Tools for Couples:
"We must become the change we wish for in the world." - M. Gandhi
Speaker (Gently speaks):
I Feel __________
I want / need _________
Important!!! Do not say any YOU statements!! For example, "You always ____" or "You never ___."
Listener: Put aside your own agenda and beliefs. Truly listen to your partner and feel what they feel. Ask questions related to their perspective. Then switch roles.
The Feedback Wheel (by Janet Hurley)
A. Ask your partner if they are willing to listen.
B. Remember that your motivation is that you love your partner.
C. Take the four steps of the Feedback Wheel. Tell him/her:
1. I what you saw/heard about one particular event.
2. What you have made up about it (your assumption).
3. how you feel about it.
4. what you would like to have happen in the future.
D. Let go of the outcome.
When one partner becomes upsets they must ask for time to calm down. Often this partner will "stonewall" and never return to the conversation. However, this continues to be unproductive. The partner who wants a "time out" must identify a time needed (e.g. 5, 15, 30 minutes). At the end of the time, the couple must speak to each other. Speak to communicate regarding the conflicting situation or to express the need for additional time to calm down.
Dead Stop Contract By Terrence Real - The New Rules of Marriage
This is an agreement that interrupts vicious cycles of communication and conflict.
If you ever feel, rightly or wrongly, that your partner is triggering horrible feelings - then you will signal a "dead-stop" (i.e. physical signal, a special phrase or work, etc.)." Your partner needs to agree before that whenever this signal is presented that they come to a "dead stop. - whether the partner agrees with the perception or not." Therefore, whenever the signal is presented, your partner will "stop on a dime." Instead of continuing, the partner will turn to you and say a version of, "I am sorry. I don't' mean to ________. Forgive me. Is there anything I can say or do right now that might help you feel better? Each of you will promise not to give each other a hard time but rather appreciate your effort and move on as quickly as possible."