One of the signs of a health and respectful relationship and a relationship that is going to succeed is that each partner allows the other to influence them. That means that they listen, ask questions and take into consideration the ideas of their partner when they are making a decision. It is the opposite of “My way or the highway”.
When you are sharing an idea with your partner and they have a different view point, what is your response? Do you get defensive, do you dismiss them? Maybe you get angry or just walk away. I hope that is not the reaction that you have. But I know that it is not always easy to accept feedback or change directions.
Can you stay open to the other perspective? You need to look at your own reaction, you may not be aware that you are shutting your partner down. So you need to check yourself. When your partner shares their idea can you ask curious questions. These are questions that don’t sound like an attack. You are asking them to get clarification so that you will truly understand their viewpoint. You are not gathering information and forming a counter argument. It is better to try to understand them and show them that understanding. You do not have to “give in” when you don’t agree. But they do need to know that they were heard.
From Dr. Gottman’s research we know that the more that you accept influence, the more influential you can be. If you can try to show your partner that their idea has validity, that can be helpful. You don’t need to agree 100% but they need to know that you don’t think they are 100% wrong either. Show them that they have some valid points.
When you are open to influence from your partner, this says to them that you are a team that functions together. Not an individual who only considers their own concerns. It is not as black and white as win-loose or right-wrong. It is in the best interest of the relationship and each other to accept influence so it can be a satisfying decision for both of you. This is a win-win decision.
Accepting influence also tells the other person that they are important to you. That you respect them and their ideas. It takes a secure person to not be threatened by a different viewpoint. It is not easy for many people but it is so important. If you need help then just give me a call at 562-260-4796