He said, she said...or he said, he said...or she said, she said...

By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9–14

andrewmellen"Love is a many splendored thing." - Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster (as sung by Frank Sinatra)

"Love is a battlefield." - Holly Knight and Mike Chapman (as sung by Pat Benatar)

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds." - William Shakespeare

Hat's off to Mr. Shakespeare. Long before Frank or Pat extolled the virtues and dangers of love, Will laid it out for us in plain (olde) English. Call it what you will, but it sure isn't love if you need to change it.

At every workshop, there's at least one delightfully charming and discordant couple tossing slightly snarky digs at one another, all in the name of fun. And with the hope that I'll take sides and finally force the less-organized of the two to comply with ... something.

Not going to happen. Even if one partner is clearly the primary mess-maker, my response is always to find the way out from messiness into a functional co-existence for EVERYONE'S benefit.

Anyone who struggles with disorder and disorganization knows that something isn't working. And no amount of judging or shaming is going to provoke a positive change. Teasing or attacking your less-than-neat partner is only going to paralyze them. So let's try a different approach.

I first suggest to these couples, much to everyone else's amusement, that "today is probably not the first time you've discovered that your partner doesn't do things quite the same way you do."

Then I remind them that acceptance and a clear commitment to finding workable solutions, rather than winning or blaming, will reveal the strongest, most sustainable choice. That way, everyone gives up something and no one gives up everything. I sometimes have to repeat that sentence two or three times.

And the payoff is priceless: the neat one's face is as disappointed as the less-than-neat one's face is relieved.

As history has demonstrated for centuries, when no one wins, everyone wins!

Click to read more of Andrew's blog.

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