web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


WE vs. ME Couples

Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

My father-in-law spent over thirty-five years as a circuit court judge. He noticed that some clients paid teams of lawyers only to be poorly represented. He noted in these cases that, “the lawyers are so busy arguing with each other that nobody’s arguing the case.” There was an absence of cohesiveness and the ego driven fighting rendered the team ineffective.

I’ve noticed a similar dynamic in relationships, one I call the “me” couple vs. the “we” couple. The me couple operates as two distinct people who happen to be in a relationship. This can be true of a couple that got together last week or one that was formed more then fifty years ago. It’s all in the attitude. The “me” couple is not really a partnership. Each may love the other and be happy enough. But they don’t operate as effectively in love or work as the “we” couple. The “we” couples are unquestionably teams. You see it in their body language and especially in their speech. And when they have successes or problems they view it as something happening to both of them.

A University of California study showed that couples who use pronouns like “we,” “our” and “us” had less stress and acted more positively towards each other. Those found to be less satisfied in their marriages used pronouns like “me,” “I” and “you.” Happy couples often speak in a “we.” As in, “We had a nice time at the party” and “We had a major plumbing problem at the house last week.” Unconsciously, they’ve formed a team and life is happening to both of them. These couples will fight; they may even not fight nicely. They don’t have fewer problems than anyone else, but they cope better. Rather than waste energy blaming each other, they focus on problem solving. So they divide tasks, brainstorm, resolve and move forward. Life is better when the blame is minimized and the challenge (whatever it may be) is addressed by both people.

The “we” couples take themselves less seriously. They don’t imagine they can be perfect and are unsurprised when things don’t go swimmingly. Rather than a “here we go again, the universe hates me,” when the car is stolen, a “we” couple will quickly bemoan the fact that this happened to “us” and move on. Of course cars get stolen, it happens every day. He files the police report, she arranges a rental. They get to work on time and the flow of life continues. “Me” couples blame each other (I told you we shouldn’t have parked here. Why did you open an account in a bank here? It’s a crummy neighborhood). They storm off, they don’t resolve the issue quickly, they don’t get to work and they have more problems as the newest spiral downward commences.

Becoming a “we” couple can be as simple as starting to use the word more. Think of things that brought you together and keep you together. Is it being parents, charitable work, common hobbies, a love for sports or the environment… these things may be simple or profound. The next time you’re together talk about the “we” things. Reminisce about them. When problems come up, resist the urge to blame, take a deep breath and try to move immediately to problem solving. This movement and restraint is the work of change. It’s worthwhile to make the effort.

Also, be kind to each other and think of your significant other as a partner. Ask for his or her opinion and input so that decisions begin to be made together in an atmosphere that doesn’t blame and judge. Judgement causes the team to argue and worse, the partners stop even suggesting ideas for fear that anything they say can and will be used against them. Build an atmosphere of cooperation by understanding each other and inviting your partner’s thoughts.

Finally, avoid “me” couples for a while. Be aware that other people’s expressions and attitudes can influence even the best relationships. For a while, insulate yourselves while you’re building up your “we” approach. It’s a quick turn around and a minimum of effort to put in for very worthwhile benefits.

Research cited: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/01/27/couple_we_ness/

To receive discounts on Gary’s Creating Your Best Marriage 11 DVD set program, go to NeumanMethod.com and use coupon code Jewishpress.

About the Author: M. Gary Neuman is a psychotherapist, rabbi, and New York Times best-selling author. He is the creator of NeumanMethod.com video programs for marriages and parenting.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “WE vs. ME Couples”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A "rifle-holding" lesson at a Palestinian Authority summer camp.
Palestinian Authority Incites Summer Camp Kids with AK-47 Rifles
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

Respler-062615

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

On-The-Bookshelf-logo

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

While there are those who insist they need full-color photos to be truly entranced by a recipe, I suggest you get over that particular requirement because the written word here will draw you in and cause you to salivate as you peruse the recipes scattered throughout The Well-Spiced Life (Israel Book Shop).

For those who couldn’t go off base, a personal parcel was priceless in its ability to convey a feeling of home.

With the danger of being discovered always a possibility, the partisans not only moved around in the forest, but also eliminated any collaborators.

We never cease to be students, even when we are no longer in school. Therefore, everyone can learn from these elements of thought.

More Articles from Rabbi M. Gary Neuman
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Sacrifice is the backbone of our souls. It indicates self-regulation for a higher purpose.

Spoiler Alert: Going to see the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”, starring Tom Hanks is not like going to Disney World. Well, it is like going to Disney World if you go mid-August with your triplet toddlers, feed them all cotton candy, and lose your car because you forgot you parked in Pluto 7.394. It’s not a happy Disney movie.

Stacy and George walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex-wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes spent embroiled in a detailed account of their battle only fired up their anger – and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not coming back.

The therapeutic alliance has always been about a firm connection between patient and counselor. There has always been one primary standard – physically meeting in an office setting. There might be some phone calls in between sessions or to bridge some vacation gap. But therapy has always been about a feeling of connectivity and there is no better way to do this than face-to-face.

Cindy is 43, successful, attractive, a dedicated mom, extremely caring… and she hates herself. She doesn’t readily admit this, but spend a minute inside her head and you’ll discover the resounding messages revolving around negative rants – everything from “I failed” to “I should’ve done better.” You wouldn’t know it from her behavior. She’s a high functioning, regular member of society.

As adults who were children of divorce know, healing does not occur through time alone. In fact, my research found that only 46% said they had a positive relationship with their fathers as adults.

Stacy and Michael walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes embroiled in a detailed outline of the battle only fired up their anger and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not returning for therapy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/we-vs-me-couples/2013/03/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: