The Chedva Beat: What is the difference between synthesis and analysis? Does a successful marriage require both factors?
Batya: In short: Yes. What is the meaning of these terms and how do they apply to marriage? Why does a successful marriage require both?
Analysis is the division of a whole into its separate components. These are examined and compared, distinguishing similarities and differences.
Synthesis is the opposite of analysis. Instead of separating the whole into parts, the separate parts are combined to form one coherent whole.
For a marriage to be successful there is a need for both analysis and synthesis. The two people who make up a marital partnership are each very different people with different wants, needs, challenges and responsibilities.
Analysis represents that aspect of the marriage in which two people strive to understand and respect one another’s differences. They bestow the gift of love by helping one another to promote their individual needs and life tasks.
In a successful marriage each will see it as a high priority to understand the other. This is where the capacity for interpretation comes into play. What does my partner mean by what he or she just said? How does my spouse feel? What does he or she need from me?
Analysis has to come first. If there is no recognition of differences, how can they blend their differences?
There can only be joy in a relationship when the individuals are able to find places of connection in spite of their differences. Synthesis is the art of taking differences and putting together a composite picture. There is a merging of two perspectives into one.
Their perspectives merge and connect in at least two important ways: a) they blend their needs, and b) they blend their ability to learn from life.
There can only be one definition of need, namely how the need is defined by the one who has it. Through the power of analysis, they fully recognize one another’s need. In synthesis what started out as one or another person’s need becomes a hybrid blend of “our need.” They make it into a joint project.
For example, how do they prioritize needs when they spend money? Once they’ve sorted out what he needs and what she needs, they put all of the needs into one basket and evaluate it as an amalgam unit. Through analysis they’ve already given the needs relative valences. With synthesis they now take the information gathered in analysis and prioritize how and when to spend the money, based on which need is more important right now.
Making needs into a joint venture comes to light especially in the case of strong emotions. Let’s say the woman in the relationship has difficulty expressing her emotions or needs and the man in the relationship has difficulty hearing those emotions or needs being expressed.
The job of synthesizing is made easier when they see themselves as accompanying one another on a journey. If they can see their partner as a friend and teacher on this journey, each will be unafraid to express his or her needs, since genuine needs are worthy of expression.
Their love is a reason to stretch themselves for each other in ways that ultimately help themselves. The husband who is striving to listen with more compassion to his wife will, in the end, become a more compassionate person generally. The woman who is striving to express herself more clearly and honestly with her husband will become more honest with her feelings in all her relationships.
Each will be able to take the flaws and faults of the other not as cause for disparagement but something to embrace as one’s own personal challenge as well. Each will respond to being hurt by the other as an opportunity to learn more about his or herself and to improve communication.
In this process of synthesis they will encourage each other’s personal development. They will feel they are approaching their destinies and they are helping each other learn what they need to learn about life.