Opposites Attract, But Can They Last?

Everyone's heard the saying that "opposites attract," but Dr. Phil delves a little further: Can opposites stay together without driving each other crazy? Here's Dr. Phil's advice for embracing differences, finding a compromise, and making a relationship last.
  • Marriage is an adjustment. It takes sacrifice. Merging two lives together — and then adding children — and putting them all under one roof is difficult. Don't expect it to be easy.
  • Manage your expectations. What makes people upset is not what happens in their life ... but when their expectations are violated. Be realistic.
  • You have a responsibility to resolve your differences so they do not negatively impact your children. Kids are smart enough to figure out that they can divide and conquer. Do not undermine your spouse's authority.
  • Look at your own behavior. Is it change worthy? The only person you control is you. Take ownership of your marriage, and don't wait for your partner to take action. Remember that you teach people how to treat you.
  • Have a spirit of acceptance. Men and women are different because they're supposed to be! The last thing you'd want is to roll over in the morning and wake up looking at yourself.
  • Stop complaining and start asking for what you want. Be specific.
  • Remember the 10 relationship myths. Keep in mind, for example, that a great relationship does not require a great meeting of the minds. You and your partner are entirely different people. Recognize how your partner enriches your life, rather than simply reflecting it. Appreciate your differences.
  • Ask yourself every day: "What can I do to make my marriage better today? What can I communicate to my partner that I really value?" You don't have a right not to.
  • Pick your battles. If you don't like the way your husband brushes his teeth, leave the room and don't watch.
  • Don't wait until there's a fight to talk about how to resolve your differences. That's when blood is flowing and tempers are high. Have a calm discussion during times of peace.
  • Compromise. Relationships are continually negotiated. If you miss an episode of Friends to spend quality time with your spouse, will the world crumble? (Sitting shoulder to shoulder and watching TV does not count as time spent together.) Instead of complaining about your spouse's hockey game, how about going and watching it? Opposites can compromise and find middle ground if you're both willing to work on it.
  • Dr. Phil believes there is a formula for success in a relationship: A solid relationship is based on an underlying friendship and is a function of how well it meets the needs of the two people involved. Find out your partner's needs. Do you know your partner's needs? Do you know what your own needs are?
  • Don't consider divorce until you've investigated every potential avenue of rehabilitation. You have to earn your way out of a marriage. Years of suffering does not mean you've been working on things. Unless and until you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you've tried everything there is and that you can walk out the door in peace and with no resentment, then you're not ready to be discussing divorce.

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