By Jane E. Peller, John L. Walter
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1992
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Extra resources for Becoming Solution-Focused in Brief Therapy
Other couples buy homes every 3 to 5 years or rent and move every 1 to 2 years. This is not a “right-wrong” choice but a matter of reaching agreements that meet his-her-our needs and personality characteristics. ” Although it is not always possible to meet his, her, and our needs, agreements are more likely to succeed than compromises. In a compromise, no one’s needs are met. The classic example is going out to eat. He wants to go to an Italian restaurant, she wants to eat Chinese; they “compromise” on a mediocre Continental restaurant neither enjoys.
Yet, they are clearly hers, not his. Barry enjoys travel, folk music, ethnic restaurants, and biking. Emily enjoys some of these activities and takes a pass on others. Individual interests spice up our lives and marriage. Because of Emily, Barry has come to appreciate classical music, historic architecture, and small town living. Emily’s life has been enriched by travel, exploring cities, and interacting with a range of people. Individual differences can be a source of tension and conflict. Examples include the “golf widow,” he complains about being dragged on shopping trips, she feels he is addicted to TV sports, he complains there is no time because she is always on the phone planning an extended-family gathering or getting stuck in family conflicts.
Conflict escalates from a minor irritant to a major source of distress. This must be addressed and negotiated and an agreement reached. Couples treat nitty-gritty conflicts with benign neglect until they become a source of chronic problems. The time to address a conflict is in the acute stage, before resentment builds. Getting it right the first time 36 A key to resolving nitty-gritty differences is realizating that it is not a matter of rightwrong but of different preferences and styles. A couple had a continual argument over the right way to load a dishwasher—there is not one right way.