Using Gottman Method Couples Therapy, we teach couples how to talk about a fight after it’s over. During this process, a lot of couples are able to understand and connect with each other again. One part of this is learning to take responsibility. We use a worksheet with the list of statements below. You each choose any of these statements that feel true to you, then you read them out loud to your partner.
- I have been very stressed and irritable lately.
- I have not expressed much appreciation toward my spouse lately.
- I have taken my spouse for granted.
- I have been overly sensitive lately.
- I have been overly critical lately.
- I have not shared very much of my inner world.
- I have not been emotionally available.
- I have been turning away from my partner.
- I have been getting easily upset.
- I have been depressed lately.
- I would say that I have a chip on my shoulder lately.
- I have not been very affectionate.
- I have not made time for good things between us.
- I have not been a very good listener.
- I have not asked for what I need.
- I have been feeling a bit like a martyr.
- I have needed to be alone.
- I have not wanted to take care of anybody.
Sometimes you might read one or two of the options, and often as many as ten. If you’re honest, you can always identify at least one statement on the list that applies in the situation. These statements are not about assigning blame, and they have nothing to do with deciding who is right or wrong. Instead, they name some of the factors that can set you up to get into a painful argument. When you acknowledge what has contributed to the argument, you see where you need to give more attention. For example, if you say: “I have not asked for what I need,” it reminds you to start asking.
Here’s another way to look at it: If you get physically sick, you might look back over your week and think about whether there were some nights when you didn’t get enough sleep, some unusual stress at work, or some weakness in your self care routine. Think of the exercise described here as a way to assess where you fell short in your relationship care. Try it next time you’ve had an argument with your partner and notice whether it helps you reconnect and get back on track together.
Need some help with your relationship? Call us at 415-534-4051 or set up a free consultation online now.