Monday, January 26, 2009

Relationship tip of the week #6-How to end almost any argument

How many times do you find yourself in an argument saying things to your partner that you know you will regret later. The key to stopping any of these verbal battles is to slow down the process. This can be accomplished with one little phrase: "I will take that under consideration". Since all arguments are about trying to convince each other of who is right, this stops the downward spiral, by indicating that you are willing to consider your partner's point of view. Of course this will not work, if you are not really open to looking at how your partner is seeing the present situation. State that you will take a day to think about it and then in fact, try to imagine how he/she is feeling about what you were discussing(this is very difficult to do as we are often afraid that we might have to give in to her/his view) and come back the next day with your thoughts about which you were originally arguing. If the argument starts up again, repeat the process or indicate that it is clear that you each have some very strong differences around this issue and may need some ongoing discussion before a compromise or solution can be reached.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Relationship tip of the week #5-The best book on communication for couples

In my opinion the best book on communiaction for couples that has ever been written is "After the Honeymoon" by Dan Wile. This book had been out of print but is now available at as the author has published a revised edition himself. You cannot get this in the bookstores. I will have a supply of them in my office after January 26th for anyone who is interested in purchasing one(cost is $15). Dan Wile has an uncanny knack for capturing real life interactions, where they go wrong, what can be done to recover and get back on track. He also talks about the ten rules of communiation that most therapists teach and why they do not work when there is a disagreement. He believes that true intimacy is a couple's ability to talk about their issues with one another and that the inability to do so inevitably leads to symptoms such as lonliness, depression, infidelity, divorce, etc. This is the one book to read if you want to improve your ability to communicate with your partner.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Relationship tip of the week #4-Taking the couple's temperature

This simple act is one of the most important ways to improve your relationship. Take the time each day to check in with your partner about how he/she perceives the health of the relationship. Ask your partner each day if she/he feels loved by you. If the answer is yes, the couple is most likely doing well. If your partner says no, ask why and what you could do right now to help create that feeling. This is usually harder for men to do since they are hoping that everything is okay and will tend to avoid talks that are focused on the relationship; however, a man that takes the time to do this will improve the relationship simply by asking and thus demonstrating that he cares about his partner's feelings.