love, and even our very survival. It’s no wonder that the possible or actual loss of money can activate some of our deepest fears and prompt us to act defensively as well as offensively. These reactions inevitably generate similar responses on the part of our partner. We feel like we are in a life-threatening situation that requires extreme measures to insure that our survival will be maintained.
“Most of us feel that others will not tolerate emotional honest. We would rather defend our dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others; and having rationalized our phoniness into nobility, we settle for superficial relationships." from Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Powell. "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -Thomas Paine
Interdependence is the key to successful relationships.“Love comes quietly; finally, drops around me, on me, in the old way. What did I know, thinking myself able to go alone all the way.” Robert Creeley In the early years of my relationship with Charlie, I was plagued with a constant nagging voice inside my mind that said. “Why do you need him so much? You ought to be able to fill your needs by yourself. You are so hungry for love; you should be content with your self. You should be more self-sufficient. What is wrong with you?!!”
Charlie: When it comes to relationships, it's very possible that the ten most powerful words you'll ever hear are "You can be right or you can have a relationship." And the most powerful word of those ten is "or." I first heard this phrase about twenty-five years ago when a friend from whom I'd been trying to gain some sympathy instead gave me something far more valuable: the realization that being right and having good relationships are mutually exclusive and do not go together. You can have either one or the other; you just can't have both. I wanted to have it both ways and when things didn't work out that way, which was more often than not, I would generally feel resentful, unappreciated and misunderstood. The idea that my needing to be right was actually at least as big a part of the problem as the "crimes" I had judged Linda to be guilty of had been inconceivable to me prior to the awakening that was provoked by my friend's simple words.
If you or anyone that you know has ever experienced what is (usually mistakenly) referred to as “commitment phobia”, there might be good reason to be hesitant or downright resistant to embracing the C-word. Webster uses terms like this to characterize commitment: sacrifice, loss or freedom, submission, institutionalization, and consignment to a prison or mental. Who in their right mind would want to sign up for that??
Over the years, I heard and used the admonition to “Pick your battles” quite a few times. It’s actually been one of my most frequently given pieces of advice. The phrase suggests that every relationship has an abundance of topics on which couples have differing opinions, preferences, expectations, or beliefs and that it’s a good idea to be selective in regard to which ones are worth fighting over. Those different views can show up in a variety of situations ranging from relatively benign decisions such as choosing a restaurant or movie to choices over where to invest savings and which religion to raise our children in. “Picking your battles” has to do with the idea that it’s neither reasonable nor productive to be willing to argue over every differing point of view that shows up in your relationship.
Another Bleeping Growth Opportunity!Resilience has to do with the capacity to recover, learn, and grow from the experience of adversity. Resilience isn't acquired or inherited, but is developed in the process of surviving life's inevitable and often unanticipated difficulties and coming through these experiences with greater wisdom, compassion, understanding, and maturity. There doesn't seem to be any way of cultivating these qualities that doesn't involve at least some degree of stress and difficulty. It's actually the ordeal itself that calls forth the necessary but often hidden strengths and resources that are needed to meet the challenge of the crisis we are facing. Relationships provide an abundance of opportunities to cultivate resilience in that they illuminate the places in which we hold invisible attachments, expectations, wounds, fears, unmet needs, and unfulfilled longings.
Finding someone like yourself may not be such a good idea. My friend Ted is a musician. He’s kind of a quiet with a great sense of humor. He enjoys getting together with friends, but not too many at a time, and his fuse is pretty short when it comes to being with large groups of people. He’s the guy that disappears from a party all of a sudden. One minute he’s here, the next minute he’s outta here. Ted doesn’t dislike people at all, but his tolerance for being around them is pretty limited, and when he maxes out, he’s done, and then he’s gone.
Some characteristics of great organizations. In his book Good to Great, which has become a classic in the field of leadership and organizational development, Jim Collins speaks about what it takes for a good company to become a great one. About ten pages into the book it became apparent to me that the very same principles apply to all committed partnerships. Marriage is an organization in which there are two CEO’s who share power, each of whom is vested with the authority to manage the system in a way that fulfills the purpose which it was designed to serve.
An antidote to disconnection. Mira: When I fell in love with Joel, I had the romantic notion that he would rescue me from my life-long unhappiness and I would never feel lonely again. I had grown up as an only child, and was not close with my parents. I spent a great deal of time alone and longing to be recognized, seen, and heard. Joel: I grew up with three siblings, and since my family never had much money, the six family members had to squeeze into a tiny apartment where I couldn’t get any privacy. After I left home and Mira and I moved in together, I found myself desperate to finally create some private space for myself. My efforts activated Mira’s fear of abandonment and we hit some very rough times early on.