Photo by Randall Bruder on Unsplash
Are you in a relationship that feels loveless, disconnected, or lonely? Many struggling couples are either going through a detached phase in their relationship or are in a constant state of disconnection. Certainly stress associated with work, children, finances, health, and communication or personality conflicts may contribute to this situation. Couples often have different personality types and find these conflicts create a larger disconnect. In some cases, couples habitually assume the opposite position and become entrenched in their beliefs. Professionally, I’ve encountered many couples who develop a parent-child dynamic in their relationship. Depending on the issue or topic, the wife might be the “parent” and the husband the “child” or they may switch positions under different circumstances.
Are you currently in a parent-child marriage? For those of you who prefer a more visual explanation of a parent-child marriage, check out my YouTube video on this topic. The “parent” typically is micro-managing, controlling, nagging, demanding, aggressive, and can be belittling. On the other hand, the “child” can be immature, impulsive, avoidant, passive-aggressive, defiant, and pouty. Often the wife assumes the parent role on issues related to the children, parenting, and emotional-type topics while the husband is the parent with topics related to finances, work, or topics that more analytical in nature. Obviously these are generalizations since men and women vary in their approach to conflict. The main point I’m making is that assuming either the parent or child position when seeking to resolve a conflict is unhealthy. Ideally couples relate to each other as two adults.
What does an adult-adult interaction look like? Both parties respect each other’s perspective even when it’s different and seek to understand the other person. Two adults communicate assertively (not aggressively, passively, or passive aggressively) and articulate their thoughts and feelings in a healthy and constructive way. Adult couples avoid defensiveness, justification, and blame. One of the keys to interacting as an adult is our ability to apologize, forgive, and let go. Healthy couples accept each other’s differences and constructively work through conflict while remaining respectful and kind. We connect when we’re able to successfully resolve our conflict, make our relationship a priority, validate each other’s feelings, and accept the differences in our personalities. We can all do a better job in connecting through both our words and actions. Think about the importance of all of your relationships and recognize the value in connection.