The BIG ISSUE

This is the one that triggers instant anger, simmering resentfulness, and eventually feelings of hopelessness about the quality of your relationship.

On the surface each of you wants the issue resolved YOUR way…the BEST way!  Right?

When I tell my couples that conflict is the doorway to greater intimacy, they respond various ways…” No way!”  or, “You’ve got to be kidding!” or, “This lady is a kook. Let’s get out of here!”

Krystel dreams of traveling with her husband.  She’s an adventurer.  She’s already visited a few countries and loves the diversity, the challenge of finding her way around, the fun of meeting new people.

To Earle, her husband, these dreams sounded like nightmares.  He likes safety, seclusion, predictability, the comfort of sleeping in the same bed every night.

Totally incompatible wants…right?

They had a Skilled Discussion about this issue.  (A Skilled Discussion is one in which she has the chance to express her feelings, desires, concerns while the he listens with the intention of truly understanding.  The Listener puts himself in the partner’s point of view, seeing, feeling, and understanding the needs of the partner.  Then they switch roles.  It’s a very structured, safe way of discussing the HOT ISSUE.)

For the first time, Earle understood the depth of her desire to travel…not by herself (which she admitted she was not afraid to do) but with the love of her life…him.

Krystel, for the first time, understood his need for safety, comfort, structure.

After understanding each other’s needs at a much deeper level, they were ready to brainstorm ideas that would meet her need to travel with him, and his need for a home base.  Now they were on the same side.  They felt a soft desire to meet the needs of the other rather than just remaining stuck in their incompatible desires.

They came up with several modes of travel that would meet both of their needs:  1)Rent a cottage in a foreign country for two weeks.  He has a home base from which he’d be happy to explore the area with her.  2) Join a group tour where the schedule is planned and predictable.  3) Use a hotel as a home base where he can stay put as much as he wants and she can go to the local street market and explore…but be together for meals or certain events.

A Skilled Discussion is designed to work like a seat belt and shoulder harness…a bit confining, but designed to keep you both safe as you discuss the HOT ISSUE.   As you each feel safe in the controlled structure of a Skilled Discussion, you both share the needs underneath your respective opinions about the only way to resolve your HOT ISSUE. The vulnerable exposure of your needs softens your partner’s feelings toward you.  You are both soon willing to look for resolutions that meet your partner’s needs as well as your own.

Successful resolutions of the HOT ISSUE only work when it meets both person’s needs.

This process ignites hope where before there was only disbelief that a mutually agreeable solution could be found.

Best wishes for solutions that end every HOT ISSUE for you!


P.S. Do you find it hard to imagine a mutually agreeable solution to your HOT ISSUE?  Let Nancy teach you how to have a Skilled Discussion that will create willingness in each of you to find a solution that meets both of your needs.  https://meetme.so/SpeakWithNancy



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