Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ready or Relate

In my Family Relationships class we were asked to fill out a survey to test how well we related to our partners. We received back pages and pages of results which we were then asked to reflect on and write about.  

I thought it would be interesting to post my results, which you can find here. (Should open a google document, its LONG, about 40ish pages)

And my thoughts, although edited for length. 
The first graph “Kindness and Flexibility” showed that we are out of alignment on how we see ourselves and each other.  I realized that I often overlook my husband's consideration of me. I don't often give him the benefit of the doubt when he makes decisions that I wouldn't agree with. I sometimes assume that his decisions are selfish, instead of giving him the same consideration that I'm after – and actually stopping, looking and seeing that he's being considerate of me. And in the end, not only does that make me somewhat bitter, but I'm also being inconsiderate of him. 

The report categorized us as a volatile/volatile couple.  This is fairly accurate. The advice given is to not let our emotional arguments overwhelm the relationship. In times of stress, its easy for me to let our arguments overshadow all the positive interactions that we have. We both have to make a conscious effort not to argue unnecessarily or allow grudges to color our feelings for days or weeks after our arguments.  

Although we rated a different challenge, we both perceive 10 strengths and 1 challenge. We discussed our differences in answers about what the challenge actually was. My husband rated “partner alcohol use” and I rated “desire for partner to change”. Alcohol use is currently a topic that we are discussing a lot in our home, as my husband just made the decision to stop drinking. When we discussed why he rated that as a problem, he said that he was communicating his interpretation that I have a problem with his drinking. I didn't rate that as a problem because he has been sober. However I rated “desire for partner to change” because of my feelings about his drinking. Its not the actual alcohol consumption, its the choices, behaviors and attitudes that he displays that I have a problem with. 

In the summary graphs I noticed something that really struck me. We both have the same strengths and challenges, however I consistently rated myself lower than my husband rated himself. I realized that throughout the survey and in our relationship I see myself as lesser than I really am. I think that it boils down to my lack of trust in myself. I often displace that mistrust onto my partner, but its really about me. Its about my lack of trust that I have the ability to deal with anything that life brings. I see this show up in worrying about large events, like death of a parent, adultery, etc. 

But it also shows up in everyday stresses, just getting everything done that I need to get done in a day. I have a lack of trust in myself and that brings up feelings of being overwhelmed on a regular basis. While I realize that I need to give myself more of a break because I do have a lot going on in my life right now. I'm the one that signed up for all the things that I have going. I'm in charge of where I spend my time. I think that realizing, noticing and acting on that is a very important concept in juggling my daily stress. 

Overall, I enjoyed the experience of taking the survey, talking about it with my husband and having some time to process and investigate the findings. I am overall very happy in my marriage, despite the small amount of passionate arguing that we do. Its easy to get caught up in our common-place-not-really-even-about-something-arguments. It was very illuminating to take a step beyond that and look at some of our challenges. It was also rewarding to see where we are strong, which was with most of the findings.

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