This article is extracted from “This is NOT a Second Honeymoon: Helping Couples Survive Spending A Lot of Time Together”, a book that was written by Christopher L. Smith to help couples during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his clinical work, he realized that couples being quarantined together have particular challenges. The book goes into a lot of these challenges along with strategies to survive these types of times and even to have their relationship thrive. We will be sharing a series of these extracts over several weeks to help you. If you would like to look at all of them together and get the book right away, it can be found on Amazon (Book).
Perhaps you may be used to having your home to yourself for long periods of time. You have ways for things to be that work for you. Maybe you are used to making the decisions at work and not used to having your thoughts questioned. Perhaps you think things through and believe you come to the right answers. In those situations, it might have worked well for you to be used to your view prevailing. However, you are in a different type of situation, working closely with your partner, probably more closely than you have with anyone in the past. Your idea is not the only idea, and it is important to really listen to the ideas and views of your partner, especially if they are different than your own. Not only will this make your communication better, but it is also possible that together you might come up with some better ideas. This is also likely to involve some different ways of relating than you are used to doing with each other, especially if you have been used to working more independently in different parts of your life.
It is important to really listen to the ideas and views of your partner, especially if they are different than your own.This is NOT a Second Honeymoon-- Christopher L. Smith
Being open to different views on issues can be hard. The first thing you want to do is to make sure you are hearing what the other person says – you could even paraphrase it back to them to make sure you understood and didn’t miss anything. The second thing you want to do while they are talking is to reserve judgment until they are done speaking – don’t start arguing with their idea in your head the first time you hear something that you disagree with. Then, after you have heard what their view is, ask yourself a few questions:
---What good things are they saying? Are there good points arising from their point of view?
---Do their ideas raise any questions or answers that my view didn’t?
---Are we talking about views on the same situation, or do we think that the situation is different?
---Is there something that I know that they seem not to be aware of that may affect how to view things?
---Even though our views are basically different, are there similarities or compatibilities in our views on which we can build?
Finally, having thought about these things, see where the two of you can go on this topic or situation. As you do, remember that it is possible for you to agree that you have different views on issues and that this has not changed. That can be okay too. Here's the Book.