One of the things that couples and family members may struggle with in therapy is the inability to understand that...
For instance, lets look at the color of the statement above ("different is not wrong"). One person may have grown up learning that the color above is aqua and another learned to call it turquoise. Is either person wrong? No, just different. Sure, we could potentially go on and on about the accuracy of the color, but in a healthy disagreement we are looking for understanding and acceptance (validation), not necessarily agreement, correct?
So when you're having a disagreement, apply this rule ("Different is not wrong") to your thinking before you seek negotiation. Look for how the other person reached that understanding. How did he/she reach that perspective. How did they arrive at that meaning. Respect that his/her experiences were not wrong, they were just different! Validate. Look for how you can work toward meeting both persons needs for understanding and acceptance, without expecting perspectives to match. Then look for give and take from both sides. If you expect agreement on your perspectives, you could be seeing green before the discussion is over.
Dr. John Gottman talks about how all couples have perpetual issues, but movement on those issues is what prevents gridlock. So sometimes the words can be turquoise and another they are aqua, or teal, or blue, or...expect conflict and offer movement.
It's completely normal to believe your own children are the best looking, most wonderful, most talented, etc. Couples who attempt to blend a family while behaving in such a manner are doomed to fail. Children want, need, and deserve to be equally important in any family! Work tirelessly to create as much equality and consistency as possible for all children in a blended family...treat every child like your own!
Mary Bowles, MA, LMFT, RRT, MIACN