Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

By the time most couples have made their way either into my office or on a conference call with me, they bring with them a laundry list of complaints about each other. Both partners proceed to spend almost all their time complaining about all their partners’ faults, sometimes even frantically waving a literal list of complaints in their hand as evidence of all the injustices done to them by their partner. Following this litany of complaints and “evidence” presented, I ask each person if they could tell me what they believe they might be contributing to the problems in their relationship. Amazingly, the room falls silent. You could hear a pin drop. The couple stares at me with a look that leads me to believe they are in a total fog, dazed and confused with absolutely no idea what I was asking.

So what’s my point? We all get so caught up in what I call the “blame game” we completely forget the fact that it takes two people to argue and create a fight. We cannot have a fight all by ourselves – it is just impossible. It is like a one-handed clap – no such thing, not happening.

In our relationships we get completely immersed in what our partner “is”, or “isn’t doing” to us that we totally lose sight of anything that we might be doing to contribute to the tensions and difficulties we are experiencing in our relationship. There is a saying amongst the experts that goes something like this: “there is his side, there is her side, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.” Ah, so true!

Therefore, the next time you are having difficulty in your relationship, stop pointing your finger at your partner – demanding all sorts of changes and apologies- and take a moment to look at the “mirror, mirror on the wall”. Think about what you might be contributing to the problems in your relationship. Then, think about what you are willing and able to change about yourself and your behavior that would decrease the tensions or difficulties you are experiencing. In other words, take a little bit of responsibility for the unhappiness and/or conflict in your relationship instead of focusing all your energies on your partner’s imperfections!

Remember, it takes two to make a relationship work. And it is the same two people who must be accountable and responsible when it doesn’t work. I am not saying that this is an easy thing to do, but anything worth having is worth working.

A little self-reflection can go a long way!


Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann





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