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|In Consultation - Page 4|
To rebuild trust, the last component of restoring fairness, each took steps to repair the relationship. Sandy admitted the harm she'd done, and agreed that Bob's requests were reasonable. She wrote an e-mail to her old boyfriend, and showed it to Bob before she sent it. Sandy wrote that she loved Bob, and that it hadn't been fair to use their e-mail exchange to complain about him. She wrote that she hoped they could stay friends, but Bob had to be included in any future friendship.
Sandy was now remorseful for hurting Bob, whereas she'd formerly felt justified in opposing him. Bob had learned that "being right" left little room for true negotiation, and that he'd hurt Sandy. Both realized that they had to become fair-minded for their marriage to work.
None of these changes occurred overnight, and Bob and Sandy still had their conflicts, as all couples do. Bob would occasionally catch himself sounding imperious, but could poke fun at himself now. Sandy practiced validating his point of view, even when she disagreed. Over time, they regained the warmth in their relationship, as they learned a new way to relate, freer of distortions and committed to being fair instead of being right.
B. Janet Hibbs, Ph.D., is a psychologist and contextual couples and family therapist, who specializes in relationship ethics. She's served on the faculty of the Hahnemann/Drexel MFT program and cofounded Contextual Therapy Associates of Philadelphia. She's the coauthor, with Karen Getzen, of Try to See It My Way: Being Fair in Love and Marriage. Contact: email@example.com. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at www.psychotherapynetworker.org. Log in and you'll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section.