Being in a long term relationship can be really challenging and it can also be absolutely fantastic. One key ingredient in moving a relationship towards success is understanding the difference between the male and the female psyche. Many conflicts between partners arise due to not taking into account some of the basic female/male designs. Instead of considering the differences and learning from each-other – what tends to happen is misunderstanding, impatience and judgment.
An example is structure vs. spontaneity. Generally speaking, males tend to be more inclined to make decisions and move themselves with little planning. Decisions are made on the go, solutions are improvised, and changes are applied without much preparation. Women on the other hand, generally speaking, tends to better at planning, and also want to have a plan/structure. The conflict will then be about the man not structuring/taking his life, causing many ups and downs, which the woman becomes dissatisfied with. The man on the other hand will become dissatisfied with what he experiences as too much anxiety/worry/micromanaging and inflexibility from the woman.
How then to solve this problem?
Both the man and the woman must be willing to let go of their own preferences. Both structure and spontaneity have their positive and their negative traits. The solution is not to enforce a total and unchangeable structure, neither is the solution to live solely in the moment without any preparation. Balance is the best way to go – and – recognizing that being in a committed long term relationship is a great opportunity to learn and become a more well-rounded human being. Men can learn a lot from women, and women can learn a lot from men. We have our weaknesses and our strengths, and it is when we push ourselves to move beyond our own perception of the world that we are able to expand.
Myself for example, my challenge is to become more structured in my leisure time. At my work, structure has become a part of me. However, when I get home, I feel a need to let go of all plans/structures so that I can be free to do what I want to do in the moment. That does not work very well with family life. When there are several lives working together in a unit, structure is very important for everything to move smoothly. Without structure, each individual will move wherever and however he or she wants – and that will create conflict. A structure, an agreement, between the individuals in the unit, is thus vital for a effective movement.
Freedom is not limited by structure. It is possible to be free and express myself within a set structure, it is possible to enjoy myself within and as a structure, it is possible to expand myself within a structure – because it is about WHO I AM – and not about where I am. At the moment, structure is a necessary part of my life and something that I will have to keep practicing and that will make my life a lot easier when I master it.
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