NOTE: I’m reading through “Making Marriage Simple“, by Harville Hendrix and offering some overviews of the chapters. It’s a great go-to book for advice and practices to help nurture and restore marriage.
In ch 7, Hendrix says that negativity is a wish in disguise. This means behind the negative or hurtful thoughts, there’s an unmet desire. We long for something that is not being met. This is good news! It gives us insights as to what we CAN DO with our anger, hurt, or deep needs.
Hendrix offers simple ways to communicate these wishes in way that is responsible and clear enough for your partner to understand.
Here are a few steps (buy the book for the rest of them… 😉
1. Say it so your partner can hear (Use “I” statements such as “I feel lonely”, not “You are never home!”)
2. Be brief and clear (don’t ramble on and flood your partner with EVERYTHING)
3. Choose one frustration at a time (this will help your partner to respond)
4. Approach your partner when you’re feeling calm (it’s HOW and WHEN you say it that matters)
5. Never criticize, shame, blame, or analyze your partner. Making Marriage Simple, by Harvile Hendrix (ch. 7)
You’ll have to read the rest for some additional tips on sharing the actual wish and behavioral change you’re looking for. It’s easy to read and understand. Go for it! Get it! 🙂
I’ve been reading this book on marriage by Harville Hendrix on the recommendation of a good friend whose a psycho-analyst and therapist. It’s been helpful to work through my own patterns of thinking and emotions. (link here)
It is a lot harder to find our peaceful center when looking into the face of another—especially when that “other” may not be feeling at peace with us. And when our beloved is bugging us, forget it. Peace flies right out the window! For this reason, we say that one of the greatest spiritual paths is staying put in your relationship and learning how to really love your partner, warts and all. When you can validate your partner’s experience and express empathy—even when their experience makes absolutely no sense to you.Hendrix, Harville. Making Marriage Simple: Ten Relationship-Saving Truths
Sometimes it’s tough being the person of peace. At other (most) times, it’s tough to be the wart. What Hendrix offers is a way to slow down and show each other empathy of the deepest kind.
He says (bullets and emphasis mine):
Elevating your relationship to this status transforms the Imago Process into a spiritual practice. Like meditation and prayer, Dialogue slows you down, quiets your mind, and invites you to…
*put aside those same old thoughts you obsessively think about over and over again.
*Instead, you simply Mirror back your partner’s words, and imagine how they are feeling, truly bearing witness to their experience.
*Then when you offer them a Caring Behavior and speak to them from the Owl instead of the Crocodile, you are unleashing the neurochemistry of Love.
*This feels great to you, and is great for your partner. The Divine is waiting to show up in the Space Between.Hendrix, Harville. Making Marriage Simple: Ten Relationship-Saving Truths .
God is present and when we choose to be empathetic, listen, and hold each other’s pain, there is sacred space between both partners. God shows up!
Marriage is…”flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love and consolation”.
Our culture has created very unrealistic values and expectations on marriage and partners
From the Boone Center for the Family
I’ve NEVER done this!
Blame is one of four coping reactions to pain. It’s common for “blamers” to react in an aggressive fashion that accuses another. In reaction to feeling unloved or unsafe, a blamer tends to make demands or demean others. It’s ironic that a person reacts with blame because she feels unloved or unsafe, yet in her reactivity makes others feel the very same, unloved and/or unsafe.