Try To See It My Way: Being Fair in Love and Marriage
“That’s not fair!” A common refrain in any relationship, heard from child to parent, between spouses, and, eventually, from parent to child. The question inherent in resolving these conflicts is: who is fair? We all like to think of ourselves as reasonable, kind, just people; and most of all, we like to think of ourselves as right. However, when both people in an argument believe that they are the rational one, how do we come to a resolution?
Try to See it My Way introduces a new way of determining what’s fair, by a consensus between you and your partner. The book begins with an overview of relationship ethics, showing how your upbringing taught you what was fair in your family, and thus, why your partner’s upbringing will have taught him or her a different set of rules. Often these expectations and behaviors are learned by example rather than actually being verbalized, and may be handed down through many generations without anyone questioning whether they are appropriate.
Hibbs provides many stories of couples in therapy, but also includes self-reflection exercises in each section to aid you in identifying your behavior in the examples given. We all make decisions about whether we are being fair, and whether others are fair to us, without really considering outside information, and often without even verbalizing that we have made the decision.
Hibbs suggests that you identify what rules you and your partner are operating under currently, and how to form new rules together which can apply within your relationship. Once you have made a new bond of fairness with your partner, you can then learn how to extend your new viewpoint to the rest of your life. The changes you make with your partner will affect how you relate to your parents, your children and your friends.
Issues of trust, loyalty, and expectations of what a relationship should or should not provide are explored in detail, and suggestions are provided as to how to make changes for the better in your own life. If the phrases “you should”, “you never” or “you always” are heard frequently in your household spats, this book could prove to be a life saver.
While this book would not replace a marital therapist, completing the exercises provides a good look into the issues you both bring to your relationship, and is helpful as you both find new ways of coming to agreements. I found the author extremely insightful, and the exercises very revealing. This book is an easy read, is not overly academic, and does not use a judgmental tone. It serves as a safe space to access your memories, as a guide to let you make your own discoveries, and a place to create a new model of fairness that really feels fair to everyone concerned. Highly recommended!