Sunday, April 17, 2011

Relationship Tip of the Week #70 Resolving Gridlock Part 2- Soothing each other

Since discussing gridlocked issues can be very stressful, it is most helpful to take some time to soothe oneself and each other. Here are a few suggestions to help you and your partners to achieve a better frame of mind for helping make peace with the particular issue upon which you are focusing:

  1. stop the discussion

  2. take some time alone to do some deep breathing

  3. stretch or exercise

  4. find a personal image that helps the mind to let go

  5. share some shoulder massage

  6. do something you both enjoy

  7. go for a walk together

After you have calmed yourselves down, you will be ready for next week's post:

End The Gridlock

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Relationship Tip of the Week #69-Resolving Gridlock-part 1

After attempting to uncover the dreams behind any impasse(which was discussed in last week's blog) you are ready for the next step. Step two to resolve a gridlocked issue: Each partner writes down his/her position on the issue to be discussed. Take time to note not only the issue itself but also the hidden dreams that you have been able to identify which help to explain why this is so important that you find it hard to compromise. Try to focus on your own needs and feelings and do not use your energy to negate your partner's position. Next each partner will get 15 minutes to express him/herself without any comment from the partner who becomes the designated listner. Keep in mind that in order to hold the attention of your partner, do not use this opportunity to sneak in criticisms of anticipated attacks on what you expect her/him to say as you are presenting your position. John Gottman in his book, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work", describes the listner's role in the following way: "Suspend judgement. Listen the way a friend would listen. Don't take your spouse's dream personally even though it clashes with one of yours. Don't spend your time thinking of rebuttals or ways to solve the problem. Your role is just to hear the dream and encourage your partner to explore it... The bottomline in getting past gridlock is not necessarily to become a part of each other's dreams(although your marriage will be enriched to the extent that you can) but to honor these dreams." Next week-Step 3-Soothing each other

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Relationship Tip of the Week #68-Long Standing Issues-Part 2-Gridlock

You want to have a child; your partner does not. You want to save money; your partner wants to spend. You want to raise your child in your religion; your partner is an atheist. These are the types of problems that can lead to divorce or at the very least, many long nights of arguing or silence. John Gottman, one of the foremost researchers on marriage in our country notes that all couples had 67% of the same issues present five years after his initial interview. These are caused by different needs or views of the world and cannot be easily worked out by compromise. So what's a couple to do? Gottman writes in one of his first books, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work", that the first step is trying not to solve the problem but to move from gridlock to dialogue. He writes that in order "to navigate your way out of gridlock, you have to first understand its cause". He believes that the impasse is a "sign that you have dreams for your life that aren't being addressed or respected by each other". These dreams are "the hopes, aspirations and wishes that are part of your identity and give purpose and meaning to your life." These dreams can be practical or profound and often may be layered one on top of the other; such as the desire to save money may be hiding a deeper need for security. Over the next four weeks, i will describe the steps necessary to address a gridlocked marital issue.