It’s almost that time of year again, and so it seems fitting to share a tip that relates to our adult love life. Since so many couples come to my private practice with kid issues and wind up talking about marriage problems, I thought I would share one of the homework exercises I often assign. I was taught this method by one of my mentors, the late Larry Nisan. I believe he called it “A Couple Counsel”.
Here is how it works:
1. Find an hour of time at home without children (That alone would improve the relationship!)
2. Find a place to talk where you don’t have to face one another; lying side by side on the bed looking up at the ceiling, sitting back to back, or on the floor in the living room.
3. One person goes first. They have the floor for a full half hour. In that half hour they can say ANYTHING they want – or nothing at all. They can sit in silence for as long as it takes to start talking, or they can talk the whole time. That half hour is theirs, no matter what. Their partner simply has to be silent and listen. No interruptions, No rebuttals.
4. After half an hour, switch! The other partner now has the floor. They can respond to things their partner said, talk about a totally new subject matter, or sit in silence. That half hour is theirs, no matter what. Same rules apply – no interrupting etc.
5. Lather, rinse, repeat…. ( Try these sessions once a week, alternating who goes first. Don’t go longer than an hour.)
I think you will be amazed with how much better you communicate, and come to understand one another, by using this new method of communicating. And, of course, with better communication and understanding comes healthier, happier, relationships!