In 1979, Bantam Books published the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, where readers had the opportunity to choose a conclusion for a story based on several potential endings.
Marriage is an adventure in itself, but similarly to the series, it is important to not only be working towards similar outcomes, but to also be on the same page.
If you and your spouse find yourselves on different pages, you risk ending up with completely different and potentially undesirable endings.
Why Getting on the Same Page in a Relationship is So Important
Being on the same page implies unity, synchrony, and understanding between spouses. This is an interesting feat, as partners with differing backgrounds, personalities, and ways of thinking must somehow integrate their differences.
If partners are not on the same page, they end up working towards conflicting goals, or traveling very different paths to get there.
Being on alternating paths precipitate unhappiness and culminate in fighting, discontentment, and overall dissatisfaction within the relationship or marriage.
Spouses have more difficulty solving problems and coping with life’s challenges when they are on different pages, then if they are working towards common goals on the same page.
How to Get on the Same Page as Your Partner or Spouse in 4 Steps
Luckily, in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, if you did not like the original ending that you chose, you had an opportunity to flip back to the point where the story diverged and choose a different one.
Similarly, if you and your spouse find yourselves on different pages, you need to flip back to the point where you diverged and make a unified, collective decision regarding the path that you want to take.
Once a path is chosen, each party must make a strong commitment to stay in sync with each other so that they do not accelerate onto the next page, or fall behind onto the ones prior.
There are four steps to assist couples in getting onto the same page so you can ultimately travel your adventures in tandem!
- Healthy and consistent communication
- Creating and implementing interventions
- Trust and respect
Step #1: Assertive Communication
Couples often love to regale others with stories about their adventures and travels. Frequently, you will see two spouses provide completely different details, despite the fact that an experience was encountered together.
At this point, you will witness the spouses confer as to determine which set of details is most accurate, sometimes conferring more playfully and sometimes more aggressively.
One of the most critical pieces to staying on the same page arises from the utilization of healthy communication patterns. Couples that employ assertive communication on a consistent basis talk often, listen, and maintain sole focus on each other.
If you and your spouse utilize unhealthy communication patterns, such as passive, passive-aggressive, or aggressive styles, it is likely that you will find yourselves on different pages.
In order to navigate you and your spouse to the same page, it is important to always utilize assertive communication patterns. How else would you get there if you do not talk to each other, are distracted by electronics while each other is talking, or who fail to truly listen and understand each other?
Step #2: Effective Interventions
The next step to getting on the same page entails a couple to devise and implement effective interventions.
If you and your spouse are effectively communicating disappointments and frustrations to each other, it will lead to the creation of problem-solving interventions.
If you are unhappy with the lack of attention that you are getting, or with the long hours that your spouse is working, or with the lack of support regarding household responsibilities, it will be important to discuss and come up with a game plan to make changes.
Efficient and successful interventions can culminate in goal setting, as couples create short-term and long-term goals to in efforts to work towards common objectives.
Step #3: Trust and Respect
Trust is critical in a relationship and without it, a relationship will not survive.
Sometimes, to get on the same page, partners have to have faith and trust each other that they are going to end up where they are supposed to be. Respect is just as crucial to the health and well-being of a marriage.
If you and your spouse are on opposing pages, you will need to respect the thoughts, feelings, values, and opinions of each other before you can navigate to the same page. You are not required to agree with each other’s actions or beliefs, but it is mandatory to respect them. It is important to show reverence towards your partner, take responsibility for your own actions, and admit when you are wrong.
Step #4: Compromise
Perhaps the most important tip to getting on the same page is compromise.
The fact of the matter is that spouses are never going to be in complete agreement with each other at all times. Partners may disagree on adventure destinations at varying points in time. Even still, if partners do agree on a destination, they may disagree on the best ways to get there.
Marriages would greatly benefit from partners compromising so as to get on the same page. Individuals would realize that they are not going to get everything that they desire, but will at least be content with receiving part of it.
Compromise is an effective problem-solving tool, which reduces fighting, arguments, and overall discord leading to differing pages and paths. Compromising can bridge the gap between pages so that parties can find a middle ground on the same page. This page may not be the one that each chose originally, but this is a page that both can agree to together.
At the end of the day, life is not always about the destination, but rather how you get there. It makes life much more fun and interesting when spouses can choose their adventure by traveling together in the same place and time.
If you are currently on a different page than your partner, go back to the point of divergence and choose a different ending.