These two agreements can bring structure back to your relationship communications!  As simple as it appears, these agreements can literally save a flailing relationship.

LE-Speaker copy

 

The card above outlines the rules of being a speaker.

 

LE-Listen

 

 

This card outlines the rules of being a listener.

Some couples will just make these agreements and will not need any further help. Most people need more education and training in using them. The practice examples and guidelines are in the seminar and book.

 

The most common reason couples begin raising their voices and getting more and more frustrated is because of not agreeing on ‘who has the floor.’ The floor means whose turn is it to talk. This means that they each think it’s O.K. to make their points even when their partner does not yet feel that the other has heard the point being made. So, they are arguing about ‘who has the floor.’

 

This mutual agreement that guarantees that both parties eventually get as much time as needed to have their partner listen and reflect. The partner may not agree, but has reflected the thoughts and feelings well enough to demonstrate an understanding. Sometimes mutual understanding has to be enough.

 

My guess is that 80% of high conflict arguing in couples would be completely eliminated if both partners could agree on a structure to express themselves fully. If there are no rules for how to have a discussion about a hot topic; then whichever party can raise their voice, ignore the other partners points and interrupt the other gets to put their views out there more. Unfortunately, that comes with a cost! One cost of these tactics is that the other partner is not open to listening fully to you. When a couples agrees on HOW to speak and listen for hot topics, then both partners get to have their experience understood in a real way.

The Listening Exchange

                             100% Guarantee Your Partner Listens Without Interrupting

 

Say the next paragraphs out loud to each other while making eye contact 3 to 5 times with partner. For the partner listening to the agreement, please do not read along while your partner is reading out loud. Watch your partner’s face to be available for the eye contact.

 

_(Insert partner’s name)                                             , if you say the phrase, “I’ll listen to you if you listen to me”, I will stop talking and follow the rules of the ‘Listening Exchange’ method. I’ll know that if you say, ‘Will you listen to me if I listen to you?’ that I can trust that my point of view will be heard in full by you, after I listen to you. I want to see myself honoring the guidelines of the Listening Exchange. That means I will give you the floor, not interrupt you, and try to paraphrase what you’ve said. If I am too hurt, scared or angry to listen; then I will be honest about it and declare a Time Out.

 

I commit to the goal of wanting to understand your viewpoint and accepting your thoughts and feelings as real and valid for you. I do not have to agree with your thoughts about why you think or feel as you do. I want to avoid telling you that your feelings are inappropriate or saying “you shouldn’t think or feel that way”. I will not try to get you to understand my point of view until after I’ve listened to you all the way through. If, as a Listener, I cannot stop interrupting or commenting, then I want to see myself admitting that I am the one out of control. If I am out of control then I want to see myself seeking further help.

********************************************************************

 

                                                               Couples Weekly Time

                                    Never go a week without an issue being talked about.

 

Say the next paragraphs out loud to each other while making eye contact 3 to 5 times with partner. For the partner listening to the agreement, please do not read along while your partner is reading out loud. Watch your partner’s face to be available for the eye contact.
(Insert partner’s name)                                                    , I have agreed to meet with you every        

   (e.g.,. Monday)                              at (e.g., 9 pm)                    o’clock to talk for 20 minutes using only the Listening Exchange. I will start with two compliments about you when I am the Speaker the first time. If I cannot make our scheduled Couples Time I will notify you promptly to reschedule another time as soon as possible. At other times throughout the week if you say, ’Can we talk about this at our Couples Time’, I will try to wait until then to talk about it. If I can’t then, I’ll ask for a Listening Exchange at some later time.”

 

*****************************************************************************

 

I recommend that you absolutely do this weekly Couples Time for at least 12 weeks. No matter what, for 12 weeks, you meet once for 20 minutes to speak and listen to one another. One reason is that you’ll have another 240 minutes of pure Listening Exchange time under your belt. This type of speaking and listening will rub off into your regular speaking and listening. The skill of speaking and listening respectfully and expressively will come through your every day communicating. Please commit to at least 12 weeks of rigid adherence to the Couples Time.

 

Anytime you do not feel your partner is listening to you, or that he or she is getting a little energetic, simply make the Listening Exchange request by saying,

“I’ll listen to you if you listen to me.”

 

Some couples will just make these agreements and will not need any further help. Most people need more education and training in using them. The practice examples and guidelines are in the seminar and book.

DOWNLOAD the instructions on practicing this agreement.   Relationship Communication Skills

See more free tips & resources HERE.

When you know better, you do better!

‘Talk About Difficult Subjects Without Interruption’ – and other Free Podcasts HERE!

Loving couples argue too!

Get notified of my next Los Angeles
‘Power And Compassion Couples Communication’
Weekend Workshop

HERE.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.