Saturday, November 13, 2010

The tag line of this book is "Being fair in love and marriage", the author is a marriage therapist who holds a phd , her name is Janet Hibbs. Dr. Janet starts her book with a fact that the main cause of marriage failure is feeling unfairly treated. Unfairness changes to resentment and the whole marriage collapses after.

She starts by stating some false assumptions we all carry about fairness like
  • The false assumption that love makes us a mind readers, don't expect your partner to know what you want and do it.
  • Love doesn't solve problems, love can help us to discuss further and understand other party point of view. But it can't solve issues on its own.
  • Being a good person myself doesn't make me fair.
  • Love is not ignoring yourself and your needs in favor for the one you love.
Then states a good quote "If I am not for myself, who will I be? If I am only form myself, what I am? If not now, when?

Janet mentions four keys for having fairness in life
  1. Reciprocity: By it she means that in a relation there should be a give-take balance. For life to go on each party should have awareness of what the other party is giving and appreciate the role the other party is doing. In this she states a nice quote "The beauty of a healthy relationship is that you want to give"
  2. Acknowledgment : Each party should acknowledge the efforts done by the other party. A partner should give credit to the efforts done by his mate. This comes in 3 ways a)giving credit to the other person e.g. "Thanks for doing ..." b)Showing good intention e.g. "I wanted to help you with washing when I mixed white and colors" c) Validating partner's point of view "I know you were worried yesterday when I cam late and I am sorry for that"
  3. Claims: claims means to ask explicitly for what you want, claims is not asking. I can ask you to lend me million dollars, but a claim is something I deserve and may be I paid in advance for it. e.g. "He can claim that she can cut her expenses at X $ as this is what he can afford"
  4. Trust: Trust is the key point that gathers all the above, it is what makes us give credit to the other person. Trust is directly proportional to fairness. When I am fairly treated my trust in my partner goes up.
Janet says that every partner comes to the relationship with concepts he got from what he saw in his own house, the model we have seen in our own house shapes how we deal in our new life. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations, we either expect too much or too less. For example, a girl who had a cruel father will either resent men and expect nothing from her husband, or expect too much from him to pay her back for what she has seen before, a thing that isn't his mistake. Janet calls this the unfinished business. To resolve any conflict she usually talks about the past to know where each of the partners came from. She tries then to build a new model different than what both expect due to their past experiences.

Things to avoid and to do during fights and conflicts
AVOID : Criticism - Contempt - Stonewall - Defense
Try to : Give credit to other party - Say your contribution to the problem without denial - Make your claim to what you see fair.

Some quotes
"Romantic love seduces us with the promise of unconditional love"
"You can spend your whole life fighting over who's right instead of seeing the effort someone is making"
"It is better to be happy than right"
"The family is a unique institution where what you put in and what you get out doesn't usually operate on a quid pro quo basis. That is because marriage run at least partly on trust."

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