A Wonderfully Creative Third Alternative

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“You’re cheating on me!”
“No, I’m not! Don’t hit me! I’m not cheating on you!”
“You’re leaving the house twice a day now. And staying out too long. How dare you? You’re driving me to drink and to protect myself.”
“You’re an abuser! I’m going to my mother’s house and filing abuse charges.”
You’ll never guess their Third Alternative to clear up their heated disagreement about what she was doing.
Read it here.
It’s not easy to get clear of the details of a disagreement to identify a solution that pleases both of you. Sometimes it takes real creativity.

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Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

4 Comments

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  • An interesting aspect of this story is that the underlying problem wasn’t anything that either of them was doing “wrong”, nor was it a difference of needs, preferences, or values. The underlying problem came from the social/cultural environment where they lived. They had to address it on that level, rather than continuing to see it as something personal.
    As a side note, a story like this can certainly help us appreciate our “first world” problems!

  • It definitely does help me appreciate our “first world” problems, Rosemary.
    Although I can understand his frustration at believing his wife was both cheating on him and lying about it, I think hitting her actually counts as “wrong.”
    Until they were offered the toilet, though, I’ll bet both of them felt their problem was one no one could solve. I’ve been there myself. Now I ask for unusual ideas a lot sooner in our problem-solving process.

  • Right, Patty. I didn’t mean that his hitting her wasn’t wrong. Hitting was a very wrong response to the problem. I just meant that the original problem (the toilet situation) wasn’t caused by either spouse.

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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