Want a Better Relationship?

Gary W. Lewandowski, Monmouth University, told CNN that putting your partner first is relationship advice of the past. Lewandowski, who is speaking at the APS-STP Teaching Institute this May in Washington, DC, and his colleague, APS Fellow and Charter Member Arthur P. Aron, Stony Brook University, study “self-expansion,” how individuals use a relationship to accumulate knowledge and experiences. Research shows that the more self-expansion people experience from their romantic partner, the more committed and satisfied they are in the relationship. “To the extent you can do some of these things more with your partner and expand more with your partner,” says Lewandowski, “you are going to have an improved relationship.” At first glance, it may seem selfish to focus on how your partner can enhance and expand your life—but in fact it can lead to stronger, more sustainable relationship.

Observer Vol.24, No.2 February, 2011

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I think the match maker summed it up perfectly and pinpointed the new experience and growth that would need to happen if two people are not at this individual level of maturity and the relationship does not have the strength to bear it.

Neither person should be a doormat. That means a woman or a man should feel comfortable to say to the other, I am comfortable enough to tell you this because I care about us and this bothers me because my feelings are hurt or I am feeling I am taken for granted, so please …. let’s talk about what can be different…. and there should be something positive out of the conversation and the bond strengthened.

I can give an example. My husband and my two sons ran out of the house last week when I had a cold and didn’t check on me to see if I needed anything. Now I didn’t get completely bent out of shape becaue at some point in my life I may live alone and there would be no one to check on me and I will have to check in with someone. But I was taken aback that I was “forgetten”. So I called my husband and said, I am glad that you all were able to get yourselves out the door but no one checked on me. He said, oh I meant to and I think the boys meant to but we did run out the door, can I get something for you at lunch time. Then I gave him a list of things to bring me home and he did that. It was a small thing but those are the kinds of things that do happen in the course of a normal hectic life. People cathch colds, people are late for work, and reestablishing a relationship takes work.

So I think if Dr. Lewandowski tweaked his questions to help a relationship get better is to help those who are unable to speak up for them selves and resolve small issues.

Something like: Does your partner encourage you to let you know when they have caused you concern and are you open to listen to what they have to say?

Do you and your partner change things you say or do from discussions about things or experiences that concern either of you in a calm manner?

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