|How to Get Along with Your
Spouse (and Others)
When your spouse does something wrong,
how do you react?
Some spouses like to blame. "You
really embarrassed me when you told that stupid joke. You make me want
to stay at home."
Other spouses prefer to criticize.
"You’re so fat it makes me sick."
Getting even is also a favorite response.
"Well, because you were flirting with Chris, I decided to flirt
By blaming, criticizing or getting even
with your spouse, you are trying to be AT CAUSE by putting your spouse
AT EFFECT. Unfortunately, putting your spouse AT EFFECT is harmful to
your relationship. You start arguments and fights. Just because your parents reacted badly toward each
other is no reason you need to continue the tradition.
Cause and Effect
When it comes to situations and
relationships, you are either at a cause point or an effect point. When
you paint a wall, you are at cause over the paint and the color of the
wall. When you spill paint all over your clothes, you are at the effect
of that paint.
There are two types of relationships:
1. CAUSE-EFFECT is the most common type
of relationship. As in the examples above, you take command of the
relationship and put someone else at the effect of you or the problem.
For example, husband John says, "Mary,
you ran over the neighbor’s gate. How could you be so stupid?"
John might feel at cause over the gate
problem, but Mary will feel effect.
2. In a CAUSE-CAUSE relationship, you
assume a cause point yourself AND you allow or encourage others to
assume the cause point as well. This idea comes from L. Ron Hubbard who
"If Mary burns the toast, John
accepts responsibility for this action. This does not mean that he
assumes all the responsibility and leaves none for Mary. It means that
he assumes all the responsibility and that Mary assumes all the
responsibility, too. They both assume all the responsibility. Under such
an arrangement, no one can be blamed. All their attention goes into
doing better with the toast, and none of it is wasted in blame.
"Mary runs the family automobile
into the neighbor’s gate. The neighbor rushes over in a huff and
encounters John in the front yard. The neighbor says, `You just ruined
my gate!’ John goes with the neighbor to look at the gate and at the
car. Sure enough, there is blue paint on the gate and white paint on the
car. The evidence is conclusive. John agrees with the neighbor that the
gate has been damaged by John’s car and he asks the neighbor to have
it repaired and send him the bill. The neighbor says that the damage is
not very great and so he will repair it himself. John lends him the
tools and helps him to repair the gate. John insists on buying a can of
white paint, and the neighbor says he will enjoy painting the gate on
Sunday. He apologizes for being so excited at first. They shake hands.
"John goes into the house, and Mary
says, `Dear, I hit the Jones’s gate with the car.’ John says, `Yes,
I know. We’ve already repaired it." Mary says, `I’m sorry. I
was thinking about the bathroom curtains.’ John says, `That’s all
right. What about the bathroom curtains?’ Mary says, I want to dye
them blue.’ John says, `That’s a good idea.’
"If nobody is to blame for the
damage to the gate, a constructive subject like dyeing the curtains will
immediately attract John’s and Mary’s attention, since it represents
future action." — L. Ron
Cause-cause relations are teamwork at its
very best. You and your spouse accept responsibility for all of the
actions of each other. You spread an umbrella of responsibility.
Imagine no arguments or upsets with your
spouse. Imagine never trading insults or hurtful comments.
Making a cause-cause relationship with
your spouse is the road to a happy marriage.
Give it a try!