Couples: "The Goal of Marriage is Not to Think Alike, but to Think Together" | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

Couples: "The Goal of Marriage is Not to Think Alike, but to Think Together"

Uploaded: Dec 27, 2018
I recently came across this quote comes from Robert Dodd, and it resonates in my work with couples.

We often select a partner that is different from us, yet complements us in a variety of ways. Over time, many couples find those very differences a source of friction in their relationship. If this resonates for you, don't worry; it's normal and human, and there are ways to deal with it.

Since this is a big topic, I'm going to write about it in a series, with this being the first installment.

Perhaps the most important thing is to accept that one of you is not right and the other is wrong. We may mistake communication as trying to change our partner's mind (thinking alike). Another way to look at this is to focus on your larger goal -- connection and intimacy. With this shift in your own desire and thinking, you have a chance to consider a new strategy in our conversation: understanding and creating a solution together (thinking together).

Once you've gotten past trying to convince your partner that your opinion is the right or only way, you can seek options that come from both of you. In order to do so, you need to deeply understand the meanings of each of your perspectives, and ultimately use those to strengthen your relationship.

How do you do that? You can become very curious about the other's view of life, and listen carefully (not just wait until it's your turn to talk). This shows that you're genuinely interested in your partner and how he or she ticks, and what is wanted and needed in relation to the topic at hand.

Ask open-ended questions:

What does that mean to you?
What are your hopes and concerns about [this topic?
Tell me more about that . . .
Go slowly in this process and dig deep in yourself for understanding. Avoid going for solutions and "fixes" too quickly (this tendency is to be expected; just name it, and keep seeking meaning).

You can learn to value, and yes, even promote those differences. You know from nature that variety leads to strength of a system. Thinking together may take more time up front, but ultimately the connection and intimacy you create together will more than make up for that.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by text messages, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Mar 13, 2019 at 8:30 am

text messages is a registered user.

I say with pride that ALL of my toys fit neatly on the floor inside a closet that was no bigger than the desk I have now. (roughly 4 1/2 ft. x 3 ft.) I moved more times then I wanted and still made the best of it. I can agree with "BOB" if only in part that the wives that have EVERYTHING need to be thankful EVERYDAY.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Believe In Marriage, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:44 am

Believe In Marriage is a registered user.

Marriage is designed to be a lifetime commitment. Unfortunately, this promise of forever is often cut short by divorce, a commonly-exercised legal option in the United States and most other countries.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Coronavirus Food Safety Update + New! Insider Tips
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 5,191 views

Singapore's oldest cafe was about to open in Palo Alto. Then, the coronavirus hit.
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 4,473 views

A Pragmatic Approach to A Trillion Trees
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 4,119 views

Repairing a Disagreement with your Beloved & “Physical” vs. “Social” Distancing
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 2,782 views

The University of California’s flexible policies during COVID-19
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 6 comments | 2,695 views



The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details