In my practice, I notice this dedicated space to discuss conflict gives couples the freedom to express their fears and concerns in a way that makes them feel heard and loved instead of feeling neglected.
I’d recommend this become a weekly ritual in your relationship that happens at the same time each week. It’s sacred time because it’s transformative even though it may not feel fun in the moment.
Here’s how to do it: Start by talking about what has gone well in your relationship since the last meeting.
Next, give each other five appreciations you haven’t yet expressed. Try to be specific and include examples.
Now, discuss any issues that may have arisen in the relationship. To make the conversation effective, take turns being the speaker and the listener.
As the speaker, use gentle start-ups that avoid triggering your partner. As the listener, try to truly understand what your partner is saying without judgement.
If you get defensive or flooded, take a 20-minute break and return to the conversation.
After both partners feel understood and heard by each other, move to problem solving with the two-circle method described on page 185 in The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work.
If a regrettable incident happened during the week, process it using the exercise on page 188 in The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work.
At the end of the conversation, each partner needs to ask and answer, “What can I do to make you feel loved this coming week?”
Time allocated: 1 hour a week.
Grand total: 6 hours!
As you can see, six hours a week is quite minimal. In fact it’s only 5% of your waking life if you sleep 8 hours each night.
As insignificant as these six hours may feel, they will help enormously in keeping your relationship on track.
Related Video: 6 Things That Love Isn’t and 5 Things Love Is
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