healthier marriages Posts

Jack Sprat could eat no fat…

Jack Sprat could eat no fat…

Jack SpratToday’s blog is about differences and how to handle them in long term relationships. At first most differences are delightful in our partner. Those we don’t find so delightful we are able to put aside. It may not be long, however, when those differences loom up in a negative way and we start to let them separate us. Or perhaps we begin a long campaign to change the other person, creating difficult dynamics in the relationship. When I am talking about differences here, I am not talking about issues such as drugs alcohol, affairs, violence, or other issues that will threaten or betray the attachment that you have. I am talking about the everyday differences that can be irritating. One of the best ways to think about differences between you is to decide to honour them and to make sure they do not play a part in disconnecting you. Let’s take an example that can certainly become disconnecting for some couples. John is a meat lover and Jen is a vegetarian. At first they managed by each making their own dinner and doing their own grocery shopping. It was disconnecting in that they were not a team while doing this. Soon, Jen started making disparaging, in fact, remarks of disgust when John’s meal was being prepared (gagging over the smell of the food). John came back with as good as he got and they each became more isolated and hurt. They were now preparing their meals at different times, not eating together and/or eating out a lot.

What would honouring their differences look like?
• Accepting what is important to each of you. In this case, John and Jen would need to ​accept each other’s values around food. Part of that acceptance is to know that your opinion is not superior to your partners and that many different bodies need different nutrition and over many millennium people have had different preferences.
• Begin to become a team in your differences. Shop together or shop for each other. Watch out for special foods your partner might like. This act says I accept you and care about what you like.
• Cook together. Chop and dice for each other. Try out recipes that can have meat or vegetables added to the dish so that you are sharing some tastes together. Have an attitude of curiosity about the other’s preferences. This says we are in this together.
• Be grateful for the many parts of the food that you are sharing. For the farmers, the soil, the animals – all that go into your meal together. Gratitude and criticism cannot share the same space together.

This example (although very difficult for some couples) is just one example that you can use to find ways to honour each other’s differences. Remember the example of Jack Sprat…

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt them both you see
They licked the platter clean

Take this as a great metaphor on how you can manage your differences in a way that the whole is greater then the sum of the parts. Go forth and be wonderful!

Your Words for the Year 2013

More about the new year… I have been doing some business planning and one of the exercises that was required was to look for a word or words that might represent what I want for the new year. Sometimes you will need to be thoughtful about the chosen word and sometimes in a series of circumstances as you look over the past year, the word seems to choose you. As a couple, this can also be a great exercise. Look for a wild word, one that will move you as a couple beyond your boundaries and expectations and will call you to a place of energy and passion together, to a relationship that keeps you growing in love. Or you might come up with a word separately and see how the words fit together. You might find that you make a delicious peanut butter cup together with some yummy chocolate on the outside and some yummy peanut butter in the centre. Write a paragraph that combines the words, see the strengths in that and let that be at least a part of your vision for the future of the new year.