Some nights when I still have tons of work left to do to meet a deadline and my husband walks through the door to greet the family. It takes a LOT of effort to tone down my stress level, put a smile on my face and spend quality time with him. I know this sounds horrible, but it’s reality.
Whether you are married a few years or a few decades, relationships, are one of those time demands that need attention. And in this stressed out world, with most of us our struggling to achieve work life balance, it's so hard sometimes to make relationships a priority. For some couples, any interaction becomes a powder keg in seconds. My guest bloggers today know that way too well and they have good advice to help you improve your relationship.
My guest bloggers today are Glen Tibaldeo and Laura Berger, authors of newly released Fall in Love Again Every Day: 3 Steps to True Connection for Any Couple. They recently were featured on ABC Local 10. They are inspirational speakers, with an engaging website, www.lifeleapcouple.com, and co-authors of Chuck It!: A Big-City Couple’s Adventurous Move to the Jungle to Follow a Dream.
Here is their story:
About seven years ago, we were feeling burned out and became convinced there was more to life than work and what we were experiencing. So, we left our big-city jobs in downtown Chicago and moved to the jungles of Costa Rica for a year.
It was an Earthly paradise with wildlife dripping from the trees and the ocean in our back yard. Nonetheless, that seclusion was more than we bargained for...Our relationship wasn’t prepared for such a profound change. We began tearing each other to shreds. We yelled at each other day after day to the point of being hoarse. Laura, was headed home and the other, Glen, was set to stay behind and live in paradise—alone.
But before that actually happened, we remembered a technique we had learned years earlier called write/read/relate, a simple communication tool. We made it a point to take 20 minutes to every day to pick a topic, journal, and then exchange notebooks. Within two weeks, the shouting began to subside. We started to work as a team to resolve our issues. We agreed on the things we could and could not control. We agreed to be kind to ourselves and each other during our time of deep change and we emerged stronger than we had ever been.
We noticed that men deal with issues by retreating. Women do so by wanting to talk things out. Both methods cannot coexist. Therefore, in many cases, a man and a woman are not predisposed to have a healthy relationship—without something more. Write/read/relate is fully explained in our book Fall In Love Again, Every Day.
It’s been 11-years since we began using the Write/Read/Relate program for stronger relationships. Here are some changes we made that can help you communicate constructively, not destructively:
- Use “I feel” statements – Our feelings are more fact than “facts.” Feelings are inside you. Everything else is outside you. You can only project judgments and assumptions on anything outside. So convey your feelings, not thoughts.
- It’s all about me! – When we say things like “I think you . . .” or “You do this because . . .” or “If you only knew . . .” you are communicating like a ewe. Apologies to the ewes. Again, anything you are projecting on someone else is likely unfounded and not worth discussing.
- Use megaphors – We call them megaphors so you make them playful and big. Using megaphors and analogies will make the communication fun again and makes the subject the metaphor and not your partner.
- Use mirroring – The words “what I heard you say was . . .” are powerful. Your partner sees the possible implications of what they said, especially if it was offensive to you, and you get to check understanding in a safe way.
- Keep dialogs to 20 minutes – Don’t go overboard once you read our book and know how to communicate effectively. At that point, it becomes homework.
(Below see Laura and Glen give relationship advice on TV)