4. Provide your partner some guidance to help him or her
to know how best to support you in this process
Such as: “It would be helpful to me if you can just let me explain to you what I’m feeling and needing without interrupting me. I don’t feel that I’ve been successful in making my feelings and concerns clear and I’d like to try again. When I’m done, I’d like to hear your response and I’ll do my best to understand your take on things. I really appreciate your willingness to have this conversation with me now.”
5. Express your feelings, needs, and concerns
and make any requests that you would like your partner to respond to.
Try to speak in terms of your experience, as this will diminish the likelihood that your partner will feel blamed or judged and will be less likely to become defensive. If he or she does become defensive or interrupts you, ask if you finish first, so that you’ll be able to be much more open to what he or she is saying after you feel that he or she has heard you.
6. Show the same respect you’ve asked your partner to give you
by listening attentively, not just to his or her words, but to the feelings that underlie them.
Resist the temptation to “correct” anything that you disagree with. Keep in mind: Not disagreeing with someone does not necessarily mean that you agree with them.
7. Go back and forth until you reach a point
at which it feels that the energy between the two of you has lightened up and you both feel more relaxed, understood, and hopeful.
An incompletion doesn’t have to be absolutely resolved in order to create a positive outcome. Some incompletions require many conversations before they become reconciled to the satisfaction of both partners.
8. If you hit an impasse that despite your best efforts becomes intractable, rather than trying to push through it, take a break in the conversation
or agree to resume the dialogue at another time, after you both have reset your intentions.
Regardless of the outcome, thank your partner for joining you in your commitment to deepen the quality of trust and understanding in your relationship.
This is admittedly an abbreviated version of the process of getting completed; you’ll learn a lot more in making the effort by noticing the consequences of your interactive patterns. To the best of your ability, try to be respectful, non-judgmental, non-blaming, and responsible in your words. Most of us are much more sensitive to blame, judgment, and criticism than we seem to others to be. The less defensive and reactive you can be, the more open your partner should be.
Becoming skilled in the process of getting complete is one of the best things that you can do for your relationship. There is a learning curve, but it doesn’t take a genius to master it.
So go for it: You’ve got nothing to lose but your incompletions.
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