In today’s world, most people still want to be part of a couple and to benefit from the joys of sharing a life with someone. Perhaps, one of the changes that many don’t think about is that as part of a couple there is now an accountability factor. The upside of this is that you matter to someone, there’s another person who is aware of you.
There are two areas of accountability that I’ve found create difficulty for the couples with whom I work.
For some people, being accountable feels like they’re being controlled, like a child. I’d suggest that it’s helpful to think of a committed relationship as if you’re a team. In working as part of a team, you don’t make an individual move without letting the other players know what you’re doing.
I’m working with a couple now where he spends large sums of money without consulting his wife. (Luckily, they have the resources for him to do so.) Sometimes, the expenditure is to help one of the kids financially. Though his wife doesn’t care that he spends the money, she’s upset by the fact that he hasn’t communicated it to her. It turns out that since he was a young teen, he’s been independently earning money and this is just a very old pattern. There’s no harm intended … but to her, it feels like there’s a lack of communication and they aren’t functioning as partners. She’s right!
Let me use myself as another variation of accountability. Because of my childhood, I had lots of abandonment issues. Many years ago, before cell phones, my husband would come home late and forget to call. I’d go into a panic and when he got home, the panic turned into anger. Initially, he felt I was controlling him based on my need to have him call. Then, he realized that part of being a loving partner was being sensitive to my sensitivities. Here’s how I explain it to clients: “Would you bring an ice cream cake home to your mate on her birthday if she had diabetes?”
As simplistic as this may sound, your partnership is the basic unit. It’s the two of you. The more you work as partners and dance together, the more you’ll make beautiful music and have an empowered relationship.