Relationship Minute: What Are Your Shared Symbols?

The Sound Relationship House teaches that shared meaning is an essential part of a solid partnership. When you see life through a similar lens, you’re less likely to let miscommunicated (or uncommunicated) assumptions lead to conflict.

Shared meaning turns physical items into symbols that you both see the same way. For example, take your dining room table. Perhaps you see it as a workspace for projects or a place to put the mail. However, your partner sees it as a special area for family dining and wants to keep it clean between meals.

See how conflict can arise?

A good way to get on the same page with your symbols is to talk about them. Ask specific questions: What does this mean to you? Tell me a personal story about this. How do you want this to be treated?

When you communicate with each other about what something means or represents, you can align your values and beliefs and be supportive of one another.

What are your shared symbols? How can you better understand how your partner sees your life together? 

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.