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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 with Pat."

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 writes:

"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 Hubbard

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!

 


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