Think of the last big event that you went to with a big group of friends. Perhaps it was a concert, a sporting event, or a birthday party.
How did your friends describe the event? How many accounts circulated? Was there one major story that everyone kept talking about, or were there multiple moments that different people kept referring to?
We watch couples and families experience the latter scenario, where each participant has a different perspective of what happened. In couples therapy, for instance, we hear Partner A's, perspective and Partner B's perspective. We are not interested in finding out which one is right or accurate, but we're paying attention to how the sharing of these two perspectives unfolds.
Often, couples and families get into arguments because their partner's narrative didn't match their own. The incongruity of perspectives may lead to us feeling blamed or unimportant. We may respond by overexaggerating our perspective or by blaming our partner, calling him/her a "liar". We may find ourselves arguing about who's right and wrong, an argument that's usually moot.
In conversations, there's seldom a right and wrong. Just different.
In Episode 5 of the podcast Under the Covers: The Music of Relationships, Stephanie and Jeremiah unpack how couples get stuck in language of right and wrong, truth and lie. They discuss how accept differing values, experiences with families of origin and genders can ease some of the anxieties around differing perspectives. People change, as do relationships, and couples that provide room for their partners to grow and have different perspectives have an easier time working out of the right/wrong dichotomy.
Stephanie and Jeremiah also talk about the importance of making agreements and staying in the present moment, rather than turning to our implicit biases. Check out their cover of "Lies" by The Swell Season and the movie Once.
And make sure to listen to the first four episodes of Under the Covers, all of which can be found on Soundcloud.