Separate Realities In Marriage
Interviewer: What would be immediately helpful in any marriage?
Greg: To understand that you and your partner are going to be in separate realities sometimes and it’s okay.
Interviewer: Meaning you are going to see things differently?
Greg: Yes. And you don’t want to give this meaning. It doesn’t mean you aren’t suppose to be together or you’re not really soulmates. Being in separate realities is going to be part of any relationship and accepting that can be powerful.
Interviewer: How does a couple navigate through those moments?
Greg: Instead of being in what I call, “disagreement-listening” or “defensive-listening” you want to get curious about why your partner’s perception makes sense to them. Can you see the thread of truth or agreement in what they are saying. In short, letting go of ego.
My colleagues and I have identified three areas that get couples into trouble or disconnected:
1. The reaction to the reaction.
3.The non-acceptance of being in separate realities.
Awareness and acceptance of the third one can create a very rapid change in a marriage. Here is a simple example:
Wife: Sweetie, I don’t feel you are acknowledging me. Husband: But I don’t feel I am acknowledging you. Me: Brother, you just didn’t acknowledge that she doesn’t feel acknowledged!
This couple is in separate realities. She doesn’t feel acknowledged, he feels he is acknowledging her. What’s the best move? For him, to get curious why she feels that way. No one is right or wrong here. We experience our partner through our thinking. And it’s also important at some point for her to get curious why he feels that he is acknowledging her. We all have different thinking and thus different realities – it’s NOT personal! Here is what’s possible when we can respect our partner’s point of view even though it’s the opposite of ours – a deep rich feeling of generosity of spirit and understanding – we could say this represents maturity.
Gregory Drambour is the owner of Sedona Sacred Journeys and considered one of the top Couples Counselors in North America. He is the author of three books on practical spirituality.