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Sunday 22 June 2014

The Wealth in Differences

How to Turn our Relationship Differences into Harmony

Richard's and my marriage was proof that "differences" can be a cache of relationship wealth. Hubby and I came from wildly differing almost everythings:
  • He liked concrete, city environments.  I love nature.
  • He needed strict routine. I like tumbling the day, still paying heed to necessities.
  • His culture, education, family value system and historical experience and education, were far from mine.
  • Our aesthetic and food preferences were also vastly different.
However, we did both like to 'be in charge'!  After an initial 'honeymoon period' of just finding everything about each other "charming", some radical 'head-butting' began.  Our egos got into wanting to "claim territory and titles". Then, based on one of the mutually strong alignments we did have, i.e. that of PEACE, we set about creating what turned out to be a strong set of OUR VALUES, that emerged organically out of our original rudimentary differences.
Here is a typical domestic 'fisticuffs' hubby and I often got entangled in before we happened upon consciously developing our own value system:
He always insisted on 'being consulted' about the where, what and how of placement of all items within our home, right down to the minutiae of picture and shelf hanging...! This irked 'shrew' no end, cos I was a professional designer and had decored for european royalty and famous businesspersons as well as many own homes.  Hence “shrew/know it all” was very offended by “timetabled/used-to-being-in-charge’s” stance of needing to be consulted on each hook and nail we put in our new first mutual abode!  It was a first eco-retreat centre near Byron Bay and, as such, had many rooms. For expedience’s sake, I saw no usefulness in 'doubling up' on such decisions!  Muttering to self: "This'll all take forever and be mega-painful if he needs to be consulted on such absurdities”!
I also detected another voice emanating from inside moi from the mix; that of 'rebellious Janice'.  She humpfed: "I am NOT gunna ASK HIM if this hook needs to be here or there!  Such things are MY EXPERTISE... He has his own expertises and I don’t interfere in those…"
Hence there and then, apparently over a mere picture hook, we had the makings of major marital war emerging!!
Similarly, when we clothes shopped for he, "shrew" wanted to have "quite an input" on his choices!  She wasn’t kind in the ways she expressed this either.  Phrases like, "that looks ridiculous and 'fogeyish'.  Here, this one is what you need", could pass her lips! The sheer arrogance and 'emasculation' of her comments fully eluding her!  On and on she went, insisting 'she knew best' about what he should wear!!
Until... I examined how “he demanding to be consulted on the position of a picture hook”, irked and I then equated how “I demanding he choose apparel according to my eye”, might be equally vexing for he.  This 'inevitable domestic' was then able to become dissolved as we learned to realize each other’s strong preferences were from the past and we were free to write our own agreed new history now.
Consciously develop your own MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP VALUES, together.
This then becomes a powerful base to be able to much more easily trampoline the incessant challenges life now seems to throw up for we all.  Often, we run our relationships with ourselves and our partners and 'others', with so much unconscious replay of the individual historical, even ancestral! family values, that it is no wonder it is unsustainably heavy and with conflict?!
Stay tuned for next week's instalment as our relationships guru and agony aunt, Zonti, helps us achieve ongoing peace and contentment in our marriage or love partnership.

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