Couples have conflicts more frequently during times of transition, such as when getting up in the morning, greeting one another at the end of the day, or getting things ready as kids do evening tasks.
This activity expresses each partner’s priorities quickly and clearly so both partners can work together, prioritizing needs and recognizing the feelings and wants of each other.
Agree when you both will try this activity (such as the next week, during breakfast).
1. When doing the activity, share with your partner the following 3 things:
“I FEEL…“ (describe how you feel emotionally or physically).
“I WANT…” (describe what you would like at that time, what might be helpful or you would appreciate).
“I NEED…” (describe what is essential or incredibly important to happen. You are telling your partner this item is a PRIORITY).
2. Your partner then does this back, sharing what he/she is feeling…wanting…..and needing.
3. You and your partner then consider this information to make a plan, incorporating these things.
How Does The Information Help You & Your Relationship
First, you both now know how each other is feeling, which helps you understand your partner’s ’emotional space’. No need to guess or wonder; your partner is telling you.
Second, you both now know what is a top priority for the other. These are the things that are really important. For your partner to feel ‘heard’ or ‘respected’ this item needs to happen, in some way, if possible.
Third, you both now know what the other would like, what would be kind. If you partner can have what he/she ‘wants’, that’s a bonus. It’s not critical, but it’s kind if it can happen. This helps you know a kind thing that you could help facilitate or possibly try to include in the plans.
(Person A): “I am feeling pretty good; I want to have some fun tonight; and I need to go to the grocery store.”
(Person B): “Ok, well, I am feeling pretty tired. I want to make a soup this evening; and I need to get to bed early for some sleep.
In the Example, Person A knows that B is tired, so to be a little more sensitive to this partner. Person B knows A is ‘good’, so knows this partner may be more helpful or tolerant at the moment.
In planning for the rest of the evening, it’s important that both Person A gets to the store and Person B gets to sleep early.
Ending with the Example, in a perfect world, one would have fun and the other would make some soup. These are not ‘deal-breakers’, but would be nice to happen. So if the couple can work as a team to help these happen, it’s a win.
(Person A): “Ok, well, I can see you are tired. How would it be that we make sure you get to sleep an hour early tonight? I can head out now to the store and get that done while you just relax a bit.”
(Person B): “If you could get some soup things at the store, that would be great! Honestly, if you are willing to help me chop some of the veggies, I would be willing to play a game of cards or something while it cooks. Would that be fun for you?”
(Person A): “Let’s see about that card game. Yes, I would like to have some fun but I can really see you are tired. I am fine to get your things at the store and just be with you in the kitchen. And for sure, we will get you to sleep early!“
By having all this information, you can make a plan together that respects what is important to both of you and possibly gives what each of you wants as well!
Start Improving Your Communication Today With a Private Couples Retreat or a “Hold Me Tight Workshop®”
When your partner is hurting, you want to be there for them. You want to get it ‘right’ and show you care. You may not have the communication skills to do that well though, so you don’t try. Worse, you try, and it ends up in a misunderstanding or a conflict.
At New England Hold Me Tight, we have skilled couples therapist and relationship coaches that can help you be the partner you want to be. Through our Private Marriage and Relationship Retreats or our “Hold Me Tight Workshops®” for couples, you will learn how to communicate better, reduce conflict, and increase your connection.
Start down the path of better communication in your relationship by following these steps:
1. Contact Bri McCarroll at New England Hold Me Tight.
2. Meet for a free 50-minute consultation to discuss your relationship needs.
(Either option will give you communication tools and relationship skills to improve your connection.)
4. Strengthen your relationship and communication more effectively.
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