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4 Key Strategies for Managing Your Differences

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When two people come together, they bring with them different ways of seeing things and different ways of doing things. These differences often cause friction in the relationship. And if not handled well, they can lead to major disruptions and sometimes ruptures in the relationship. One of the keys to creating your lifelong honeymoon is being able to manage these differences well.

Here is an example from my book, The Porsha Principles, of Pam and Marcus experiencing a difference in their relationship.

It’s pool day, and I am looking forward to Marcus and I spending quiet quality time at the pool together. But as soon as we walk through the gate of the pool, Marcus sees several other people at the pool and shouts to them, “Great weather for a pool day!” He starts conversing with them, and it’s like he forgot that this was our time, not time to be social with others. I grabbed his hand to try to pull him away to find a private place for us. But he doesn’t read my signal and keeps speaking to the other people. I just walk away, find a place, and sit down, alone.

This particular example highlights a couple with a difference in the level of desired social interaction. Marcus clearly prefers considerable social interaction with groups, while Pam generally prefers social interactions with those close to her.

Differences between partners is inevitable. But it’s how you handle the differences that distinguishes couples who experience a lifelong of struggle versus those who are able to create and sustain a lifelong honeymoon.

Consider these four strategies.

     1. Identify your significant differences.

·         Take our Couples Tendency Profile to identify the key differences between you and your partner. You can download the profile here.

·         After taking the survey highlight any dimension where the difference is three points or more.

     2. When a difference shows up, call it out.

·         Recognizing and communicating when a difference is showing up is a critical piece.

       3. Seek solutions that respect the differences.

·         The consensus building strategies from Porsha Principle 6, Addressing Conflict, can be a powerful guide in this.

·         In seeking solutions, it is important to avoid A/B thinking. A/B thinking occurs when one partner suggests A and the other suggests B, and the couple gets stuck arguing A versus B. Yet if they opened their minds and look for other solutions, they might find that there are options C, D, E and so on, that might be even better.

       4.  Monitor for success.

·         After you have implemented strategies to address a difference, be sure to check back with each other to gain key learnings.

Take the Next Step…

The strategies for managing differences are extracted from the over sixty strategies included in the Porsha Principles. Through my workshops, videos, and book, let me show you and your partner simple steps that you can start using today to lay the foundation for YOUR lifelong honeymoon.

Can your relationship benefit from the Porsha Principles? Find out. Take the free assessment.

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Porsha Jones is the founder of the Porsha Principles organization and author of The Porsha Principles: A Practical Guide for Creating and Sustaining Your Lifelong Honeymoon. Though no longer in private practice, Porsha is a licensed family and marriage therapist with over 10,000 hours helping her clients address some of the toughest relationship challenges including infidelity and couples in crisis. Through her books, videos, workshops, and retreats, she has made her insights and strategies available to anyone who truly desires to do the work involved in creating highly satisfying and enjoyable relationships.

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