My hubby and I attended a marriage enrichment class two weeks ago. The couples coaches who were hosting the event took three tools from "Pairs" curriculum and explained them, demonstrated them and then had us split away and try them out. Although Hubby and I are not in distress as a couple, or even have that many fights the tools have helped us increase the quality of our conversation and emotional intimacy (vital to healthy marriage) even in such a short amount of time that we've practiced them. I promised my sister and mom to tell them about one of the tools and thought blogging it may help others.
Daily Temperature Reading
This tool is to be used on a regular basis (as the word, "Daily," implies :). We try to do it every night, even if we have been in communication during the day. The goal of each step is to vocalize each one and not expect to have any rebuttal or arguing. It is simply a way to speak in a format and be heard without fear of argument. Husband and wife can do all 5 points in the Daily Temperature Reading (DTR) or take turns on each point, whichever works best for you.
Sitting face to face, knee to knee with no distractions always begin with:
1. Appreciation~ Don't limit the amount of appreciations, because they are so beneficial. The listener should say, "Thank you." That's it.
2. New Information~ Anything that fits under this category is spoken, but not conversed about (that takes place later). Sometimes it's simple things, "I got an email from my sister..." And sometimes it's more complex, "Got a call from the doctor..."
3. Puzzles~ This is for the listener to know what is troubling you, what has been a puzzling thought on your mind. I love this one because it brings the spouse into your thoughts and allows them to think of solutions (but not vocalize them!)
4. Complaint with Requests For Change~ Just what it sounds like. Small things mostly and only 1 or 2. There is another tool for the BIG problems that you'd like changed, which I don't have mastered, yet. Examples of small problems, "It's really frustrating when I can't get a hold of you, would you be able to carry your cell phone when out of earshot of the telephone?" or "I am having a tough time feeling motivated to not eat sweets. When you go shopping could you please not get me anything?"
5. Wishes, Hopes and Dreams~ My personal favorite. I knew that golfing was important to Hubby, but not so important to him to put it in this category as something he hopes to do more often. Now I know and can make it a priority to me, too. I was able to share with him at this point (while he's actually listening, not just pretending to listen) some of my wishes, hopes and dreams.
End with a kiss and, "I love you." I can explain more to you if you need clarification. DTR has been hugely helpful and I hope you can use it, no matter what your age, or number of years you've been married!