Relationship Fitness

S9: Ownership E1: Own Your Part

In “Relationship Workout for Men” Season 9 Episode 1 titled “Own Your Part,” Vince explores the concept of Ownership as a core strength in relationships. He emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and contributions to issues within the partnership. Vince explains that when conflicts arise, the way individuals respond—whether by denying, blaming, or being open to self-reflection—can significantly impact the resolution process and the relationship’s overall health. Through this episode, Vince sets the foundation for understanding that owning one’s part in both problems and solutions is key to mature and productive communication, and ultimately, to a strong and supportive partnership.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 9, Episode 1: Own Your Part

In season 9, we explore Relationship Workout core #8 Ownership, discussing how to answer the foundational relationship question: “Do you both take responsibility to your contributions to issues?”

So Why is Ownership a Core Strength Area?

Every relationship will experience life situations that create potential conflict — dilemmas in need of resolution. Ultimately, the couple will need to talk about each situation to sincerely reach what is considered a fair and mutually agreeable resolution. Unfortunately, if one or both people aren’t open to taking honest ownership for his or her contribution to the situation, then a fruitful conversation, let alone a resolution, will be nearly impossible.

So, let’s get into what it means to own your part.

Okay, A life situation happens and needs to be dealt with. Whether you’re on your first date, been dating for months or married for years, it doesn’t really matter. Something is on the table and has to be dealt with one way or another. How you two deal with it will say a lot about what type of partnership you two have together.

One of the key tests to the quality of a partnership is one of ownership. For instance, how much responsibility will you take when you respond to her raising an issue? 

  • Will you deny that there is an issue, even though she definitely doesn’t feel right about something?
  • Will you acknowledge that something is wrong but immediately blame her, implying directly or indirectly that the issue is all her fault before you two have even talked things through?
  • Will you be open to exploring how you may be contributing to the issue, although you may feel somewhat lost regarding how to do it? You may feel more like a rookie in your first big league game, feeling a bit lost as to knowing what’s the best way to respond to her?
  • Will you be curious and open to exploring how you may be contributing to the issue, confident you’ll both figure things out? You may feel more like a Veteran; you’ve seen issues before and feel you have at least some of the basic skills to get to the bottom of things.

Of course, the same set of questions hold true for her when you bring up an issue. Will she deny there is an issue even though you’re being very clear that something’s bothering you? Will she acknowledge that something is wrong, but just immediately blame you for the problem? Will she acknowledge that there is an issue and be open to figuring out what’s wrong, regardless of who eventually will be identified as contributing to the issue?

Differences come up in every relationship. Since no one is perfect, one or both of you very well may be contributing to the issue. You won’t really know who and to what extent until you both honestly talk about things. 

Perhaps more importantly, there’s little chance of having strong communication if both of you aren’t completely open from the beginning and own up to your respective contributions to the issue at hand.

This said, there are four Ownership Plays one can make when a life situation brings a potential issue your way, two are weak and two are strong.

The two weak plays are to deny or blame, approaching the relationship essentially as an individual player, ultimately not willing to take responsibility for your part in the inevitable issues that arise in any relationship.

When you deny, your goal is to deny anything is wrong, or if there is something obviously wrong then you maintain that you are not doing anything wrong. You didn’t contribute at all to the issue.

The second weak ownership play is to blame. When you blame, you do admit that something is wrong, but your 100 percent innocent and your partner is 100 percent to blame for whatever is wrong.

This said, the two strong ownership plays I call playing it as a rookie or veteran. In either case, you’re taking responsibility for your part in the inevitable issues that arise in any relationship, as you approach your relationship much more as a team player.

To play it as a rookie or veteran, you admit something is wrong and you’re open to exploring where you may have contributed to the issue. The difference between a rookie and a veteran is the rookie acknowledges he or she may need some help staying strong while resolving the issue. 

  •  For instance, utilizing strong anger, conflict, and communication strategies, which we’ll discuss in the upcoming seasons.

On the other hand, the veteran plans to use all of his or her relationship tools to stay strong as together you resolve the issue – again as a team, with fair compromise and minimizing drama as overarching objectives.

But before we dive deeper into these weak and strong ownership plays, in the next episode I will share a personal story when me and my girlfriend most certainly approached our relationship as blamers, in episode 2: You Bought What?

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