If you and I think alike, there is one of us too many!

In relationships, one sometimes comes across a situation where two parties have totally opposite opinions about something. If they have problems accepting this, obstacles in their relationship can result.

One woman said to me, “My husband and I invariably see everything in opposite ways. We simply cannot see eye to eye. When we were dating we seemed so alike, but now we think so differently. He gets angry when I tell him that what he is saying is nonsense and that he has no idea what he is talking about. For some strange reason, the more I say it, the more stubborn he becomes about getting his way. How do I deal with this obnoxious behaviour?” On the other hand, I once came across a couple who were worried because they didn’t have opposite opinions. They were not sure if they were really looking at things from different angles.

There are over seven billion people alive on this planet, and no two of them look, sound or think exactly alike. We have to create a culture in our relationships that expect and welcomes differences.

Once we learn to understand, love and respect our partner, even when he/she has opposite opinions to us, egos will not be a stumbling block. This will make it easier to reach a compromise or better still, a win-win situation. The following methods have helped couples or parents with teenagers overcome conflict

* If the husband and wife have strongly opposite opinions about something — for instance, whether to let their child go to a function, or buy a particular fridge or piece of furniture — the husband can ask his wife, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how much does this really mean to you?’ If for her it is a 10 and for him only a 7, she gets her way.

* If it is a 10 for both of them, they can either toss a coin, ask the third party to decide or take turns, ‘This time we will do it your way and next time we will do it my way.’ In an environment where opposite opinions are not tolerated, the partner with the weaker personality will feel that he/she is losing out, and will build up resentment. In some cases, he/she will even be afraid, to be honest, and express real feelings. This can eventually lead to the break-up of the relationship.

Many relationships could be saved if a big welcome sign for opposite opinions could be implanted in the minds of both parties.