Managing the Relationship Matrix.

By: Thomas Hunter

In general a matrix is a table of data containing information in both rows and columns. Specifically a relationship matrix could be one that is used to determine your genealogical relationship to another. However in terms of relationships, the relationship matrix often refers to how compatible you and your partner are in respect to certain issues such as communication, interests, and financial and career. While the partners do not have to agree completely in all or any of these areas, finding a balance is critical to a healthy relationship.

Communication is one of the factors in the relationship matrix. Style of communication can vary from speaking based on emotion and without much thought to your words to speaking based on logic and putting much thought into what you plan to say before you begin speaking. On one hand the speaker who relies on emotion, often speaks from their heart and their words usually reflect their feelings at the moment they are speaking. On the other hand there is a speaker who relies on logic and often spends much time calculating their words before they speak. This speaker rarely reflects their emotions in their words and instead relies on facts to support their argument. While neither style of speaking is right or wrong, conflict may arise in a relationship if the partners are on opposite ends of the spectrum. These problems may arise if the partner who speaks on emotion is frustrated with the lack of emotion and slow speech of the logical speaker and the logical speaker is in turn frustrated by the lack of restraint shown by their partner. The partners can help to manage this part of the relationship matrix by trying to meet somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. The emotional speaker may agree to take some time to step away from their emotions for a few minutes before speaking and the logical speaker may agree to try to speak more freely and without so much restraint in the future.

Interests and hobbies is another aspect of the relationship matrix that can either doom or enhance a relationship. Sharing common interests can be beneficial to a relationship because it fosters closeness and a bond between the partners. They are able to enjoy a common interest or hobby and doing so brings them closer together. If a couple has no common hobbies, this can be detrimental to the relationship because the members of the couple may feel as though their partner is not taking an interest in their activities. While this may sound simple enough, it is important to realize that balancing out this aspect of the relationship matrix is very important. Having too many interests in common can result in one or both of the partners feeling as if they are being smothered while showing no interest in your partnerís activities indicates a lack of caring.

Financial and career aspirations are a tricky part of the relationship matrix that can be a source of much strife in a relationship. There are two extremes for approaching finances and career. On one extreme there is the logical and conservative partner while on the other extreme is the emotional and liberal partner. These two extremes can be a recipe for disaster so it is necessary for this couple to find a sense of balance. While one partner may be a risk taker in terms of their finances and career the other prefers a more conservative route. Such extremes often result in the partners becoming frustrated with each other. This frustration stems from the partners both being uncomfortable with the otherís approach. For example the more liberal partner may be upset that the more conservative partner sticks with an unfulfilling job just because the pay is good while the conservative partner may be frustrated that the liberal partner works at a low pay job just because it is enjoyable. In order to resolve any issues and avoid future conflict, it helps if the partners can come to an agreement that is more to in the middle of the road. Reaching a compromise that is moderate instead of conservative or liberal will ensure that the financial aspect of the relationship matrix is balanced.

The key to managing the relationship matrix is balance. Finding a compromise in regards to crucial issues of the matrix such as communication, interests and finances will result in a much happier and healthier relationship. While complete agreement is not critical to the survival of the relationship, a willingness to make compromises and understand your partnerís positions on the matrix is critical.

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