What is Relationship Consciousness?

Monday, May. 7th 2012 1:33 AM

How well do you and your partner make decisions together and resolve potential conflicts? Are you able to do so in a way that usually leaves both parties feeling heard, and to some degree, satisfied? I call this relationship consciousness – meaning an awareness and mutual understanding within your partnership that enables you to agree or reach a compromise before there is conflict.


I have been intimately involved in relationships that had a low relationship consciousness, as well as some where it was high. Disagreements or misunderstandings in those with low relationship consciousness looked something like this:

Person A: Would you go to the store and get some <brand name> green beans?

Person B: Sure, I’ll be back in a half hour.

Person B returns (and for the record, if I am Person B, it probably took me a full hour). Person A looks into the grocery bag.

Person A: I asked you to get the <brand name> green beans, and you brought me generic ones?

Person B (in a disbelieving tone): Uh, sorry, but can you really tell the difference?

Person A: Yes, I can.

Person B: Have you ever even eaten the generic beans before?

Person A: Does it matter? I asked you to get the <brand name> beans.

And both people end the exchange feeling unsatisfied.

In a partnership with high relationship consciousness, the scenario would look more like this:

Person A: Would you go to the store and get some <brand name> green beans?

Person B: Sure, I’ll be back in a half hour.

Person B returns. Person A looks into the grocery bag.

Person A: I asked you to get the <brand name> green beans, and you brought me generic ones?

Person B: Sorry, I’ll take them back and get the ones you wanted. Be right back.

And both people end the exchange feeling satisfied.

Or perhaps Person A agrees to use the generic beans but asks Person B to remember to get the brand name ones next time. The point is not how these individuals arrive at an agreement. It is that it is easy for them to do so in a way that leaves both partners satisfied. Relationship consciousness is not about having good conflict-resolution skills. It is the chemistry that exists between two individuals with complementary personality types, who know each other well, and whose relationship dynamic leads to easy and agreeable decision-making.

So, how good is your relationship consciousness? How easily do you and your partner make decisions and resolve potential conflicts together? Do you walk away feeling angry? As though what you wanted was unconsidered? Like you just gave in? Or maybe you feel as though you won, or as though you bullied your partner into submission?

If you feel bitter or angry after most of these discussions, take a close look at whether your expectations are reasonable. You may also want to consider whether you are giving in to unreasonable demands or decisions that make you unhappy – perhaps to avoid the appearance of conflict or your partner’s wrath. But if you are perpetually unsatisfied, or if you sense such dissatisfaction in your mate, you might want to consider how to improve the relationship consciousness in your partnership, before the patterns become too engrained. Depending on your situation, you might try being more or less aggressive, or asking your partner to do so.

There is no formula that works for every relationship. Some people want their partners to make the hard decisions. Other people enjoy being in charge. And others prefer a 50/50, team approach to decision-making. It all depends on the two individuals involved. Relationship consciousness is simply the ability to reach decisions without frequent conflict. That’s pretty Powerful.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love
www.FrankLove.com

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