I can spot couples who are going to make good progress in couples counseling often from the first meeting. They practice, or are willing to learn several very valuable things. Each recognizes that their point of view is not the only one, and they can put themselves in their partner's position and empathize with how they might be feeling. In addition, each partner can apologize, change their behavior and make repairs as they are needed.

In any relationship, one person is not 'right' all the time. (Even you, sorry!)

Both people need to be able to apologize and ask for forgiveness when it is needed. Healing can only occur when those hurts are talked through. I've seen incredible healing happen in my counseling office between partners and family members when this happens in a way that feels genuine and heartfelt.

One-way relationships build resentment, whether between romantic partners, in a friendship, or between an adult child and parent. The healthiest relationships are reciprocal with thoughtfulness, care and loving behaviors. Relationships get out of balance and are draining when one person is always the giver.

There are often two different perspectives on most situations couples and families disagree about. What matters the most to me is finding a mature, calm and respectful way to talk through differences. (No tantrums, bullying, threats, withholding, name-calling, pouting, etc.)

Understanding the other person's perspective takes stopping to listen attentively from the heart. It takes being brave enough not to shut down or get defensive. Active listening helps a great deal, where you put in your own words what you heard the other person say, without editorializing. For example, "When I was late, you felt hurt and disrespected, and next time you'd like me to be on time."

Traveling to other states and countries always reminds me that the little corner of the universe where I live is just that. There are lots of other places, traditions, cultures and lifestyles. In a similar way, the other people we are in close relationships with have their own feelings, perceptions and needs. They have their own temperament and experiences.The less egocentric we can become about being 'right', and understanding that their are several truths in many situations, the healthier our relationships can become. It also helps as feedback so that we can grow emotionally, by understanding how our behavior is perceived by others.

Try to see it my way? Yes, and let's try a bit harder to see it the other person's way as well. Sometimes there are two rights, and understanding and mutual respect is often more important in relationships than winning.