Most committed couples (common-law, married) treat their current partners with less respect than their business colleagues.

That is just the plain truth.

Often, when couples want to part ways but have no temporary place to go (family member, friend’s couch), I instruct them with these words: “Until you find a way of separating and getting your own space, stay amicable by treating your partner like a work colleague”.

When I saw this working, I realized that our divorce rate might decrease if we approach relationships more like business.

It sounds a little crazy because it is the exact opposite of what most therapists will say, but I will say it anyway. 

Remove your emotions from the conversation or conflict that you are trying to solve if you want to get to the point of compromise.

We do this in the boardroom. We try to remove our egos and the need to be right and bright, to be better and win because in business we understand that our partner’s perspectives are often worth listening to. In a sound business, you would hire a partner who would add to the business. Perhaps you didn’t realize this but you did the same when you married your partner. They are the peanut butter and you are the jelly, and together the sandwich is a classic. We allow our colleagues the time to pitch their ideas to us. We allow them to sell their ideas to us, and we get curious about why they feel they are considering this perspective.

Perhaps you should mix more business with pleasure. You can keep your work at the office, but bring the principles of running a sound business into your sound relationship. And if your partner is not ‘showing up and carrying out their duties’ in the relationship, don’t get rid of them immediately, ask them why. We would do the same in the business. We would get curious before cutting them out or assuming their motives.

Rarely do partners get curious about one another’s wishes or actions. Too often they are thinking of their own needs and the need to win or be right. Thus we spend so much time trying to convince them how right we are and subsequently how wrong they are – and it becomes a very dangerous cycle of criticism, contempt (resentment), defensiveness, and stonewalling.