Are You on Opposite Sides of the Mountain?
The Importance of Perspective
We often make the mistake of assuming that our view of a relationship is the only correct view. We tend to see the relationship from our perspective and get mad or frustrated when our partner doesn’t see it like we see it. And when our attempts to convince or persuade our partner to see it our way fail, our anger or frustration grows. We hurt.
My Perspective, Your Perspective
But the reality is that no two people experience a relationship in the same way. We experience the same relationship but from opposite sides, our own perspective. We’re two different people, with two different backgrounds. We come from different families and have different formative experiences. We have different expectations about what we want the relationship to look like, or what our roles as men or women should be. We are usually different genders, sometimes different races. Most importantly, we’re experiencing only our half of the relationship – the opposite half of what our partner experiences.
Opposite Sides of a Mountain
All of this makes it very difficult for any two people to feel the same way about the relationship. It’s a lot like standing on opposite sides of a mountain. One partner is on the east side and one is on the west. Perhaps the east side is covered with trees, while the west side is swathed in rocks halfway up with a snow-capped peak. If we’re talking to each other on our phones, we’re describing two very different views. Neither of us is wrong. Unless we’re trying to convince the other that they are wrong.
Climbing a mountain is hard work. So is a relationship. But to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.
The Art of Communication
In any relationship, we’ve got to understand that our partner’s experience is not our own. The art and craft of communication is primarily about remembering our differing experiences when conflict arises and being willing to hear what our partner’s view of the mountain is like. Patience is needed to hear your partner out, and curiosity is necessary for you to ask questions that help your partner feel seen, heard, validated, and understood. Once you understand what it’s like for your partner on their side of the mountain, you can help bring them around to your side to see what it’s like for you on your side.
When we both understand what the other is experiencing, then we can start to make some progress that feels fair, and reciprocal. Like a partnership. Like a relationship.
Ascending a Mountain
Of course, a relationship moves forward through time. And the way a relationship evolves as it moves through time is a lot like the process of ascending a mountain. It can be hard work, and we may slip and fall a few times, but we get closer together as we do it. Eventually, we arrive at the top, where we can stand by side, seeing a much wider view from a similar perspective. It will never be the same view, because we’re two different people, but we’ll feel a lot closer when we get there.
To discuss your relationship, schedule an appointment with Micheal McVey today!