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Change Your Perspective

I had an interesting experience the other day while driving with my husband. I happened to notice that the side windows of my car had a mottled smokey pattern and I asked my husband why the windows were like that. He looked at the windows and said he saw no pattern there. To which I replied it was so obvious, could he not see. It was right there. We went back and forth like this for a while, him trying to convince me that there was nothing to see and me trying to convince him that there most definitely was something to see. I was tempted to ask him if he was blind, when I happened to notice that he was not wearing sunglasses and I was. I took off my sunglasses and handed them to him. He then said, "Oh, I see what you are talking about."


That experience started me wondering how often we may misunderstand our partner simply because we are not able to see as they see. If it were possible for us to put on a pair of glasses and see things from our partner's point of view, many disputes would be much easier to resolve.

How often do you find yourself trying to convince your parter that something is so, just to have them try to convince you that the opposite is true? In those situations both of you could benefit from exchanging glasses, so that you could each see from the other's perspective.

Instead of getting frustrated, like I was when I wondered if my husband was blind because he could not see what was so obvious to me, try to find a way to express yourself that helps your partner see what you see. Find a way to hand them a pair of glasses to help them see. You may have to put what you are saying in terms that make sense to your partner, try relating it to something that they have experienced. Remember that to appreciate what salt tastes like you first need to taste it. But this is not only about helping them see what you see, it is also about you seeing from their perspective.

Men and women may have difficulty communicating because they lack a common experience to draw from in order to make sense of what is being said. Even when they have the same experience, because of the different ways the male and the female brains work, they may still lack a common experience. In general women integrate emotions and logic; where men tend to compartmentalize. Men tend to think in a focused and linear manner and women to think broadly, constantly interconnecting and linking everything together.

The next time you find yourself thinking that perhaps your partner is blind, because they cannot see the obvious, pause and take the following challenge. Give each other 2 minutes to explain your thoughts and position as clearly as you can to the other. Make sure you each repeat in your own words what your partner has said. Allow your partner to clarify any misunderstandings. Then spend the next 5 minutes taking the other person's position. Discuss the issue, as if you each were doing your best to convince each other from your partner's perspective. When you change your perspective, so that you are looking through their glasses understanding grows, and you may become less concerned with being right.