Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced last week that they are stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British Royal family.
Your grandma may not be the Queen, but I am confident that many of you can relate to Meghan’s and Harry’s family struggles and couple dilemmas.
Let me explain.
As a couples’ therapist, I am most struck by what appears to be their extraordinary ability to resolve conspicuous differences, resulting, in part, from their divergent cultural backgrounds. Meghan, the daughter of a white father and an African American mother, was raised in a modest household in America. Harry is a member of the British royals and is sixth in line to the throne.
Conflict in marriage is inevitable. The manner in which couples find resolutions reflects the strength of their relationship.
It takes two for a healthy relationship to work.
And it takes two people blaming each other to perpetuate a bad relationship.
“No one would believe what a jerk you are.”
“I wouldn’t be such a jerk if you wouldn’t nag me all the time.”
Blah! Blah! Blah!
In the case of Meghan and Harry, I would speculate that laying blame was not their focus. They didn’t care whose fault it was. They love each other and their focus was solving the problem and reaching a mutual understanding that benefited both of them.
Making the decisions to become financially independent and to split their time between the United Kingdom and a location In North America reflects an exceptional sense of teamwork.
In your partnership, make decisions in favor of the “we.”
“Does this decision support my relationship?”
Couple Lessons from Meghan and Harry
- Speak and listen to each other in a way that fosters safety.
- Respect one another’s opinions.
- Validate each other’s emotions.
- Set ground rules for discussions.
- Set family boundaries. Prioritize couple needs above external influences from family.
Like Meghan and Harry, you can deepen your relationship by creating a co-culture. This means recognizing that your partner has a separate and distinct world from yours and learning to incorporate both of your individual values into your new culture together.
And may you live happily ever after.
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