“Life is not “either or” it’s “both and”.—Royce White

one choice

Collaborative marriages are strong and healthy. But you can’t be a collaborative couple if you believe there’s only one choice: your way or your spouse’s. 

This “either/or” mindset makes the two of you opponents instead of teammates. One spouse wins; the other loses. 

Polarization like this often occurs when there’s disconnection in your marriage. And breaking out of it can be difficult.

But what if you knew how to embrace a “both/and” mindset in your marriage? Imagine what would change. 

Many couples believe the lie that there is only ever one solution to a problem. It’s either this or it’s that

Having to choose between two things leads to a win/lose scenario. 

But most decisions in your marriage can have more than one answer if you look for it. It’s possible to create more win/win scenarios. The key is compromise and deep emotional intimacy. 

Too often, decisions that seem “either/or” end up as a power struggle between spouses. 

For example, you might enjoy adventurous vacations while your spouse wants to relax. Or one of you wants time alone while the other wants to connect. 

These types of disagreements usually end in tension, confrontation, or conflict. Not only that, but they’re emotionally exhausting. 

An “either/or” mindset means you’re always playing tug-of-war with your spouse. Again, this pits you against each other. In reality, you’re supposed to be on the same team. 

Of course, you both have different perspectives and desires. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a solution that is truly a win/win for both of you! 

So how can you move from making “either/or” decisions to looking for the “both/and”? 

First, make sure you are making time to talk. 

Emotional intimacy is called the workhorse of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy® for a reason. Being close and connected on an emotional level sets the stage for intimacy in all of the other pillars. 

If you’re too busy for each other, you’re likely too busy to look for creative solutions. This means that one of you will probably push for your way. You might try to convince your spouse that there’s only one choice. 

Instead, make sure you have time to connect regularly. When something arises that feels like an “either/or” decision, pause and really think about your options. It can be as simple as saying, “How can we do both?” 

Second, be open to alternative solutions. Your spouse’s brain can help you see a different side of things. So don’t get stuck in resistance. 

If you find yourself stuck, get help from a marriage coach or another trusted third party.  

When you’re tempted to slip into the “either/or” mindset, ask yourself what’s missing in the connection between the two of you. Do you feel lonely, neglected, or angry? Why are you digging your heels in?

Finally, imagine what would shift in the dynamic between you two if you presented “both/and” options when making a decision. 

Collaboration makes your marriage a true partnership. So don’t stay stuck in the “either/or” mindset that makes your spouse your adversary. 

More often than not, there’s more than one choice. So choose collaboration.


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