No matter how much we love each other, when we enter relationship there will be times when we disagree, or when we prefer to make big decisions on our own and at times don’t feel we can rely on our partner and accept their thoughts or perspective.
It could be over a serious issue, such as how we discipline the kids, or something a little more trivial, as to whether a football match or dinner with the in-laws should come first.
How we deal with each other’s point of view is critical to a successful relationship and whether you seek your partner out when it comes to the big things can be predictive of whether you will have relationship success or not.
A big factor that points to relationships success is being a couple that allows the other to “influence” them. Interestingly, studies at the Gottman Institute has found that (a) men accepting influence from their female partners is more predictive of a good relationship and (b) men are less likely to accept influence from their partners compared with women.
This influence in our lives is about honouring and respecting our partner, it shows them that they are valued and that their opinion matters to you. Seeking your partner out in matters where you need advice and an opinion or responding to their “bid for connection” creates an environment of safety and security. When our partner responds positively we can feel like they really matter and that they are important to you. This kind of environment not only leads to a couple being what Dr. Stan Tatkin calls “secure functioning” but also can encourage a couple to rely on each other and even consider introducing more jokes, kindness or thoughtful exchanges.
This influence is not about controlling your partner or making them see things your way. It is more about taking your partner in, in a way that lets them know you consider you both a team or what is called a “two-person system”. Watching your vocal tones, maintaining eye contact so you can better read your partners emotions, and use the power of gentle touch to let them know that you are a two-some and that you are both willing to take in each other’s perspectives, considerations and thoughts.
Accepting your partners influence and doing so in as friendly and respectful manner bypasses the ‘primitive’ that resides in all of us that pushes us towards conflict.
In my opinion I believe that for men their primitive instinct is to preserve a sense of control, their brains are wired to believe they need to be the leader, fend for their family and make decisions.
When this is challenged they can feel insecure and fall back to their primitive. Women have in more primitive times been programmed to accept the man’s influence but as we know this is changing in society at a fast pace.
For some they have learnt through life to be independent, rely on their own opinions, tending to discredit the views of others. People with this kind of experience while growing up may be challenged when it comes to taking in another’s influence and may have to develop this a little more than others who may have been conditioned to take in another’s thoughts or influence more readily.
Here are my suggestions on being a couple who influence each other and will point you to realstionship successs.
- A great place to start with becoming a couple who actively accept their partners influence is by listening to your partner’s opinion and show genuine curiosity as to why they have that belief .
- Never let a disagreement end in a stalemate – find a resolution no matter how difficult that may be
- Keep your primitive self, the one intent on ‘war,’ in check and remain as friendly as you can throughout the disagreement. Remain curious to your partners perespective and that you value their thoughts too.
- Always remember that giving your partner the respect that you value their thoughts or opinion helps them feel important to you. To be considered by another is a human respect that is priceless.
- Be respectful to each other and acknowledge as part your relationship that you do consider your partners perspective and do this be remaining loving when they speak to you or show that twinkle in your eye that shows them they matter to you.
- Be mature about these situations, accept that disagreeing is part of any relationship. Remember that creating an environment that is safe, secure and that you both cherish the relationship no matter what your partners opinion is, is gold in any relationship particularly a romantic one.
Accepting you partners influence can be an incredible buffer for when things get tough. If you are a couple that have developed this strength you are both investing in your emotional bank account that will be full for when issues may arise.
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