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The Challenge and Gift of Our Differences

I hear from couples all the time how differences in ways of thinking, feeling and doing things cause friction and discord. Coping with and even enjoying our varying personality traits, needs, values and lifestyle choices can be part of the gift of committed relationship. In our book Secrets of a soulful marriage“Secrets of a Soulful Marriage,” we encourage couples to use the conflicts and differing ways of doing things as tools for polishing the diamond of their heartfelt love. Moving beyond the power struggles of who is right or wrong, who is better or worse, who wins and who loses can offer couples a more spiritual acceptance of each other.

As my precious husband Jim Sharon wrote in a recent blog post, we move through layers of resistance, to be able to tolerate, then perhaps accept and then hopefully to appreciate our differences. This is what I consider Happy coupleThe Promise of Unconditional Love: If we, as a couple, can  respect and honor our differences, then maybe there is hope for our family and the greater community! I propose we set forth our highest intention and give this our attention in mindful and kind ways.

I want to share ways that couples we coach reconcile differences as they create and sustain a healthy, sacred relationship.

Let’s take a look at the features of the famous Myers-Briggs personality test, then find ways to honor and manage the differences.

Are you an extravert (get energy from being with others) or introvert (prefer to be alone and lose energy from being around people too much)?

Do you perceive people and situations through your five senses or from an intuitive sixth sense?

Do you access information and make decisions through your rational thinking mind or your emotional heart, body sensations, and gut knowing?

Do you prefer schedules, goals and timelines or like to leave things open and go with the flow?

So what are we to do when faced with these types of differences? Here are six actions to try with your partner:

  1. Clearly state what the conflict is and how you feel. Tell your partner what you want/need.
  2. Find a way to solve the problem in a way that builds the relationship. “I want X and you want Y. Let’s find a way to work this out so we are both pleased.”
  3. Listen openly without judgment to what your dear one is telling you. Try to get in his/her frame of reference and understand the feelings, motivations or desires that drive the behavior. Listen deeper.
  4. Reflect to your partner what you hear him/her saying. Have your beloved validate he/she feels heard even though you disagree.
  5. Breathe. Calm down your triggers. Tell your partner, “This is a Couple meditatinghot button for me and I feel myself escalating. I need to take a break.” Come back together when you are both calm. Connect emotionally and spiritually even if you disagree on a plan or opinion. Use the triggers to help you heal old wounds and feel closer.
  6. Set up agreements so you are clear on the expectations and needs you each are expressing. For example, if you want to go out with friends and your partner wants to stay home and curl up with a good book, then make a deal that satisfies both of you, like “I’ll go for an hour or two while you relax and read, then I’ll come home so we can soak in our hot tub and cuddle.”

What are some of your tips?

Let us know how we can support you in your relationship or to find your beloved. If you feel like you need help cutting through some relationship challenges, we can help! Let Jim or I be your guide to break through and find satisfying solutions. We are offering a 3-session coaching package at an irresistible price! Contact us at or (303) 796-7004 by September 30 to schedule your in-person or virtual sessions in November and/or December 2017. Get it handled by the end of the year.

Your relationship coach,
Ruth Sharon, M.S.
(303) 796-7004

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Jim and Ruth Sharon

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