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The Remarried Life

Sep 8, 2020

Brian Mayer talks about the myth of perception becoming reality.  We can often get stuck into believing the way we saw or experienced an event or an issue is the only way or the right way.  Not giving validity to our partner’s experience can often cause issues.  Today we will talk about the Rashomon effect which is a term often used to describe how eyewitness accounts of an event can often be unreliable.  We hope you are inspired by today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at

Today's Goodies

  • Have you ever gotten into an argument with your spouse over an event that happened, each stating your case only to be unheard because your partner had another story about what happened?   
  • No doubt this is extremely common and happens in every relationship to some degree or another. 
  • This can happen with very mild events for example over the way you saw another couple interacting with each other.   One of you might say you saw the couple arguing and the other might say you saw simple dialogue that lacked conflict. 
  • Maybe you see at a dinner party, someone give a strange glance.  One of you might point out the odd glance, where your partner might say they were also watching and saw nothing. 
  • These differences are going happen and are usually not the source of difficulty but it can become such when one or both of you become very rigid that yours in the only way to see something. 
  • There is also something at play called The Rashomon effect.  This is described as the unreliability of eyewitness accounts to something that has been seen. It is often talked about in conjunction with people describing a crime that they witness especially when it comes to details about the perpetrator or the details of what happened. 
  • Stories of one person describing the criminal as short, bearded and wearing a red jacket versus someone tall, clean shaven and wearing a black shirt with no jacket are very common. 
  • Ever heard of the parable of “Blind Men and the Elephant”?  Each blind man touches a single part of the large elephant and the describes what they think the elephant is like.  One man who is touch the fuzzy end of the tail describes it as a mouse, the man touching the ear describes that elephant like a fan, the man touching a leg says the elephant is like a tree trunk, the man touching the tusk might say it is like a snake. 
  • So then the question becomes, who is right?  Well in some ways they are all right and yet all wrong.  They are right in connecting their very limited touch of an elephant to something that makes complete sense, but in other aspects they are completely wrong because the small piece that they touched is not the totality of what an elephant is. 
  • This dynamic is certainly at play in our most beloved relationship and that is the dating or married relationship.  The longer we are together the more often we are going to run into the scenarios.  So why do these differences occur? 
    • Our past including what we went through as a child
    • Our personality which is how we have been wired at birth
    • The state of our current relationships which is more about just our present experiences or those things that are top of mind. 
  • So what do we do with these differences?  Here are some suggestions:
    • Maybe the most important thing is to DO NOTHING.  Let me explain.  What I mean here is to simply let these differences exist and not work so hard to have to change them.  There are some exceptions to this doing nothing which I will explain in a moment. 
    • Be open minded to another way.  You don’t know everything.  The only one who does is God. 
    • Slow down and investigate the other side that you are being presented.  We often don’t do a very good job in slowing down to hear what another side because we are too busy thinking about how we might respond to someone else. 
    • Watch the harshness of tone or edge in your voice when talking about an issue.  It is often unseen but changes in your physiology can become like a magnet for drawing your partner into escalating by matching your intensity. 
  • Now let’s talk about some exceptions and things to do:
    • Do you feel like you are being emotionally abused through things like pathological lying or narcissism?  If you are then you should not have to continue to simply accept the other person’s point of view if they are saying you are crazy or out of your mind? 
    • If this is the case, then you should really take stock of your relationship and decide on some boundaries such as “I won’t accept that behavior any longer and if it continues it may mean our relationship will end.”  Obviously complicated and not easy. 
  • I hope this has been helpful in understanding some different perspectives and how to be more accepting of those.   


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Thanks For Listening!

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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.