From Negative To Positive Relationship In 3 Weeks
This exercise has the potential to have you and your partner noticing and talking more about each other’s positive, caring, and loving behaviors. What a relief this can be from the opposite pattern of always having to deal with someone’s criticism or defensiveness.
The graphic above is inspired by Richard Stuart’s approach in ‘Helping Couples Change.’
If there have been some problems in your relationship that have caused some harm, then it makes sense your partner’s nervous system is on alert to see the problem coming again. Of course, this also holds true for experiences of harm that happened to your partner before he, or she, ever met you. And, remember that anything said about your partner applies to you as well.
We pay more attention to what we are
afraid of, than to what we enjoy.
Example: We notice red stop signs more quickly than green lights. Are you more likely to tune in to the news if there was a plane crash, or if there was a safe landing? If we’ve been in a bad auto accident, then we get notice problems on the road, much more quickly than we are noticing how calmly someone is driving.
When it comes to relationships, moments of unpleasantness may stand out more than the more plentiful pleasant experiences with your partner.
- Make a copy or scan the blank form below, so you’ll always have the template.
- Each partner alternates writing out a positively framed ‘caring behavior’ in the middle space of the paper. So on one sheet, there are 4 caring behaviors apiece written by each partner. Remember that you can’t write something like, “Didn’t nag or criticize me today.” You can request the same thing by writing, “Was positive toward me all day.”
- Notice under each name is a grid that is 7 across and 3 down. The days of the week are listed across the top of each grid- Sunday- Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday – Friday – Saturday and 3 rows are simply Week # 1, Week #2 and Week #3.
- You agree with your partner to meet for 5-10 minutes of review at the same time every night, for three weeks straight. Each night you review all the listed behaviors and put marks, checks or an ‘X’ in the square for that night for your partner. Only the partner can put the check or mark under the other partner’s name. The one with the pencil is the one who decides if the behavior was performed.
To download the Caring Behaviors blank go HERE.
More Examples of Caring Behaviors To Help You Kick Off Your Personalized List
– Kissed me for more than 20 seconds, Did something I asked for ahead of time so I didn’t have to repeat my request, Wrote me a nice note, Asked me if I wanted to be alone and uninterrupted for an hour, Said “I love you to me”, Was punctual today, Were flexible about time, asked me how my day has gone, Cleaned up after yourself, made the bed, Recycled something, Left the toilet bowl seat down, Listened fully to me today, planned a date for us, made love with me, touched me more, Talked with me more today, Made an effort to get along with my family, initiated a call to my family, Gave me your undivided attention when we speak, Called me today, Held my hand when we are in public, avoided looking at other people when we are out together, Did what you said you’d do today, kept a clean kitchen today. Talked positively to me all day, Listened to me without getting defensive, Expressed your feelings in a non-blaming way today, Gave me a gift today, Was communicative with me today, Did me a favor today without being asked, You were very present with me today, You were accepting of me today (no criticism) etc.
Do This Exercise And You Will Notice A Change For the POSITIVE!
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When you know better, you do better!
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Loving couples argue too!