Perhaps you’ve heard the question asked before, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” It applies in many contexts, though today we are talking about your relationship.
Most couples that contact me for support are in the middle of the “Power Struggle” phase of their relationship, where they are battling for control and are highly reactive to those qualities of their partner that trigger their issues of early childhood (See The Three Stages of Relationship for more on this).
At this point, we don’t really listen to our partner, nor do we respect their perspective. In fact, our position is generally, “if they would only listen to ME, they’d know that I was RIGHT and everything would be okay!”
Of course, in our less reactive moments, we know that “there are two sides to every story”, “no matter how thin you slice the bread, there are two sides”, or [fill in the cliche of your choice]. And that’s exactly the issue, we become reactive!
Our primitive, “lizard brain” takes over and we experience on a deep, unconscious level that our survival depends upon being right and protecting ourselves (See my post, Why We’re Triggered In Relationships).
However it’s NOT our physical survival that is at stake here. It’s not even our psychological survival that is at risk. If we continue to focus on being right and not focus on our partner and not focus on our relationship, it is OUR RELATIONSHIP SURVIVAL that is being threatened!
What is the solution? Sorry, there is no quick fix! I work with couples for months (and some for years) on this Power Struggle issue. It is a practice!
It takes PRACTICE to become aware of the dynamic between you and your partner. It takes practice to take yourself out of the power struggle, just for that moment and to ask the question, “Do I want to be right or be happy?”
It takes DISCIPLINE to make the choice to be happy, to consider your partner’s perspective, to allow for differences without shaming or feeling shame. There is no right or wrong in the power struggle, just two people struggling to connect.
And when you make the RELATIONSHIP the priority, when you make CONNECTION the focus, you begin to TRANSCEND the power struggle and develop the habits of a more conscious relationship.
And you may discover that you choose HAPPY more often in your relationship. And you may discover that you choose HAPPY more often in ALL of your life!
Dr. Adam Sheck
If this article makes sense to you and you’d like to learn more about my work as a relationship coach for singles and couples, please subscribe to my free Passion Doctor newsletter at www.freepassiontips.com.