“Partnering in Marriage”
Paula B. Randant
Couples often tell me they want their relationship to be a partnership. Defining a partnership is often a challenge. There are responsibilities to share:
-day to day tasks such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping and yard work;
-working either outside the home or inside the home;
-budgeting, paying bills, and making spending and saving decisions.
There are common beliefs and values to share that may lead to decisions about religion, politics, morals, money or organizations one might join. There are the independent interests of each person. This might include hobbies, volunteer activities, political parties, friendship or church activities. There are extended family relationships and responsibilities to consider. This may connect to shared values. Communication between partners requires skill, respect and love. Decision making often produces conflict between couples or parents and children. How decisions are made in a partnership requires respectful consideration.
It is possible to meet most family member needs without someone feeling that they have lost or been controlled by another. There are a number of jointly agreed upon factors to be considered in evaluating each conflictual situation. Conflict may simply mean two things/events at the same time. If there is no conflict or difference of opinion move on.
Common factors to be considered may include a priority of basic needs:
-where one lives,
-availability of food,
-water, heat, shelter,
-age of individual.
After the basic needs are evaluated then it is important to look to shared values, individual goals, family goals, developmental tasks(children), and the relative importance of the activity to the individual. The relative importance of an activity to a family member will/should often trump a time or multiple competing interests conflict. Evaluate the competing interests by level of significance for a person relative to others in the family. This could be an issue if everyone is required to participate, money is scarce, resources are limited(car), or parent involvement is required for more than one event/activity. Fairness is often an issue for children and should be considered but may be out weighed by other considerations.
Family and couple are interchangeable terms in this context as children or other family members expand the matrix of consideration.
Some additional caveats.
Parents always are responsible for final decisions of minor children-anyone under 18 years of age.
As children mature, particularly after the age of 12 years, they should be involved in the decision making process when the situation requires their cooperation.
Everyone deserves respect. Each person should treat others with respect and be treated with respect.
Parents are the primary teachers of their children.
All family members but particularly adults should make all decisions asking themselves “Is this a loving act”.