John Gottman often says, “You pick your partner and you pick your problems.” Esther Perel says, “When you pick your partner you pick your story.” Sometimes I like to ponder these two things…what a therapy nerd.
John’s point is in part that we are going to have problems with any partner we choose. I think this is a good antidote to the toxic myth of “the one.”
Esther is elegantly providing us with a powerful tool in her version. How could Esther be anything other than elegant? She’s framing romance and our romantic lives as “choose your own adventure” stories. To me that’s exactly what our love lives are. We choose a partner, we choose a story. That story is going to have parts we hate, parts we love, and some parts that drag a little bit but further the plot.
Relationship problems are the parts we hate in the stories we love. Chronic fights are prime opportunities to reframe. If you and your partner(s) keep having the same fight over and over then reframe the issue as a problem for you two (or three or four) to solve instead of a fight to have. If y’all need help with that there’s your work.