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Developing the "Other" in You


It is becoming an increasingly common theory that sexuality and gender exist on a spectrum rather than dichotomously. In this idea, you are neither all male nor all female. Instead, you maintain traits of both genders.

Think about this theory in terms of your partner. If you are a man, have you ever sat in your living room imagining what it would be like to have a vagina? Most likely, you haven’t participated in this before. However, doing so can benefit your relationship.

While arguing, you or your partner may have said in exasperation, “Think about it from my perspective!” Did you? If you did, you know that looking at a situation from the other person’s point of view can open your eyes to a completely different way of looking the situation. The same is true for looking at your entire relationship from your partner’s gender.

Although you may not have been born with the genitalia of the opposite sex, it is still entirely possible to embrace the level of undiscovered masculinity or femininity you possess and learn more about your partner.

If you were raised to believe that you should present yourself as stoic, unfeeling, and brave as a man, try to consider the opposite. What would happen if you opened yourself up to vulnerability, emotions, and powerlessness? You may see the world and your partner’s approach to it in a different light.

Likewise, if you are the wife in the marriage and believe in the importance of being gentle, tender, and quiet, think about what it would be like to become loud, assertive, and powerful for a day? You may discover you enjoy parts of the experience and understand the appeal your husband finds in it.

So, if this theory and technique is so effective, why haven’t you heard of it before? Well, it doesn’t go with the traditional societal view of how to relate in your relationship. Currently, marriages are defined as two individuals who create a spousal contract with one another. You fight as individuals, make love as individuals, and accept each other as entirely different individuals.

However, overall marriages are not successful at the moment. So, maybe it’s time to take a different stance. Instead of standing your ground of an individual with a specific set of values and traits, take some time to think and learn about those of your partner. Can you try some of them on for size? Can you see why they appeal to your spouse? Are there any you would like to adopt?

In order to make marriages work, it is important to remain flexible and open to change. Adopting the perspective of your husband or wife and their specific traits may be the first step in a long line of changes you can open yourself to in order to change the course of your marriage and grow both as individuals and a unified force.

(Source: Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D)

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