Do you remember seeing this image before? If you haven’t, the image contains two separate images of a woman – one is younger and the other one is older. If you know all about this, bear with me for a moment to point out the features to those seeing it for the first time. The feather on the top could be for a younger woman’s side view. The shaded area is hair and just below that her eyelashes and nose. The older woman has the same hair, but to the right is a head covering, and her chin begins right at the feathery collar. The older woman’s nose is to the left of the bonnet. See the arrow? 

Looking at this, some can see both, while others can only see one. The same approach goes to considering partner perspectives – especially when involved in that all-important issue of resolving conflict! 

When working with couples during an intensive relationship boot camp session, one of the first things I emphasize is the practice of considering both perspectives.  

The other day, I was seeing a couple who have drastically different parenting styles. I joked with them and said, “It probably wouldn’t be good for either of you to be totally in charge of parenting.” We laughed because the wife knew she was pretty tough and lacked spontaneity, while the husband would let the kid have pizza or cookies for breakfast every day. 

The couple agreed if they could each move towards understanding the other’s perspective, their ability to parent would be better. 

As part of this, a big question is: what if your partner cannot see or understand your perspective? I suggest a series of simple steps: 

  1. Hold on to the bigger picture – After all – you both feel passionate about the subject and you’re both working together to make the best decision.
  2. Understand the value – How passionate are you or your partner on the subject? You want to understand how important it is for your partner if their passion is a 10/10 and yours is a 5/10. It is important that you understand your partner’s number (here, I mean the value of what they are losing) because you want to know the sacrifice they are making or vice versa. If you could see and understand how important something is to your partner, you could make the best decision for the “team.”
  3. Create a solution you can both live with – After understanding each other’s perspectives, what might be a common ground to meet on?
Ultimately, seeing two perspectives is helpful to make the best decision, to create a connection (you will be more known and know your partner better), and make each of you a better person. 

Even if you are still stuck and cannot see both the old and young lady!

If you are having trouble negotiating differences and it seems like anytime you talk you are afraid it might end badly, you may be having trouble seeing each other’s perspectives. It’s time to learn the techniques on how to have difficult or serious conversations with your partner. 

Discover how we can help your relationship appreciate differences and get the tools to learn how to compromise with your partner. Schedule a session and learn one thing you can do right away. 

Get professional advice from a skilled couples therapist and learn healthy communication skills and conflict resolution tactics. Discover Marriage Intensive Counseling that offers emotionally focused therapy with an Emergent Relationship Center licensed therapist.