He Gets The Respect, She Gets the Toilet Paper

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Under every argument lurks a deeper reason — power, trust, respect or recognition -- for the conflict. Identifying which hidden dimension is causing the escalation helps us get out of the woods.


Episode 4 of How’s Work? with Esther Perel tackles another storied workplace: the gym. In this case, a husband-wife enterprise in Canada. As their 10-year wedding anniversary approaches, they struggle to contain the tensions that now permeate the staff. He’s the brains and she’s the heart of their business, but their division of labor has created a division in their relationship.
In He Gets the Respect, She Gets the Toilet Paper, Esther gives the couple a training session in breaking bad cycles and strengthening their bond. 


What to listen for in this episode of How’s Work? with Esther Perel:

  • What roles do we ascribe to our partners — e.g., “relational person” vs “technical person” — and who gets to tell the narrative?
  • Assigning rigid roles in a romantic or business partnership can keep participants from joining in creative and generative ways. Simulating conversations of real interest are replaced with a checklist of logistics. It’s essential to find a way to share in the joy together. 
  • Every trainer will tell you consistency is key. Commit to weekly or semi-weekly shared experiences that introduce something new to maintain curiosity, interest, involvement and the risktaking that generates excitement and energy. 
  • “Confidence can be flexible.” Leaders who have real power often concede control. 
  • Our harshest fights may be over the very quality that compelled attraction in the first place.
  • Stuck in a negative feedback loop? Time to course correct and interrupt the pattern. “Let’s not do this” is a powerful statement to prioritize protecting the relationship.

Sharpen Your Relational Intelligence

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