The middle ground is the place between selfishness and selflessness. This area of the relationship belongs to neither partner. Neither partner can claim or dominate this space. It is between partners, in the middle. It is not a compromise; it is the place of shared perspective. With tending, the middle ground grows sturdy and resilient and can come alive with a lifetime of potential for intimacy, pleasure, and dialogue.
But how do you find your way into the middle ground? The most common relationship problem reported by the author is bad communication and lack of mutual understanding. How can this be improved? Well, this author has a prescription.
Marty Babits is co-director of Family and Couples Treatment Service, a division of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City. His book features a compassionate approach to helping couples strengthen their relationships. His prescription is counter to the push of the busy, multi-media, information overload demands of our everyday life. He prescribes patience. When couples slow down their reactions and extend their partner the benefit of the doubt, they can gain mutual understanding. The ability to weigh your responses before responding to your partners action or words, and to choose your response rather than simply react as if on automatic pilot is crucial. This requires a degree of patience, rare these days, which can be developed.
Every step toward the middle ground involves developing patience. According to the author, when people slow down the communication process so that the time between remarks and responses allows for a moment reflection, the goal of communicating together as allies becomes possible. Learn to acknowledge your feelings, but not be ruled by them.
The author writes clearly and provides illustrative examples and straightforward exercises you can try together with your partner. It includes the author’s guidance in communication techniques that will help you both gain a better understanding. Stop the arguments, enhance the discussions. Get the outcome you need for the rich relationship you want. This is certainly a book to share with the one you love.
Because the author is writing about improved communication, much of his advice can also apply to other relationships including within the family, at work, and friendships. It is a middle ground, but it is also a method for building bridges. Perhaps this book could help with impasses in the Federal government.
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
– By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.