“It’s your fault!” “You are driving too fast!” “Stop being a jerk!” In our weaker moments, this is how we can talk to our loved ones in the heat of an argument.
But there’s a better way.
It takes some time and patience to get the hang of it but it can be a wonderful tool for effective communication.
It’s called the Couple’s Dialogue. And it’s outlined in Harville Hendrix’s Getting the Love You Want.
Here’s how it goes…
Partner A has an issue or grievance that he wants to talk about with Partner B. He asks her for a Couple’s Dialogue.
She agrees. Now, Partner A becomes the Sender and Partner B becomes the Receiver.
As the Receiver, her job is to mainly listen.
The Sender shares his issue and the Receiver does the following:
Mirrors: Receiver repeats back what she hears from the Sender. They go back and forth until the Sender feels heard correctly. This helps eliminate the miscommunications that can happen in the heat of arguments.
Validates: Receiver lets the Sender know that what he shared made sense. It’s logical. This indicates that she can see his point of view.
Empathy: Receiver shows compassion and sensitivity to the Sender. This is about putting herself into his shoes and responding with kindness.
These dialogues aren’t necessarily about “resolving issues.” It’s about listening, understanding, and caring for each other’s concerns. As a result of such a harmonious and safe communication, a resolution can naturally emerge.
Give it a try and let us know how you like it. Better yet, share with us any communication tools that you practice!