I cannot think of any person that has ever reached a goal without some form of partnership along the way. Partnership is an essential piece of everyday life and nothing would happen without it. I grew up in a small, rural community on a cattle ranch and learned the value and necessity of partnership at a very young age. My community would never have survived if it were not for the way that people would pitch in to make sure that their neighbors had what the needed.
Partnership is reciprocal and symbiotic. It is not simply one person helping another, but each member of the partnership providing something beneficial to the other.
Now that we are through the fluffy bunny portion of my post, let’s get down to brass tacks.
Partnership is TOUGH. Even the sweetest, most easy-going person in the world has odd little quirks and eccentricities that can get under a person’s skin. The trick to a good partnership is being able to accept these quirks and eccentricities, while understanding that we have them too and working to improve on those that are detrimental to the process of partnership.
The main partnership in my life is that with my husband who is also the father of our child. There is A LOT of give-and-take that happens in our partnership on a day-to-day basis, and we both realize this. However, we both have aspects of our personality that clash, and they can clash hard.
My husband can be an anxious person. I try to be sensitive to this, but sometimes my “pull-yourself-up-by-your-boostraps” self comes screaming to the surface and I am not as helpful or caring as I should be. When he is having anxiety and having a hard time getting things done because of that, it can be very easy to fall into a space of, “I need you to be X,Y, or Z for me right now” rather than thinking of ways to alleviate his stress. This is the point where any partnership will begin to suffer: it’s the “I-don’t-care-how-you-are-feeling-focus-on-me” point.
Everyone can benefit from learning to cultivate the skill that allows us to recognize when the other person needs more from us than we do from them. Sure, my husband being anxious about something I feel is no big deal can be frustrating, but his emotional state is very real and can have long-term effects on his well-being. Instead of viewing my husband’s anxiety as slowing down a plan I have made, I can consciously choose to view it as an opportunity for our partnership to grow. Instead of becoming frustrated, I can ask, “what do you need from me?”
When faced with a problem in a partnership, the only person we can control is ourselves. I cannot make my husband stop being anxious. That is a skill he will have to learn and master for himself. However, I can control my response to his behaviors. If I am not the support he needs when he needs it most (and vice versa), we no longer having a functioning partnership.
Goals and dreams will remain unfulfilled if we do not have the support of others, but we also have to remember that our supports need us as well.
Do you have a frustration in a partnership that you are unsure how to handle?