We were standing at the Ranger Station at Bryce Canyon National Park, asking for hike recommendations. We had an upper and lower trail option and were asking which one to choose. With limited time in the Park, we wanted to make sure we got it “right”, so we asked the expert which direction we should go.
“There’s no better or worse, just different,” was her reply.
Now that didn’t answer the question about which way was “right”, did it?
This got us thinking about interactions in our relationships. You know, the ones where you’re 100% certain that your way is “better” and your partner’s is “worse”. Right/Wrong. Black/White.
How many times have you argued/had an intense conversation/gotten annoyed by the way your partner does something, because clearly the way you’ve asked them to do it is better?
Yolanda used to get annoyed by the way Shamon folded towels (it’s half, half, thirds!). Shamon’s brain can start to steam by the way Yolanda makes the bed (sheet untucked!).
Over time, these frustrations can deepen a divide between the two of you.
If you can remember there are so many things when it comes to our relationship that are not better or worse, right or wrong, good or bad. They’re just different.
The way Shamon folds the towels? They still fit in the linen closet just fine. And the way Yolanda makes the bed? Shamon simply untucks the sheet.
Of course, there are things in our relationships that are “non-negotiables”. These things are beyond simple annoyances and full out collide with our values and healthy boundaries. But that’s a topic for another blog.
Think about how much better the world is because we’re not all clones of each other. Remember that it was the ways that your partner is different from you that first attracted you to them.
Ask yourself this little question the next time you get annoyed by your partner’s “worse” way of doing things…
“Is it really that big of a deal? Can I be ok with the way my partner does this, just like my partner is ok with the way that I do things differently?”
If we don’t nit-pick about the little stuff, it gives us greater space to work through things that really are an issue.
And the hike that we decided on? The lower trail. It looked like this.
Then, we decided to drive around the upper rim to check out the view, which looked like this.
Not better or worse, just beautiful perspectives.