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Therapist weighs in on how to go 'green'

March 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
More people are "going green" these days to do their part to help the environment. But, what if you're living with someone who isn't as eco-friendly as you are? Tania Reuben jumped into the green movement with both feet, even writing a blog as the PureNaturalDiva.com. It's been an adjustment for her husband Michael.

"In some areas he's excellent and very cooperative and in other areas I think I make him crazy," said Tania.

"She was, I think, voted or put in some book as one of the 100 greenest women in America," said Michael. "I would be put in the book for 100 most miserable men in America."

He's half-joking.

"You try to have a discussion about it, but when someone is green there's no convincing them of any other way," said Michael. "So I have to sneak things. I have a hidden stash of water bottles."

While Tania and Michael work things out on their own, some couples need outside help.

Marriage and family therapist, Dr. Jane Greer has seen couples who don't see eye-to-eye on the "green" thing.

"Like anything that goes on between two people, when one person wants to take new actions and promote health and the other person starts to experiences it as unwelcome change rather than something they're on board with its inevitably going to create conflict," said Dr. Jane Greer.

But she says it doesn't have to be ugly if you approach it right.

"If you're the person initiating the going green change, talk to your partner about it and present it in a way where you're offering them a choice," said Dr. Greer. "Invite them in to participate in the new plan."

So rather than forcing the change you should explain the potential benefits. If you're the one forced to go green, Dr. Greer says don't automatically fight it.

"Ask your partner, 'Why is it so important? How do you feel it's going to make our lives better? What does it actually entail? What will I have to do?' So check it out," said Dr. Greer.

Either way, Dr. Greer recommends keeping the expectations in check and remember you might not always agree on everything.

"She wanted me to get bamboo underwear," said Michael.

Dr. Greer says you might want to take baby steps. Try certain green trends and evaluate how they're going before moving to the next ideas.