I have essentially three choices in how I relate to my partner: I can attack, I can withdraw, or I can collaborate. Which of these I choose, determines a measure of both my own, as well as my partner’s, well-being. As time unfolds in the journey of our relationship, this choice will have considerable influence on emotional safety, self-expression, and satisfaction, versus unresolved conflict and erosion of the intimate bond.

When I attack, my partner is likely to defend. Or when I attack, my partner could choose to attack me back. This attacking mode, erodes that teamwork approach, that happy marriages embrace.

When I withdraw, we simply distance. We are not fighting. Neither are we close or connected.

When I choose to collaborate, we each express our thoughts, desires, and feelings. We wish to understand the other’s point of view. We come to a resolution that takes each of our needs and desires, into account. We come to a win/win solution. We are both happy. We are close. We are connected. We are affectionate. We feel honored, heard, and respected. Our love is flourishing.

What are you choosing this new year? Attacking? Withdrawing? Or Collaborating?
Wishing all a happy and prosperous new year! Questions/comments welcomed. I plan to post more thoughts that would be useful to couples and those who are navigating relationship issues.

For more information, please contact Ann Arbor Couples Clinic, (734) 417-9522.