One plus one is greater than the sum of its parts… that’s what marriage purports to deliver. And if you seek to understand your partners needs and interests and resist defending and stonewalling, intimacy grows. Choose your attitude. You can achieve so much more when you engage synergistically in your relationship than if you act alone.
The seven habits are not a quick and easy formula for success, but together they form a powerful model for personal change. Adapted for couples, this series of posts is a respectful homage to Stephen R. Covey who died on July 16, 2012, age 79. Covey will be remembered as a transformational thinker on leadership and personal effectiveness. His book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ his most lasting legacy.
The seven habits can be divided into two groups – the first three focus on “private victory” and the second three on “public victory”, with Habit 7 rounding the previous six to work towards refinement, self renewal and continuous improvement. Covey says “Private Victory precedes Public Victory” which means that you must master yourself before enjoying success outside of ourselves and with our partner.
- Habit 6: Synergise
The word synergy comes from the Greek synergos meaning ‘working together’. In the marriage context, synergy refers to two respectful minds communicating to create solutions – greater than the sum of their parts – solutions that are better than what either proposed originally.
Beyond positioning and compromise, seek to understand your partners needs and interests and find solutions to satisfy both. Resist defending and stonewalling and listen to each other and seek new alternatives.
Commit to loyalty and openness and never bad mouth your partner. People and relationships are more important than things. When you have an issue, seek to resolve it – choose your attitude and behaviour, communicate openly and seek win/win solutions. This creates trust and intimacy.
Independence is promoted as a strong value in the world today and is difficult for many of us because we have been trained or have learnt that others cannot be trusted. Achieving synergy requires high trust and high cooperation and therefore we need to practice empathic communication. Whilst trust growths through synergistic interaction, replacing fear and doubt, exhibiting trustworthiness and build trustworthy relationships is vital – synergy often follows.
Synergy is possible when we have the support of all five previous habits. Change your approach today.
Tune in next week for Habit 7.
Reference: Covey, Stephen R., The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989, Fireside, New York.
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