Have you ever been in a situation where communication did not go as you wanted it to go and you wished you could do a U-turn and reverse what you’ve said, done or thought?
We certainly have.
Here’s a typical situation that comes up for many of us where it might be wise to do a “reverse” and do things differently to create a different outcome for you, your partner and your relationship…
Imagine that your partner, spouse or someone you love does something unexpected, not what you thought you agreed on, and when you get angry about it, the other person becomes defensive, lashes out at you or withdraws. You get no where talking to each other, let alone understanding each other.
This is a common communication problem for couples (or any people who live or work together) and we’re betting that you’ve experienced something like this and would like to know how to resolve it.
What we’re calling a “Relationship Reverse” can help you to create a different and better outcome.
Here’s Elizabeth’s story about how she learned and applied a “Relationship Reverse,” creating more room for love and connection in her marriage…
At the last minute, Elizabeth’s husband stayed at work for a meeting and didn’t tell her about it. She had been at work all day and had expected that the two of them would go out to dinner together. When she got home, he wasn’t there–and he didn’t come home for another two hours.
Elizabeth was furious and although he didn’t do it often, it certainly wasn’t the first time this had happened!
In the past, when he didn’t call her and let her know when he was going to be late, she literally pounced on him as soon as he stepped in the door.
She would let him know that she was angry and as a result, he immediately became defensive and shut down to her as he walked into his study, slamming the door. When this would happen, it would take them several days to iron out their differences and feel close again.
Since she was tired of doing the same dance over and over, Elizabeth decided to do it differently. She did a “Relationship Reverse.”
Okay, she was angry but instead of stewing in her anger while she waited for her husband to get home, mulling over in her mind how unfair his behavior was, she took the time to sit with her anger, breathing into it, to discover what was underneath it.
As she sat with her anger, the thought came up that she feared that she wasn’t as important to her husband as he was to her. She didn’t feel respected.
Underneath her anger was the fear that he might be losing interest in her and in their marriage. She knew that that thought was untrue because he was loving and attentive in a lot of other ways but the fear crept into her conscious thoughts anyway.
As Elizabeth started focusing on ways that her husband showed his love to her, she noticed that her fear and anger began to soften. She also began focusing on what she wanted–which was for him to call her when he was going to be late and also for the two of them to keep their connection strong.
When her husband came home that evening, he was met with a very different Elizabeth. She was open to him–and she wasn’t yelling at him. Because he didn’t go into “defensive” mode, he told her he was sorry that he hadn’t told her about the meeting that came up at the last minute.
Elizabeth listened and told him about her fears–that she felt she wasn’t important to him when he failed to let her know about a change in plans.
He was shocked that she felt that way and reassured her that she and their marriage were most important to him. He hadn’t realized what his lack of communication said to her–and it wasn’t what he wanted in the future.
Elizabeth then told him what she wanted–that she would have loved to have known about this meeting earlier–maybe a phone call or text message. She asked him if he would let her know the next time it happened that he would be late.
Because he saw how important this was to her and to the health of their marriage, he agreed and told her again how important she was to him.
This interaction was completely different from any previous to this. Elizabeth could say what she needed to say and her husband stayed open to her and understood her because he wasn’t shut down. They could stay connected and work out a problem without the normal anguish between them.
How about you?
What shift, change or “reverse” could you make in order to set the stage to be heard, understood and create more connection between the two of you, instead of distance?
If you can relate to Elizabeth or even to her husband, create your own “Relationship Reverse” strategy and see how your relationship changes for the better!