Making the commitment to improve our connection with another person is actually a pledge to study ourselves. This is a promise that guarantees upheaval. When we begin to examine how and why we withhold information or sidestep the truth, for instance, we discover our fears, which is uncomfortable. When we truly comprehend the impact of criticism, we ache about things we’ve said or done. If we change our ways, and begin to act with kindness toward friends and family we had sworn ourselves against, we face the realization that we’ve been as hard on ourselves as we are on others. Instead of holding a negative attitude, we begin to be more curious about and maybe even more responsible for the part we play in relationships with our least favorite relatives and exes. This awakening requires courage and an ongoing commitment. It is not a breeze.
—from How to Save Your Fourth Marriage, by Terri Crosby
In my own experience, it became clear to me that in the face of difficulty or disagreement, I furnished evaluation, not true curiosity. I didn’t look to myself for changes that would make a difference in the quality of my relating. My notions of superiority and inferiority guided me, rather than love and acceptance. My new awareness urged me to examine whether the rules of engagement for Eric and me encouraged lavish participation and joyful expression. Or was one of us dumbed-down or shushed? Was either one of us—ever—persuaded that we were not enough?
—from How to Save Your Fourth Marriage, by Terri Crosby

Most of us were brought up to think that in a conflict, the end goal is resolution. Resolution means the conf lict is over. It implies that the opposing positions or perspectives still exist, but the parties have compromised and a peace treaty has been signed. My preference around solving conf licts is different from resolution. Dissolving an issue means that opposing perspectives wash away like sand after a wave. There is no lingering, resigned sense of “Okay, we’re not in conflict any more,but I still think my position was valid.” To dissolve a situation so cleanly that it’s as if the difficulty never occurred requires a profound commitment to “what if nobody’s wrong.” Forgiveness becomes unnecessary, because what was thought to have happened didn’t. To begin, we say: This is what occurred. (State facts only.) Then we ask: Given that nobody’s wrong, how shall we dissolve this? We play with options and consider points of view that bless both people.

—from How to Save Your Fourth Marriage, by Terri Crosby

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