Monday, August 15, 2011

The Problem is....

Those words of Dr. Tim Nelson at Friends University often ring in my ears. I get the amazing privilege of sitting with a couple or family who are having difficulty in their relationship. These words many times are sitting in the back of my mind to help me with the case. “The problem is, the definition of the relationship.” This simple yet complex diagnosis can be the help that a couple needs to see the changes that they wish to make in their relationship.

Most relationships can be categorized under two categories that define how the relationship is going to operate.

PEER relationships are those husband-wife, friend-friend, brother-sister, coworker – coworker, ect. These relationships are characterized by each of the persons involved in the relationship have the same amount of power, control and influence. There is not one side of the relationship that is unbalanced.

POSITIONAL relationships are the employer – employee, parent – child, judge – defendant, ect. These relationships are characterized by one of the individuals having a greater degree of power, control, and influence over the other.

When we have entered into a relationship such as a husband – wife, each spouse is expecting to have a balanced amount of power, control, and influence. Conflict begins to happen with one spouse begins to experience that the other is taking a greater degree of power, control, and influence. The husband – wife relationship could be characterized as a parent – child relationship. It is at the point that the relationship has been redefined as a positional relationship rather than a peer, conflict begins.

We get one relationship with any given person. When we begin to play more than one role we start to create blurred boundary lines. Example. Boss – Secretary = Positional relationship. Things are good. Boss starts to confide in secretary and they build a friendship, = peer relationship. That relationship might have just taken a detrimental turn.

Play the one role in all your relationships well and you will find peace, safety and security with those you love.

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