Why do we resist doing the things our partner wants?

In the past, I resisted for way too long.


I have issues with authority. I hate being told what to do. My ego was the size of a breakaway Soviet republic to be named later, and I didn’t have the skills to chop it up and flush it away in service of the bigger goal. I was way, way too stubborn.

A breakthrough moment was when a job coach was coaching me a tricky work relationship. I wanted to respond, to be clear, to be my usual bull-headed self. And he kept interrupting me with the magic question:

    • Do you want to be happy or right?
    • Do you want to be happy or right?
    • Do you want to be happy or right?

Both, of course!

But if I have to pick, it’s a no brainer. If you’re right and unhappy, it still sucks.

The key is caring less. So many things don’t matter. Where to go for dinner, who takes out the trash, what color you paint your bedroom, if you get organic or conventional strawberries. Compared to a happy relationship, these questions aren’t even worth thinking about.

[On a book review note — I can’t resist! –¬†The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is a fabulous romp through the particulars of not caring about most everything so you can actually care about what really matters.]

Assuming they’re decently reasonable, don’t fight most of your partner’s big ticket requests. Just follow their¬†User Manual. Doing something you don’t really want just for your partner is the ultimate act of love–and reduces the friction that can catapult you into a den of relationship-murdering snakes.

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